by Cynthia Chow & Sherry Lynn
This week we have a review of the first book in a new series by Sherry Lynn along with a fun summer gardening guest post by Sherry. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
Digging Up Daisy: A Mainely Murder Mystery by Sherry Lynn
Review by Cynthia Chow
Thanks to the mentoring of the aunt who raised her, Kinsley Clark has achieved her dream of owning a landscape design company in Harborside, Maine, at the young age of twenty-eight. Seascapes landscaping was even featured in Coastal Living magazine, and Kinsey is hoping that her Aunt Tilly’s Salty Breeze Inn will achieve similar success with their third participation in the Walk Inns annual parade of homes. So when Kinsley digs up a sequined shoe on The Salty Breeze Inn grounds, she only briefly hesitates before covering it up again. The designer pink high-heeled shoe matches the one worn by a recently murdered woman, with the missing shoe leading police and the media to label it as the “Cinderella Murder.” A criminal investigation on Matilda “Tilly” Hartwig’s property would definitely disrupt the open-house bed-and-breakfast showcase tour, and Kinsley would do anything to protect her beloved aunt. Aunt Tilly took in her niece and nephew after the death of their parents in a classified military incident, finally giving them a stable home without constant deployments. Kinsley’s brother prefers the military lifestyle that currently has him serving in Germany, and although she misses him, it at least means that she has a contact with his fellow former MP-turned-police-detective girlfriend left behind.
After finally cluing Detective Rachel Hayes in on the morbid-but-sparkly discovery, Kinsley and her best friend Becca begin their own investigation to solve the crime before the Salty Breeze Inn is prevented from being a part of the open house tour. The Thelma to Kinsley’s Louise (or maybe the other way around), Becca joins Kinsley in stakeouts fueled by candy and flirtations with suspects. That also means questioning Kinsley’s nemesis Denny Davenport, a rival landscaper who may have done more than just sabotage her clients’ plants. A Channel Four news reporter is on the scent of more than just a festival event now that there’s a murder involved, so the threat of bad publicity for both her and her aunt’s businesses is as dire as their imminent arrest.
This first in a new series includes gardening tips for the adventurous as well as an abundance of small-town charm and characters. Kinsley’s blatant amateur detecting in the face of the official one is justified by anonymous threats, sabotage, and an Internet troll, not to mention the probable framing of her aunt for a crime she didn’t commit. Kinsley’s trauma due to the mysterious death of her parents continues to loom over her life, even causing her to avoid the playhouse she associates with the realization of what she had lost. A romance with the Boston owner of the appropriately named The Blue Lobstah could be promising for Kinsley, if only Pete O’Rourke wasn’t suddenly displaying suspicious behavior and avoidance of the police. While the main mystery unravels slowly, the compelling puzzle of Kinsley’s parents promises further intrigue in the future. This is a fun introduction to the town of Harborside, Maine, and its many complicated characters.
Tips on Hydrangea Care and How to Choose the Best One for Your Garden
By Sherry Lynn
Did you know?
There are many varieties of hydrangeas. Pruning and care may differ depending on the variety you choose for your garden. Be sure to do your homework before taking out the shears or under-watering because failure to do so will affect the number of blooms the following year!
A few of the many varieties that you can choose from:
• Mophead Variety, or Bigleaf (H. Macrophylla)
The most common hydrangea, this is the one with showy, large, globe-shaped flowers. These showy globes can vary from deep blue to pinkish purple, based on the pH of your soil.
Note: You can play with the color by raising or lowering the pH of the soil, using products found at your local garden center. Here’s how you can adjust your soil to change the bloom color:
Soil pH 5.0 to 5.5 = Blue
Soil pH 6.0 to 6.5 = Pink/purple
Soil pH 5.5 to 6.5 = Purple, or both blue and pink
To make sepals bluer, add aluminum sulfate to the soil and maintain low levels of phosphorous, moderate levels of nitrogen, and high levels of potassium.
Pruning: Best in late summer, however, hydrangeas technically don’t ever need to be pruned back unless they’re old and you want to reshape them. Removing dead stems is the only requirement to keep the health of the plant. Dead blooms can also be removed at any time. This variety blooms on old growth, so too much pruning can result in no flowers the following year. Use caution!
Morning sun and afternoon shade are where this beauty will thrive in your yard, and this variety loves to stay moist.
Yes, I repeat, this variety requires a lot of water— these mopheads are thirsty!
• Oakleaf Hydrangea (H. Quercifolia)
Beautiful fall color, provides year-round interest. Tolerates dryer conditions. This one differs from the mophead hydrangea in that it thrives in a sunny location but can handle shade, and usually blooms later in the summer.
Pruning: Best in early spring or summer after flowering. This variety blooms on old growth, too, so don’t get overzealous with those snippers!
• ‘Pee Gee’ (H. Paniculata)
Provides white flowers that turn a pinkish hue.
Pruning: Best to deadhead, also cut back in late winter/early spring before frost. These flowers dry in a lovely way for fall/winter arrangements, as they start out creamy white and turn a rosy pink as they age.
Different varieties of ‘Pee Gee’ hydrangea can provide different hues. Pinky Winky has long, cone-shaped white and pink flowers, and Vanilla Strawberry is white to the tip and a darker reddish hue at the base. Or the ‘Limelight’ variety, which provides chartreuse flowers that morph pinkish in autumn.
• ‘Grandiflora’ or ‘Hills of Snow’ Hydrangea, Smooth Hydrangea (H. Arborescens)
Habitat of five-feet tall and domes of creamy white flowers beginning in early summer.
Pruning: Prune to the ground each winter/early spring (this is one hardy hydrangea!) Blooms on new growth. Tolerates light shade and will bless you with blooms from June to the fall.
White globe blooms can reach twelve inches in diameter!
• Climbing Hydrangea (H. Anomala)
A vigorous, sprawling, woody vine, midsummer white flowers with a rich green foliage.
Pruning: No pruning required but you can, to keep shoots under control, in the summer after flowering as this hydrangea flowers on old growth as well.
To enter to win a copy of Digging Up Daisy, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “daisy” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 27, 2023. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you ented via email please include your mailing address in case you win. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week.
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Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. 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.
Pretty cover and it sounds good
Sounds interesting! Count me in!
Sounds like a great start to a new series. I really liked the gardening tips. I have hydrangeas that have never bloomed, maybe I can change that.
Great to get in on the beginning of a new series.
Sounds like a fun read – hiding evidence is a
“no, no”. thanks txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com
Sounds amazing, seaside settings are my favorite
New series for me, sounds good! tWarner419@aol.com
Wow thank you for the information about the Hydrangeas. They are one of my absolute favorites. I see them all over the Cape in MA, but not as often here in NY.
We have a winner!