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Pushing Up Daisies (The Dirty Business Mystery Series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Rosemary Harris
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Meet Paula Holliday, a transplanted media exec who trades her stilettos for garden clogs when she makes the move from the big city to the suburbs to start a gardening business. Paula can handle deer, slugs and the occasional human pest - but she's not prepared for the mummified body she finds while restoring the gardens at Halcyon, a local landmark.

Casual snooping turns serious when a body is impaled on a garden tool and one of Paula's friends is arrested for the crime.

Aided by the still-hot aging rocker who owns the neighborhood greasy spoon, a wise-cracking former colleague, and a sexy Mexican laborer with a few secrets of his own, Paula digs for the truth and unearths more dirty business the town has kept buried for years.
Called "quirky, original and captivating" by award-winning mystery writer Carolyn Hart, Pushing Up Daisies is the first in the Dirty Business Mystery series featuring amateur sleuth/gardener Paula Holliday.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

in Harris's cozy debut, budding landscaper Paula Holliday turns sleuth after the former documentary filmmaker, a New York City transplant to the suburbs, unearths a box containing a small dead body in the neglected, overgrown garden of the Springfield, Conn., house of the recently deceased Peacock sisters, Dorothy and Renata. Sgt. Michael O'Malley, who looked like he knew his way to the donut shop, leads the crime investigation, but Paula does her share of detecting, supported by such friends as Lucy Cavanaugh, a fellow filmmaker, and Wanda Babe Chinnery, the proprietor of the local diner where all and sundry come to gossip. Harris does a good job developing her characters, their friendships and romances, though the mystery itself borders on the formulaic. Still, the action builds to a satisfying denouement and gardeners will appreciate the author's insider knowledge. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Delicious mysteries grow and multiply. A fun story where bodies and plants can both be dug up! Paula Holliday is one savvy gardener and amateur sleuth!"
--   --Linda O. Johnston, author Pet Rescue Mystery series.

"A spunky sleuth to root for and a plot that grows deadlier with each turn of the page all blossom into a fast-paced garden of mystery delights."  --Kate Collins, author of The Flower Shop Mysteries

"A witty,intelligent cozy, with an edge to it, plus gardening tips. What a treat!"
--Rhys Bowen

"Fresh, funny, and fun to read. I loved it!"

--Parnell Hall, author of the Puzzle Lady crossword puzzle mysteries.

“A clever mystery full of garden lore, fast-paced and engaging, with a heroine who isn’t afraid to get down in the dirt.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer 

“A charming debut.” —Library Journal

“[A] funny and entertaining first installment. May there be many more.”—Kingston Observer

“Quirky, original, and captivating…sure to please.”—Carolyn Hart, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Award-winning author of the Death on Demand series

Product Details

  • File Size: 1142 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1500903817
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Chestnut Hill Books (April 21, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,331 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wish It Had Pushed Up More with the Daisies June 18, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Paula Holliday has left behind the rat race of television programming for the quiet life of small town Connecticut. And she's indulging her love of gardening by opening a struggling gardening business. It's hard (and dirty) work, but she enjoys it.

When the mansion and gardens of Halcyon, a local landmark, are left to the historic society, Paula gets the job of restoring the grounds to their former glory. It's a mammoth project, but Paula is excited about the prospect. That is, until she starts digging the first day and finds the remains of a baby. Suddenly, old mysteries are rising to the surface. Who were the parents? Was it one of the spinster sisters who lived at Halcyon? Will digging up old rumors cause fresh pain?

This book had some entertaining moments, but for the most part it was rather bland. About half a dozen of the characters were interesting and memorable; the others were bland and tended to blend together, making it impossible for me to remember who was who.

The plot dragged for the first half, leaving us time to talk about gardening instead. When it did get going, it was interesting. Even then, it wasn't well developed as Paula had a habit of making wild, accurate statements out of nowhere. I kept scratching my head trying to figure out how she reached these correct deductions.

This book had an interesting premise. But it needed more time to put down roots. Instead of being in full bloom, this book was published as soon as it sprouted.
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52 of 59 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 4 stars average rating?! Did we read the same book?! August 12, 2008
I agree with the one reviewer who said that the author and her editor seriously need to pay attention to details in this book. Not only Did one character change from being called 'Anna' to 'Ann' half way through the book and the same little town change from being in Southeastern Connecticut to the Southwestern part of the state. But the writer seems to have forgotten the direction of the plot from one chapter to another. At one point in the story the main character encounters the same police officer not once, but three times since he stopped by her house. Then two chapters later the main character supposedly hasn't seen this cop since the night he stopped over at her place! Um, there is a little thing called proof reading! I had to stop reading the book at that point out of sheer disgust because of the inconsistency of the plot. Does this author actually have an editor? If so than she is seriously slacking on the job!
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37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's a good start, but..... April 21, 2008
I picked up this book as I am a gardener in Southeastern Connecticut where the story, according to page two, is supposed to take place. Later, the same town is transported to southwestern Connecticut. Then it goes back and forth between the two areas, but it is the same town all along. Except in one part where the name of the town changes for some inexplicible reason. One character goes from Anna to Ann. The main character, Paula, goes for a run through UConn, which is in the Northwestern part of Connecticut, yet she is still in the same town. Finally, one character is supposed to be a Congressman representing the 53rd district for Connecticut, which is rather difficult as the 53rd district is in California.

The story was engaging and I liked the characters. I would probably read another book by Rosemary Harris, but she, and her editor, need to pay a little more attention to the details, as they were very distracting.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Blooming Good Mystery Debut February 5, 2008
Rosemary Harris' debut mystery, Pushing Up Daisies, introduces a gutsy heroine with an offbeat supporting cast. The first in the Dirt-y Business Mystery is a blooming success.

Paula Holliday is a gardner with a small landscaping business in Connecticut. Her business is struggling, and Paula spends a great deal of time hanging out in the Paradise Diner, owned by her friend, the outspoken "Babe" Chinnery. When the last member of the Peacock family dies, Paula's time spent at the Springfield Historical Society lands her the job of landscaping the family estate, Halcyon. It's just an accident when she digs up a body on her first day on the job.

Paula, a single woman in her thirties, with a dry sense of humor, pushes Sergeant Mike O'Malley to investigate a murder that could be forty years old. Can Paula weed out the killer in a story of past scandals? It takes some help from a retired cop, Paula's friend, Lucy, and the Mexican landscaping community.

Harris has a solid grasp on gardening details that will please many readers. For those of us without any knowledge of gardening, she supplies a well-constructed mystery with likable characters. Here's hoping the "Dirt-y Business Mystery" series flourishes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pushing Up Daisies a perennial favorite February 20, 2011
Has it really been two years since I reviewed The Big Dirt Nap? I went back and reread Pushing Up Daisies, Rosemary Harris's debut, and it's as fresh and fun as ever. And what a delight to watch one of the very best contemporary cozy mystery series going take root and grow. The Paula Holliday series stands alone well, but why not see where it began....
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great debut mystery February 22, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Paula Halladay mixes the urban and suburban and the earth with the dirt. A funny and hip sleuth relocated to suburban Connecticut. It's a fast and fun read that will keep you turning pages.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Liked the book a lot. Interesting, fun, yet full of suspense.
Published 24 days ago by sue
4.0 out of 5 stars great book
A little slow to start. Great read and keeps you interested all the way till the end. It was fun.
Published 1 month ago by nanette solem
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good book -- kept my attention.
Published 2 months ago by gail flores
3.0 out of 5 stars Pushing up daisies
The book Pushing up daisies was a good book full of twists and turns. A story that will captivate you...
Published 2 months ago by Karen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It was a fun mystery that kept my attention!
Published 2 months ago by Carol Slaughter
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick and easy read. Interesting story line with a surprise ending
Quick and easy read. Interesting story line with a surprise ending.

The mansion and gardens of Halcyon, a local landmark, are left to the historic society. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mattie Lynch
5.0 out of 5 stars but enjoyed it very much
First book I have read by this author, but enjoyed it very much.
Published 2 months ago by P. Biggs
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I liked it a lot . surprise ending judy
Published 2 months ago by Judy Schiltz
5.0 out of 5 stars Pushing up daisies
A baby is discovered by the gardener buried in the flower beds. Her coworker is accused of murdering the owner of another landscaping business. Read more
Published 2 months ago by zm
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun new series
New female cozy mystery type. Strong capable gardener in small town northeast. Good start, will try next one. Quick read.
Published 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
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More About the Author

The author of Pushing Up Daisies, Dead Head and Slugfest, Rosemary Harris writes contemporary novels that have been called "quirky, original and captivating" Carolyn Hart, "a wild and funny ride" Crimespree Magazine, "one of the best first fiction titles of 2008" Library Journal, "a nifty puzzle" Publishers Weekly and "hilarious" Kirkus Reviews. Julia Spencer calls them "a must read for cozy readers!"

Her newest book is a standalone novel called The Bitches of Brooklyn (available August 2013) Four friends await the arrival of a fifth at a Cape Cod bungalow where they spend an all-girls weekend every summer. But this time the fifth woman doesn't show. instead she sends a note that reads "I've run off with one of your men."

Fast, funny and filled with Harris' trademark snappy dialogue, The Bitches of Brooklyn are colorful women forced to reevaluate their friendships, their marriages - and their memories.

The four books in the Dirty Business series feature amateur sleuth Paula Holliday. In her debut novel, PUSHING UP DAISIES, Paula - a transplanted city girl who moves to the suburbs - finds a mummified body. That book was inspired by a real mummified body found not far from Rosemary's home in suburban Connecticut and was nominated for both the Agatha and the Anthony for Best First Novel of 2008.

DEAD HEAD, asks the question, "How well do we really know our neighbors?" when one of Paula's clients, a well-liked and respected member of the community is discovered to be a fugitive from the law.

NPR (CT) called it "..a perfect summer read" and RT Magazine gave it "4 Stars!"

Slugfest, The Flower Show Murders, takes place at a fictional flower show where more than just the plants are dying. RT Booklovers gave it 4 Stars and called it "an absolute treat."

Rosemary is past president of Mystery Writers of America NY Chapter and past president of Sisters in Crime New England. She is a member of CAPA (CT Authors and Publishers and RWA, Romance Writers of America.

When she's not writing or reading, Harris finds time for gardening, hiking the national parks and volunteering at Habitat for Humanity. She and her husband have been on numerous HFH trips including builds in New Orleans, Cambodia, Mexico, Tanzania, El Salvador, Trinidad and China. With the help of many friends in the book publishing industry, they have founded a community library in central Tanzania. They live - with a large golden retriever - in NYC and Fairfield County, CT.

Visit her at


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