Pushing Up Daisies: A Spring Short Story Collection By Gemma Halliday Authors

Apr 28, 2018 | 2018 Articles, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kathleen Costa

This week we have a review of something a bit different and perfect for spring, a collection of mystery cozy short stories called Pushing Up Daisies. We also have some fun bits from some of the story authors about flowers.
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win ebook copies of 6 books by some of the authors in this short story collection-and a link to purchase Pushing Up Daisies from Amazon.

Pushing Up Daisies: A Spring Short Story Collection By Gemma Halliday Authors
Review by Kathleen Costa

Spring Heralds Mayhem and Murder with 5+/5 Bunches of Deadly Daisies!

Many coziholics, especially me, love multi-author collections because you get to enjoy all at once short snippets of several author’s full-length series and often see the characters in a different predicament. Gemma Halliday Publishing has joined together fourteen of their popular cozy authors sharing a short look into their series…cozies, mysteries, and romantic comedies! But don’t let “short” cause you to shy away from this collection, each story is well-written with a depth in its storyline that is very engaging along with continued entertainment from a plethora of rich characters by each author. It’s a delightful cozy smorgasbord!

pushing up daisies book coverI was very excited to revisit some of my favorite authors—Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens, Catherine Bruns, Leslie Langtry, Gin Jones, Jennifer Fischetto, Gemma Halliday and Jackson Stein, and Traci Andrighetti—enjoying favorite themes, settings, and characters. It’s been a great introduction to authors I have yet tried leading me to click “Like” on their Facebook pages. Those links are provided for your exploration, too. But, it is important to note that as a newbie, I was never out of the loop. It was easy to join in and change my newbie status to fans of Barbara Valentin, Erin Huss, Aimee Gilchrist, Jayne Denver, Margaret C. Morse, Carol E. Ayer, and Melissa Baldwin. So many authors, so many delightful reads, and with these brief synopses, you’ll see why I highly recommend Pushing Up Daisies.

The Missing Laughing Leprechaun by Gemma Halliday & Jackson Stein
In this Mini Martin mystery, St. Paddy’s Day is nearing and Ms. Martin, small town private gumshoe, is hired to investigate the theft of Murphy’s iconic leprechaun statue…and what she goes through to uncover the truth…is fun!

Fishing Badge Murder by Leslie Langtry
In this Merry Wrath mystery, Merry, ex-CIA agent turned Girl Scout leader, is in a quandary. How do you investigate the crack of a rifle with eleven eight-year-olds in tow? Covertly! Then when the dead body brings Merry’s past dangerously into the open, she has a lot more to worry about.

A Drizzle Before Dying by Catherine Bruns
In my favorite series Cookies & Chance mystery, a self-absorbed, entitled politician ends up dead…the end? Not for Sally Muccio and BFF Josie who are now under suspicion…again! But enlisting family and loved ones they find a way to uncover the truth. And then my two favorite words…Recipe Included! Bruns gives us Josie’s easy-to-follow Drizzle Cherry Cookies recipe. Yum!pushing up daisies book cover

Not-So-Bright Hopes by Gin Jones & Elizabeth Ashby
In a favorite Danger Cove Quilting Mystery, chlorine is “murder” to quilts, and Keely Fairchild has been called in on this quilt appraisal emergency. Along with determining the level of damage for insurance purposes, she is “conscripted” to step in as the event’s appraiser, and then amateur detective when a body is discovered!

Mystic Wedding Bell Blues by Sally J. Smith & Jean Steffens
In another top favorite series by my favorite writing team, Mystic Isle Mystery, Melanie Hamilton is sneezing uncontrollably and her BFF Catalina worries her malady will interrupt her wedding tomorrow. But allergies will be the least of Cat’s problems: the reverend is delayed, his accountant yells foul, then the reverend is found dead. Never fear Mel is on the job! And a recipe, too…Romany Cucumber & Onion Salad.

Prugnolino Purple by Traci Andrighetti
In a new favorite series, Franki Amato Mystery, Franki is ready for Spring Fiesta, but not the theft of a questionable artistic rendering of their sixty-something former stripper landlady. Riddled with religious and social symbolism, Franki isn’t sure she understands why someone would steal it, but the Private Chicks are on the case!

Spring Ahead by Barbara Valentin
In this Assignment: Romance romantic comedy, Claire is seriously stressed about her upcoming finals and a graduate assistantship, but BFF Nevi wants her to…well, just go out on a date with her brother or the guy in the striped running shorts…just try it. But her family history and middle school promise to never, ever, ever get married makes that difficult. But sometimes life has a way of changing our minds.

Rhinestone Ransom by Jennifer Fischetto
In this Gemstone Mystery, Logan Moretti, jewelry designer, is having an al fresco lunch in the park with her BFF Quinn. When Quinn‘s co-worker’s daughter Shelby shows up desperate for the loo, she asks them to watch her little dog who also seems ready for the loo. Logan agrees, but while Logan is supervising the dog, it escapes her grasp and disappears. The text message to Shelby indicated dognapping and a substantial ransom obliges Logan to find a solution.

Strawberry Swirl & Suspicion by Erin Huss
With this Cambria Clyne Mystery, this prequel has Cambria finding out the livelihood that helps support her and her toddler has just been sold. Well, the building has, and the café is closing…like right now! What is she going to do now?

That Dog Won’t Hunt by Aimee Gilchrist
For this Birdwell, Texas Mystery, Helen Harding, former privileged, and Aodhagan MacFarley, friend/volunteer sheriff, head off to find Abbie’s dog or, as she wails…I’ll just die! Another call comes in reporting Roy Warder’s dog is missing, and after questioning a local dog walker, three more Bidwell dogs are found to have up and disappeared. The ten messages for the sheriff indicate more missing canines…what’s going on in Bidwell?

Second Chances by Jayne Denker
In this romantic comedy, Ella heard the rain, a plea, then the cool grass, she felt dizzy and…she opened her eyes to see a beautiful spring day and a stranger sitting by a tree not very forthcoming about what was going on. She blinked and the man changed, then changed again…“Is this better?” She began to regain some strength and after walking around and returning to where she began, she discovers she may need the ultimate “second chance.”

Making a Date with Magic by Margaret C. Morse
In this Petra Paranormal Mystery, exes can be dangerous, but Fiona is striking out on a blind date any way, but…oh, no I’m vanishing! Magic may come in handy when the ex shows up…this isn’t going to go well.

Daisies, Dandelions, and Death…Oh My! by Carol E. Ayer
In this Storybook Park Mystery, Ashling Cleary is busy prepping for the birthday celebration of StoryWorld, a storybook themed park, with costumes, singers, and displays of the opening day sixty years before. Ash is surprised to learn about a death that occurred on that opening day, but why would someone steal an enlarged photo from the historic display?

Sailing into Love by Melissa Baldwin
In this Love in the City romantic comedy, Olivia Fulton has a less-than-perfect relationship with Vince and her modeling career, but an afternoon on a yacht seems a great way to herald spring and a new perspective…but, life twists and turns for Olivia, and when a door closes, will she walk through the one that opens?

April Showers Bring Lots of…Idioms Using Daisies!
Pushing Up Daisies gets its name from a popular idiom referring to dead and buried, a perfect choice for this collection of cozy mysteries, but daisies are also used as the subject in other idioms. “Oops a daisy,” “As fresh as a daisy,” and “You’re a daisy if you do” are often used. I was lucky to connect with a few authors in the Pushing Up Daisies collection to ask them to respond to a couple of questions, and I was thrilled with the responses.

What role do flowers play in your life?
If you were a flower, what would you be?

Sally J. Smith (Mystic Isle Mystery)
When I think of flowers, I think of love and of the family and friends who bring them on days they’re thinking of me.
If I were a flower, it would probably be a rose—lovely, scented, cherished, oh and usually quite thorny—because while I am (and I know it) cherished and pleasant to be with, I also know you’d better not grab me in the wrong place or I might draw blood.

Jean Steffens (Mystic Isle Mystery)
To me, flowers mean beauty and nature, the kind that brings a room to life. If I were a flower, I’d want to be a purple cosmos, swaying in a meadow breeze on a summer’s day or being held by a bride at a country wedding. To me such a flower represents freedom and joy.flowers

Catherine Bruns (Cookies & Chance Mystery)
Catherine decided to channel her heroine, Sally Muccio Donovan, proprietor of Sally’s Samples.
Flowers smell great, just like the cookies I bake in my shop.
If I were a flower, I guess I’d be a daisy. Aren’t they symbolic for motherly love? My greatest wish is to have a child some day.

Gin Jones (Danger Cove Quilting Mystery)
I’m a vegetable gardener, so the flowers I care about the most are the ones on my pepper plants. Their appearance means that soon I’ll have peppers (my favorite harvest) to munch on. On the other hand, the flowers on my basil plants mean that the harvest is almost over, so I’m not as happy to see them.
If I were a flower, I’d probably be something that grows wild, like thistle (I can be a bit prickly) or Queen Anne’s Lace. Or daisies!

Jennifer Fischetto (Gemstone Mystery)
Flowers don’t play a significant role in my life at the moment. I don’t garden, and while fresh-cut flowers are beautiful, it’s sad to see them die.
If I was a flower, I’d be a dandelion. I don’t understand how some see them as bothersome weeds. What I see is a small burst of hope–a simple, determined, happy flower that’s filled with childhood giggles and wishes.flower

Margaret C. Morse (Petra Paranormal Mystery)
Roses make me stop, smile, and enjoy their soft petals. My favorites are the ones that blend yellow and orange colors. I always lean down to catch their scent. I want to absorb their beauty. Since I live in the desert, I can have flowers year-long in my yard, from geraniums to daisies.
If I could be a flower, I’d be a hollyhock because I’d come back every year vibrant with color and taller than all the other flowers.

Carol E. Ayers (Storybook Park Mystery)
I’ve always loved daisies. I own a blue 2001 VW Beetle, and there’s an area on the dashboard for a bud vase. My vase is filled with plastic daisies, and I even named the car “Daisy.” I have yet to cover the car in daisy decals, as other Beetle owners have done, but maybe some day!
If I were a flower, I would be a hydrangea because they love the rain as much as I do. Or a daisy just because I love them so much.

Melissa Baldwin (Love in the City romantic comedy)
I adore flowers. The colors, the scent, and the way they brighten up the mood of a room.
If I were a flower, I would be a Hibiscus. This gorgeous flower comes in many vibrant colors and is very versatile. It can adapt to its surroundings and lives in tropical climates.

To enter to win a set of SIX ebooks from Smashwords [Mystic Mayhem, Smith & Steffens; Limoncello Yellow, Traci Andrighett; Merit Badge Murder, Leslie Langtry; False Start, Barbara Valentin; Digging Up Bones, Aimee Gilchrist; Tastes Like Murder, Catherine Bruns] simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period and with the subject line “daisies,” or comment on this article with your email address. TWO winners will be chosen May 5, 2018. If you can get Smashwords, you’re eligible.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways.

You can use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

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Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. What a fun way to sample new authors.
    kckendler at gmail dot com

  2. This is such a thorough and great review. Thank you for taking the time. 🙂

  3. Many thanks to Kings River Life and Kathleen Costa for this excellent coverage of Pushing Up Daisies. Comprehensive and entertaining as usual, ladies.

  4. Love at the stories on what flowers mean to everyone.

  5. Thank you so much, Kathleen!

  6. Thanks very much for the review! So glad you enjoyed our short stories!

  7. They all sound like treasures to read, thanks!

  8. Thank you for the chance.

  9. I forgot to add my email. lamonicaks (at) gmail (dot) com

  10. We have a winner!


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