The Bluebonnet Betrayal
by Marty Wingate
The Bluebonnet Betrayal: A Potting Shed Mystery
5th in Series
Publisher: Alibi (August 2, 2016)
Print Length: 294 pages
Bestselling author Marty Wingate “plants clever clues with a dash of romantic spice,” raves Mary Daheim. Now Wingate’s inimitable gardening heroine, Pru Parke, is importing a precious bloom from Texas—and she won’t let a vicious murder stop her.
Pru’s life in England is coming full circle. A Texas transplant, she’s married to the love of her life, thriving in the plum gardening position she shares with her long-lost brother, and prepping a Chelsea Flower Show exhibit featuring the beloved bluebonnets of the Texas hill country. Technically, Twyla Woodford, the president of a gardening club in the Lone Star State, is in charge of the London event, but Pru seems to be the one getting her hands dirty. When they finally do meet, Pru senses a kindred spirit—until Twyla turns up dead.
Although Twyla’s body was half buried under a wall in their display, Pru remains determined to mount a spectacular show. Twyla would have insisted. So Pru recruits her husband, former Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse, to go undercover and do a bit of unofficial digging into Twyla’s final hours. If Pru has anything to say about it, this killer is going to learn the hard way not to mess with Texas.
You have no idea how much you mean to me, so allow me to try to explain.
We authors create worlds in our heads – sometimes, those words have elements of reality in them, but we amend and embellish as needed (fiction), sometimes we use real events and people and make things up around them and put words in their mouths (historical fiction), and sometimes our imaginations fly off into the nether regions of the universe (sci-fi). But always, the people and places in our books are real to us – very real, most sincerely real. And when they become real to you, too – when you mention to us a funny line a character said or how much you enjoy the relationship between two characters – it makes it all worthwhile.
I love writing cozy mysteries, because it allows me to set my stories in places I love and populate those spaces with all manner of characters (some of whom I work to get to know and others who seem to walk into a scene fully formed). I understand that the mystery (the murder, the whodunit) is important to you, the reader, in different ways. Many of you love the puzzle of it and will put it together one clue at a time to see if we (you and I) come up with the same perpetrator, while many of you love the way the “event” affects the characters and their own stories. We learn about people by how they react.
It is not an uncommon occurrence for me (and I’m sure it happens to other authors, too), to return to a real setting I’ve used for one of my books and feel as if the main character is looking over my shoulder. Let me explain.
Pru Parke, middle-aged American gardener moved to England and the protagonist of my Potting Shed mystery series, defies that cozy-mystery rule that each book should be set in the same village. Pru hops around a bit. In The Bluebonnet Betrayal, the newest book in the series, Pru returns to London where the first book (The Garden Plot) is set, but between #1 and #5, she’s been in Sussex, Edinburgh, and in Hampshire.
The Bluebonnet Betrayal is set during buildup to the Chelsea Flower Show, and when I attended the show just this past May, I couldn’t turn round but for thinking, “Oh, that’s where Roddy was standing when …” or “Pru stepped just over there, inside the Great Pavilion when …” I visited the local pub (just off Sloane Street, although I changed the name from the Fox and Hounds to the Cadogan Arms). In this story, Pru is staying at a flat in Chiswick, a neighborhood southwest of central London. I’ve stayed there (not in the flat, but close by!) I strolled the High Road in Chiswick and I had coffee in her favorite spot. And, I know where she buys those Portuguese custard tarts.
So when you, dear reader, say to me that you love Prumper, the Siamese cat in Between a Rock and a Hard Place, or Trevor, the re-homed beagle in The Red Book of Primrose House, or you wish you had the recipe for Evelyn’s hunter’s chicken in The Skeleton Garden, I feel like we’ve made a connection above and beyond the plot of a particular book. We share a bit of the same world.
About the Author
Marty Wingate is a Seattle-based writer and speaker who shares her love of Britain in her two mystery series. The Potting Shed books feature Pru Parke, a middle-aged American gardener transplanted from Texas to England, and Birds of a Feather follows Julia Lanchester, bird lover, who runs a tourist office in a Suffolk village. Marty writes garden articles for magazines including Country Gardens and theAmerican Gardener. She is a member of the Royal Horticultural Society, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Crime Writers Association. She leads garden tours to England, Scotland and Ireland, spending free moments deep in research for her books. Or in pubs.
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Marty-Wingate/e/B001JS1AIS
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