- Series: Bretta Solomon Gardening Mysteries (Book 5)
- Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (December 28, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312993935
- ISBN-13: 978-0312993931
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,766,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reap a Wicked Harvest: A Gardening Mystery (Bretta Solomon Gardening Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – December 28, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Set in the Missouri Ozarks, Harrison's fifth accomplished cozy (after 2003's A Deadly Bouquet) to star widowed florist Bretta Solomon offers an ingenious puzzle, well-drawn, credible characters and loads of orchid lore. When Bretta's father, Albert McGinness, finds the bloody body of lab assistant Marnie Frazier, her neck pierced by a metal plant marker, on the lawn of greenhouse owners Dan and Natalie Parker during their Customer Appreciation Day Celebration, Bretta once again turns amateur sleuth. Realizing that the victim had been looking for something in the greenhouse records, Bretta asks herself, "What had Marnie known or suspected that made her a threat?" The disappearance of a number of women who left Parker Wholesale Greenhouses after short-term employment further complicates the suspenseful plot. Sexy Bailey Monroe, the elusive next-door neighbor who played an important role in A Deadly Bouquet, makes a welcome return, while Albert proves an irritating but surprisingly helpful self-appointed detective. If Bretta's reflections on her late husband verge on the mawkish, she remains an appealing heroine with whom readers can readily identify.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
For a nursery, Parker Greenhouse is not what one would call a nurturing environment, especially as far as the young, female employees are concerned. In the midst of a festive garden tour, the body of Parker's newest research assistant is discovered lying in a pool of blood, a murder that prompts floral designer-turned-detective Bretta Soloman to dig deep into the garden center's past to unearth the killer. Her investigation yields a disturbing harvest when she discovers that three other young women had left the company under suspicious circumstances. Turns out the greenhouse is a fertile environment for more than just plants: the girls were pregnant, unwitting victims of a baby-selling ring whose lust for lives has deadly consequences. With more twists and turns than a creeping vine, the intriguing plot puts Bretta, her family, and employees directly in the killer's path. In this perennially blooming series, Harrison's hardy heroine stalks the killer with the skills of a seasoned sleuth as she entertainingly reveals gardening's dirtier side. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Especially after he finds the body of a murdered employee at the BBQ.
Bretta can't help it, she starts to nose around, too. Unfortunately, they haven't got it figured out by the time a 2nd person is murdered.
The mystery takes place near River City in the Missouri Ozarks. The only regional flavoring in the novel is Albert McGinnis. This isn't good or bad. Regional specifics can add interest, but there's nothing wrong with a book being more universal, either.
Regarding writing style and plotting, I thought "Reap a Wicked Harvest" was average, 3.3 stars rounded down to 3. The writing style is basic and there's a lot of repetition as the protagonist thinks her way through things. Overall, a nice easy read.
Though the sheriff and Bretta have had their tiffs in the past over Bretta's snooping, this time Sid welcomes Bretta's help. He's facing a reelection campaign and wants this crime solved by whatever means possible. Also lending a hand is Bretta's father, who thinks it would be just dandy to open a father-daughter detective agency. But even without the encouragement, Bretta can't help herself, especially when a few clues just fall in her lap and the sheriff can't put two and two together. Soon it appears the victim had been doing some sleuthing of her own and died for her troubles.
This was a lovely who-dunnit peopled with interesting characters, richly drawn and each with problems and a history of his own. I didn't guess the solution, though the clues were there. The crime itself was a bit improbable--I believe the villain's goals could have been achieved with far less trouble and intrigue. But by the time it all came together at the end, I'd been so entertained I didn't care. A clever and emotional story.
Meanwhile Dan and Natalie Parker, owners of Parker Wholesale Greenhouse, host their annual Customer Appreciation Day, but instead of a gala event Dan finds the corpse of Marnie Frazier in the midst of his greenhouse. Though estranged from her dad Dan, Bretta joins Sheriff Sid Hancock's investigation. Since a resolution would immensely serve him well as he runs for reelection, Sid welcomes the amateur who has had success solving the case of A DEADLY BOUQUET. As others die, Bretta uncovers lab assistant Marnie's research that targets her dad's greenhouse where apparently a rose is not a rose while the culprit targets Bretta.
The latest Garden Mystery combines an amateur sleuth with a police procedural, but the opportunist paid professional sheriff is more the amateur while the fabulous amateur florist acts more the experienced professional. The story line is superb because Janis Harrison lays out her clues so that the audience receives a delightful straight forward murder mystery with evidence available for fans to find while avoiding the wild weird meandering to fool the reader with an unnecessary final twist. Those who enjoy cracking the case as a partner to the heroine will step into the garden.