Death in Bloom: A Flower House Mystery
St. Martin's, 2021 (2021)
Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle
fter returning to her hometown of Aerieville, Tennessee at the age of 28, Sierra is delighted when she secures a part-time job at Flower House. She learned about flower arranging when she worked there in high school, and the job means that she can afford to rent a place of her own rather than living with her parents again. Although she's close to her parents and brother and welcome their emotional support, she dislikes her mother's attempts to convince her that her best career move would be joining the family business - an exercise studio.
he's been back in town for three months when her fortunes change after her boss Felix disappears just before he's scheduled to lead a flower arranging class at the store. Even though only a few people show up for the class, the thought of being in charge terrifies her until everyone is sitting down looking expectantly at her and she begins. Calmly she goes through the steps of clipping and arranging flowers, and once the group has finished their arrangements, it's time for snacks and conversation.
uddenly there's a commotion. Food has been spilled on the floor, and one of the class members has fallen down and seems to be unconscious. EMTs and police arrive quickly, but he is actually dead, and the police chief suspects that he's been murdered. Sierra is appalled by his death and is shocked when everyone who was present for her first class is questioned by the police. They are all considered suspects, including her.
he story takes off from this unfortunate beginning, as Sierra learns more about each of the people present, all of whom she thought she knew, since she grew up in Aerieville. Two of them had gone to her high school. Looking for clues about where Felix might have gone, she goes to his house, where she finds Felix's puppy, hungry, thirsty, and anxious, and brings him home with her. Meanwhile, her two friends from high school attempt to help her in her investigations.
ierra's sleuthing provided me with several hours of enjoyment as we both tried to connect the clues and figure out who did the dastardly deed. The man who was murdered wasn't liked by many people, and even though his belligerent behavior made his sudden death less appalling, Sierra was shaken and saddened at this turn of events. Any murder is awful, and his murder in the Flower Shop causes many problems for Sierra. The dog provides comfort for her, and with her friends' help, Sierra manages to solve the puzzle shortly before the exciting and satisfying conclusion.
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