maandag 17 februari 2014

Heather Webber – Digging up Trouble

The third book in the Nina Quinn series, published March 28, 2006.
Genre: cozy mystery, with gardening tips for a hummingbird garden.
Cover: beautiful, the real cover is brighter than this picture.

Digging up trouble photo n177375_zps3d952a48.jpg

Digging Her Own Grave

Landscaper Nina Quinn makes her living from surprise garden makeovers. It's not her fault that someone duped her into digging up the wrong yard. And she certainly can't be blamed when her handiwork turns the unsuspecting real owner apoplectic and he drops dead from a heart attack . . . can she? Nina's got enough trouble already, with her divorce from faithless hubby Kevin nearing completion and her unruly stepson up to his teenage neck in possibly illegal mischief. Now she's in danger of losing her business! But there's something screwy about this rather convenient "accidental" death of a man whom apparently no one could stand -- not even the "grieving" widow who's threatening to sue Nina's overalls off. To save her livelihood -- and her skin -- Nina's going to have to dig deeper into the dirt than she ever has before . . . and see what sort of slimy secret things crawl out.

Another great instalment in the Nina Quinn series.
Nina Quinn is a very curious woman and when her almost ex-husband’s former sister-in-law Lindsey Lockhart wants to hire her to create one of her surprise gardens, she accepts. Nina does sense that something is not quite right here, but she wants to use the connection to get some answers about Kevin’s first wife, who died in a boating accident. But Lindsey refuses to tell her anything, and as the garden make over has been paid for already, Nina has no choice but to get on with it.

And so, early one morning they begin the gargantuan task of transforming a garden that has been neglected for decades into a beautiful piece of paradise. But when a strange man accuses them of trespassing in his garden, and falls dead at Nina’s feet because of a heart attack, she doesn’t know what to do. Lindsey doesn’t answer her phone, and the suddenly arriving widow accuses Nina of murder.
If Lindsey has tricked her, she really could be sued for murder as she has no permission from the home owner’s to be in their garden at all.

Her almost ex-husband Kevin is a homicide inspector and is assigned the case. He can’t believe his former inlaws are behind this, but there is no other solution. Apparently everyone hated the dead man, Russ Grabinsky. Lindsey’s husband Bill and Russ were partners in Growl, a very successful vegetarian fast food restaurant, and the same place Riley is now working part time.

When Nina goes back to the house the next day, to try to persuade the widow to let her finish the job on the garden, and to have her drop the possible law suit, she gets rebuffed. Greta does not want to talk to her, and she appears to be really grieving for her louse of a husband. But why did Lindsey and Bill pay such an enormous amount of money to have someone else’s garden made over?

Something more is going on here, and Nina is determined to find out what. Why is Bill sneaking around the house while she is doing the same? Who has been arguing with Greta about being blackmailed? What is it with the lawsuit the home owners association? Why does Bill need the accounting books back so badly?

I really enjoyed this third book in the series. I like how Nina and Riley’s relationship has changed from the teenager who could barely stand her, to what it is now. Nina’s personal life is a bit of a mess though. Her husband cheated on her with his female partner, and Nina kicked him out. But she still has feelings for him, and now he is making sounds of regret and wanting her back. So why is he still living with Ginger? But Nina is also seeing someone else, the attractive vice principal of Riley’s school, who is really good to her. What is she to do?

As her cousin Ana is a parole officer, almost all of her employees are former convicts. And now one of them is giving her trouble by not showing up at work, or being very late. She hates to have to let him go as he is very good at finding the special objects for her gardens. But her other employees have to work harder to catch up for him, and she can’t have that. So Nina and Ana try to figure out what he is doing, if he is violating his parole or if he is in trouble. And of course that means donning wigs and trying to find him in the seedier part of town. Where they happen to find someone completely unsuspected instead …

Nina’s star secretary and good friend Tam is going into labour, and she really needs a replacement. At first she is so not happy with whom Tam send to her, but when the lady has to leave again, she sorely misses her competency.

Nina’s mother and sister are a real pain though, and at first Nina is happy with what they have surprised her with, but well, things get worse and worse. Still, it does help her finally end up in the arms of the man I want her to choose, so all is well after all.

The plot of this mystery was not all that hard to guess, but it was fun to see Nina unravel it nonetheless. I liked the ending, the good deed that Nina did with the blackmail pictures. I was surprised by the killer though. I was suspecting someone else completely.

I really enjoy Heather Webber’s writing style, her quirky characters and her sense of humor. An older neighbour Lothario, who has a name of being a jinx and getting his female companions killed. Nina’s former English teacher whom she still fears but is again a part of her life. Her employees with their colourful backgrounds. But I do admire her for giving these people a second chance. A huge dog called BeBe with a crush on Nina …

9 stars.

Autobuy author

It is not available as paperback at the moment, but you can buy the ebook at Amazon: here

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

12 opmerkingen:

  1. Reacties
    1. She is certainly in my top 5 cozy mystery authors Anna.

  2. This sounds good, and I like that it had relationship growth for the characters...the tips sound neat too.

  3. I don't mind that it is easy to guess the mystery as long as it is satisfying. Sounds like it is here. Also love the dog. You knew you had me there... LOL

    1. I do love her writing Melissa, and yes, huge dog there :)

  4. With cozies I don't mind figuring out the mystery as long as I have fun getting there!

  5. Oh a dog! It must be fun. It's sometimes sad that we can predict the plot but when the story is well done it doesn't really matter anymore. I'm glad it was that case here.