Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Nightshade on Elm Street - a Flower Shop Mystery #13 by Kate Collins

Published by Obsidian

Take a rich mama's boy, a discarded fiance who has successfully picked herself back up, one hot Italian private detective, two smothering mothers, a ditsy fashion-conscious cousin, a missing girl, a bunch of wacky guests, and the parties are on!

What has happened to Melissa? She is allegedly engaged to Pryce Osborne who was previously engaged to Abby, now owner of the flower shop "Bloomers". Abby is now engaged to and assists Marco, the private detective called in to find the missing Melissa.

Jillian, Abby's cousin and coincidentally married to Pryce's much more compassionate younger brother Claymore, pleads the case, and it's off to the upperclass lakeside "cabins" for Abby and Marco. Little do they know just how complicated this case will become.

Kate Collins really has her hands full keeping up with all these fascinating characters, I must say! I always like learning something new, and here I learned flowers and their proponents.

With Abby's bridal shower imminent, her plans are running amok. She wants to put it together herself, and pitted against the formidable group of mother, mother-in-law, cousin and shop staff on one side and a ridiculously complicated (and often drunk) group of misfits on the other side, she can feel the rock and the hard place closing in fast. Only Marco seems calm. There are so many secrets her head is spinning. The investigation even more complicated, with the neighboring elite forever coming and going at the Osborne's large cabin. Did Melissa go to an exclusive resort? Did she remain nearby, perhaps unwillingly? Whose body has washed up at the lake? Just one of many strange happenings.

Everyone is intent on "helping" with her shower, while at the Osborne's, mysteries become more sinister, who will be the next victim? Although there is no “locked door” I am somehow reminded of Agatha Christie. How will everything get accomplished at the shop and a murderer caught in this luxurious vacation spot in such a short time? Suspicions galore, are there no real leads?

Great writing to keep us all guessing, and give us a glimpse of the uber-rich, who surprisingly seem unaffected about the mysteries and victims around them.

I really enjoyed this book, Lots of twists and turns, and a plethora of oddball characters fill out the latter plot while Abby's fiance, cousin, and mothers working in the background bring a surprising sanity in the end. This is #13 in the Flower Shop series, so I may have repeated some parts of Abby's life that appeared in earlier books. I can hardly wait to read another!

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