Pushing Up Daisies by Rosemary Harris

Pushing Up DaisiesReviewed by Allen Hott

A somewhat different angle to this one. Paula Holliday is a transplanted media executive who moved to a small town in Connecticut and opened up a gardening business. However it turns out that Paula spends about as much of her time solving mysteries as she does planting and pruning.

One of Paula’s biggest successes has been getting the Halcyon/Peabody Gardens account for her nursery business. The gardens have just been turned over to the Historical Society and after a short visit with Richard Stapley, the Society’s president; he hired her as the new gardens keeper.

Shortly thereafter on one of her first chores in working the garden she unearths a metal crate that contains the remains of a baby with a religious medal attached to a chain. Not sure of exactly what to do she calls in the local police. The find stirs up the entire community’s curiosity and Paula finds herself doing what investigating she can to solve the mystery.

Luckily it is a small town and she has cultivated quite a few friends in her short time there. So as she finds out more and more about the dirty business in the past more and more people are drawn to her. Not only do the most of them give her help in finding clues to the mysteries but they also seem to give her more and more gardening jobs to grow her business.

The problem is that as the unraveling continues more and more strange things occur including Paula getting locked into the greenhouse at the Gardens, her associate/cleaning lady being attacked in Paula’s office, a competitor of Paula’s being stabbed, and her best gardener being charged with the stabbing.

All of these things occur while Paula tries to live her normal gardening life with visits from one of her closest friends from her media days and also visits to the local diner whose owner has become a new close friend to Paula.

Also along the way she has a couple of romantic attempts with not only the police chief but also with her best gardener’s buddy. But these encounters are primarily friendly and not overly sex oriented.

Most of the investigating seems to occur either in the diner while she talks to the owner or while she is weeding, trimming, and/ or planning and planting at the Halcyon Gardens.

Much like the weeding of the gardens, the author is able to pull the entire mystery and its pieces together very nicely at the end. An interesting read with just the right amount of humor and gardening anecdotes added.

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