From Publishers Weekly
A small Southern town blooms into life in Albert's nostalgic first in a new Depression-era mystery series. Darling, Ala., is in the midst of financial upheaval surrounding the Darling Savings and Trust, though the ladies of the Darling Dahlias Garden Club are still excited about their clubhouse, an old estate recently inherited from Mrs. Dahlia Blackstone, whose garden includes a possibly haunted cucumber tree, which might shelter a buried treasure. Also distracting the members--especially widow and probate clerk Verna Tidwell; legal secretary and freelance journalist Elizabeth "Lizzy" Lacy, and Mayor Jed Taylor's wife, Ophelia Snow--are a prison break and the disappearance of drugstore clerk Eva Louise "Bunny" Scott, the town tart. After Bunny turns up dead in a wrecked stolen van, the ladies investigate. Veteran Albert (Holly Blues) combines great period detail with surefooted sleuthing that should satisfy fans and attract new ones.
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*Starred Review* Cozy fans will be delighted to learn that the prolific Albert—known for her clever puzzles, engaging characters, love of nature, and outstanding historic research—is debuting yet another exceptional series. This one begins in May 1930 in the small town of Darling, Alabama (population 907). The Dahlias comprise the 12 members of a gardening club dedicated to beautifying their town while struggling to survive the Depression. Even small towns can have their share of mysteries, and Darling is no exception—fortunately, the Dahlias are sleuths as well as gardeners. Before long, they are searching for an escaped prisoner and a stolen car and investigating troubles at the local bank. And then there is the mysterious death of a young woman. By the end of the account, the mysteries are solved, and readers are thoroughly smitten by Lizzy, Verna, Ophelia, Myra May, Bessie, and the other garden club members. Hints on how to stretch resources (1930s style) and favorite recipes from the period are also included. While awaiting Albert’s next garden club novel, fans should enjoy the gardening mysteries of Ann Ripley, Janis Harrison, and Anthony Eglin. --Judy Coon