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BOOK REVIEW: THE BIG DIRT NAP
BY ROSEMARY HARRIS

We hope you enjoy this book review by Caryn St. Clair.



There is no “sophomore slump” with Harris's second Paula Holliday book, The Big Dirt Nap. In fact, I liked it even more than the first book in the series, Pushing up Daisies. The Big Dirt Nap had me hooked from the opening paragraph, “Maybe I'd have had a drink with the guy if I'd known the next time I saw him he'd be sprawled out in a dumpster enclosure with a greasy newspaper over his face. Then again, maybe not.”

When her close friend Lucy, a television producer, asks Paula to accompany her for an all expense paid weekend at the historic Titan Hotel, she readily agrees. It's a down time of year for her landscaping business, plus she was able to get the local newspaper to agree to have her do a story on the hotel's most interesting resident, a titan arum plant. Titan arum, better known as the corpse plant because of it's flower's pungent aroma, only blooms once every seven years-if it blooms at all. This one is set to bloom at any time.

Paula arrives at the hotel before Lucy so she goes into the bar for a soda while she waits. There she encounters the obnoxious Nick Vigoriti who claims to know the owners. Because she is here to write about the flower, she needs to talk with the owners to get the history of the plant, why they purchased it and other details, so she gives Nick her business card. When Nick's body turns up dead in the alley, guess who the police want to interview first? In the meantime, when she could really use the support of her friend, Lucy not only fails to appear, but she keeps sending cryptic text messages leaving Paula to wonder where Lucy is and what in the world is going on with her.

The two books in this series are “gardening mysteries” for sure, and the drama around the eminent blooming of the corpse flower makes for a fascinating subplot. But Harris's books go far beyond the average theme driven mystery series. The protagonist, Paula Holliday, is a likable character who possesses very human feelings and thoughts. Harris has developed interesting, and very different cases for her protagonist to become involved in and she's done it in a way that is at least within the realm of believability. I am already looking forward to the next Paula Holliday mystery.

REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, CARYN ST. CLAIR


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