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Pushing Up Daisies: A Dirty Business Mystery Hardcover – February 5, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 168 customer reviews

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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.

Review

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

“Paula Holliday is a sleuth to watch. With an intriguing mix of gardening savvy, sassy wit, and smart plotting, Rosemary Harris has crafted a clever mystery.”
- Susan Wittig Albert, author of the China Bayles herbal mysteries

“Paula Holliday knows her andromedas and her viburnum. Her creator, Rosemary Harris, knows her pacing and suspense. Fast paced and full of garden lore, Pushing Up Daisies is a great read. If rosemary is for remembrance, Rosemary Harris is an author to remember.”
- Barbara D’Amato, author of Death of a Thousand Cuts

“A very enjoyable read and great tips for gardeners as well.”
- M. C. Beaton, author of the Agatha Raisin series

“Get ready to meet a smart, engaging heroine who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty--literally.”
- Brian Freeman, author of Stalked

"I just love it--intriguing mystery, great characters, and very funny."
- Alison Gaylin, author of Trashed

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1 edition (February 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312369670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312369675
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,538,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark Baker - Carstairs Considers HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is great. There is one mild almost sex scene but Paula stops it before it starts. I think there are a couple. Spanish cuss words.

The story is well written, well explained, and grabs your attention from page one to the finish. There are some twists and turns in the story so that you will not know the murderer until the very end. YEs this is a work of fiction, but I see this story as being written with real life people in mind.

Characters:
Paula Holliday:
I see Paula (our main character) as being a mildly less refined Mrs. Fletcher of "Murder She Wrote". I like Paula better though. I see Paula as more real, and of course she is younger so she is easier to relate to.
The Sheriff:
I see him in the same light as the Sheriff on "Murder She Wrote" That Sheriff also seemed to show up when he was needed, like the one in this story.

Paula was a media exec who traded her office clothes for garden clogs when she made the move from the big city to the suburbs to start a gardening business. Paula is fairly well versed in gardening and can handle most anything as a result. What she is not prepared for is finding a mummified body as she restores the gardens at Halcyon, a local landmark. Snooping round turns serious when a garden tool impales a body and one of Paula's friends is arrested.
As Paula and her friends dig for the truth they find more dirty business the town has kept secret for years.

I found this book to be a delightful cozy mystery and recommend it highly for ages 16 and up.
Enjoy your read.
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