A California Magazine with Local Focus and Global Appeal:
Community - Entertainment - Human Interest


Weekly issues every Saturday morning and other special articles throughout the week — there's something for everyone. Check out our sister site KRL News & Reviews for even more articles every week.

Previous post:

Next post:


Seed No Evil: A Flower Shop Mystery By Kate Collins: Review/Guest Blog/Giveaway

IN THE August 10 ISSUE

FROM THE 2013 Articles,
andCynthia Chow,
andMysteryrat's Maze
SECTIONS

by Cynthia Chow
& Kate Collins

This week we have a fun review of a flower shop mystery by Kate Collins along with a guest post by Kate on writing mysteries. At the end of this post are details on how to enter to win a copy of Seed No Evil at the end of this post.

Seed No Evil: A Flower Shop Mystery By Kate Collins
Review by Cynthia Chow

If all the world’s a play, then owner of Bloomers Flower Shop Abby Knight hopes for an early curtain call. The shop is out of lilies just as they’re flooded with funeral orders, the door lock is broken, the espresso machine died, and Abby’s mother is waiting for her in the back room.

Normally Mom’s visit means an art project made of leather, feathers, or yarn. This week, Maureen “Mad Mo” Knight is suffering from a case of paralyzing artist’s block. She blames it on worries that their Protecting Animal Rights chapter will change its policy of being a strictly no-kill shelter. It’s a leap of logic but Maureen believes that if Abby and her private investigator/Down the Hatch bar owner/fiancé Marco Salvare investigate what could be behind the PAR’s decision, her creativity will come back.

Abby barely escaped a destination wedding and honeymoon with her entire family and all their friends. She hopes to just get through the next two weeks until her scaled-down wedding, although elopement sounded promising.

When Abby goes to the monthly PAR meeting, it’s off to a late start because the city councilwoman and executive director of PAR is now the late Bev Powers. It was Mo Knight whom the police found with her body. Despite complaints about poor conditions and overcrowding against shelter manager and Bev’s sister, Stacy Shaw, Bev was a holdout against the change to a kill shelter and she had the support of the voting public.

Now that they’re getting married Marco is training Abby as his assistant investigator. Her badgering skills are useful as they team up to question animal-loving suspects Emma Hardy, PAR’s developmental director whom Bev threatened to fire, Dayton Blaine, the PAR chairwoman and head of the powerful Blaine Manufacturing company that employs much of New Chapel and Bev’s ex-husband.

Normal life never runs smoothly for Abby either as Marco is more and more distracted and emotionally withdrawn, Bloomer’s business is in the dumps, and Abby’s cousin Jillian Osbourne rehearses for her pregnancy by with a fake belly, a sack of baby-swaddled potatoes, and in general, is hormonally insane.

The usual suspects of Abby’s life return in this charming mystery. What is so refreshing is that the author has developed them further so that while they may irritate and exasperate Abby they are also loving and well-intentioned (although we know where that road leads). Jillian still retains her streak of self-centeredness but now it stems from insecurity and fear of being a poor mother. Abby’s mother still burdens the shop with horrid art pieces but they are now created with desperation and a search for inspiration. Even Marco’s interfering mother Francesca, who attempts to plan a more extravagant ceremony for the couple, ultimately wants a wedding that exuberantly celebrates the marriage in a manner worthy of her son.

While Abby relies on her feelings as much as evidence, she more than holds her own against a brutally efficient, intimidating debater and succeeds in planning her interrogations beforehand instead of just winging it. A treat for me was that, although the clues were laid out, the reveal of the culprit was a complete surprise but made total sense. Even though this is the fourteenth in the Flower Shop Mysteries, it is actually one of the very best and shows every sign of improving. For animal lovers, there is also the complication of finding a home for a heartbreakingly uncute, abused, but so charming three-legged scruffy mutt named Seedy who lingers both in Abby’s and the readers’ hearts. This is an extremely strong entry in the cozy mystery genre and definitely a must-read for fans of humorous, character-driven, completely attention-holding novels.

Use this link to purchase this book & a portion goes to help support KRL
:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

The Joys and Perils of Writing Murder Mysteries
By Kate Collins

Yesterday I killed someone. I planned it, executed it, and then covered it up. Then I began the search for me, following the clues to track down an exceptionally tricky killer. Ahem.

Today I interviewed four people who had the means, motives, and opportunities to commit murder. None of the interviews were easy because people lie, get angry, and behave suspiciously when they think someone believes them capable of committing a dastardly crime.

Tomorrow I will narrow down my suspect list and focus on the two who seem most likely to have done the killing. It might get dangerous. Desperate people do desperate things, so I have to be prepared for surprises.

Today, as Abby Knight, I also ran a cozy little flower shop named Bloomers. I made flower arrangements, delivered them, and fretted over my finances. Then I hopped down the street to become Marco Salvare, the macho owner of Down the Hatch Bar and Grill— concocted a few drinks and listened to my patrons’ woes in addition to using the Internet to do background checks on my suspects.

Kate Collins

Today I was also a crazy artist, a shallow fashionista, a Brit with a flair for tea and homemade scones, a middle-aged mother of teenaged quadruplet sons, and a millionaire cad, all characters that populate the Flower Shop Mysteries.

By the end of the writing day, the author me is exhausted.

But then I have to step out of my make-believe world and start thinking about what to make for dinner, and what bills to pay, and do I have time for a load of laundry? Oops, forgot to schedule a hair appointment, renew my license plate, and take out the trash. Too late now. I’ll have to squeeze it in tomorrow.

When I sit down to work on my latest book, I exit my stressful world and enter one where I can make everything go my way—or nothing. I can bring out the sun, travel to another place, invent new friends, and catch bad guys without leaving my desk. Not that it’s easy to describe a three-dimensional world using two dimensional words—and make it all seem real. But, boy, is it rewarding. This was brought home to me the other day.

I teach a creative writing class at a local women’s shelter, where I lead women of various ages in exercises that enable them to get out of the business/left side of their brain and shift to the right/dream side. This isn’t something they take much time to do, so it’s like a mini-vacation. I had them do exercises that allowed them to see the creative process at work. At the end of the hour, a young woman thanked me for my efforts and broke into sobs. She said she had just been released from a year in prison and while there, learned the joys of losing herself in books. She’d never read much before and had now gained an appreciation of what it took to write one. She devoured every book she could get her hands on in prison and truly felt they kept her sane. What happiness it gave her to immerse herself in a place where everything turns out right, justice is served, and good people live happily ever after.

Creating a world like that is one of the greatest joys of being a writer. What makes it worth all the hours of hard work is the knowledge you’ve touched at least one reader’s heart.

To enter to win a copy of Seed No Evil, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Seed,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 17, 2013. U.S. residents only.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories, including more fashion related mystery reviews & giveaways in this very issue, in our mystery section.

Kate Collins is the author of the national best-selling Flower Shop Mystery series. Her books have made the New York Times Extended Bestseller List, Barnes & Noble best-seller lists, the Independent Booksellers best-sellers lists, as well as lists in Australia and England. Kate’s latest mystery, Seed No Evil, #14 in the Flower Shop Mystery series, hit bookstores August 6, 2013. All of Kate’s mysteries are available in print, digital, and large-print editions both in the U.S. and in the UK. Kate’s historical romances are also available in digital format at Amazon, B&N, and other e-book sellers. For more information, visit Kate check out her website, and check out Kate’s blogsite.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nancy Bradford August 10, 2013 at 8:58am

I love this series. Great article.

Reply

2 Julie Powers August 10, 2013 at 8:08pm

I have read this series since she first started writing and loved every book she wroteQQ

Reply

3 Lynn Demsky August 11, 2013 at 3:45am

Haven’t read this whole series yet but, do enjoy! Thanks for sharing with us!
Lynn/MI

Reply

4 Tea
Twitter: @Topazshell
August 11, 2013 at 6:12am

I would love to read this one. Thanks for the info on how to win it.

Reply

5 Laurie Walters
Twitter: @LibraryLaur
August 11, 2013 at 8:28am

I really enjoyed the first few titles in this series and would love to read the latest!

Reply

6 bn100 August 11, 2013 at 3:38pm

Nice post and review

Reply

7 Nancy Wolfe
Twitter: @ring094
August 12, 2013 at 1:13pm

I really enjoy reading this series and always eager for more. Great review and thanks for the giveaway.

Reply

8 MaryAlice Goss August 14, 2013 at 12:17pm

I LOVE this series!! Been with Kate Collins since the beginning!!

Reply

9 Colleena Rodriquez August 14, 2013 at 12:44pm

I haven’t read this one yet! Abby, Marco and the gang are like family! I’m wondering what Abby’s mom will come up with when the artist’s block is over! 🙂 Thank you Kate Collins for working so hard for each of your fans…

Reply

10 Debbie Moore August 14, 2013 at 8:22pm

Enjoy trying to figure out to where in the real ‘New Chapel’ a reference might refer.

Reply

11 Lorie
Twitter: @mysteryrat
August 30, 2013 at 9:58am

We have a winner
Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher

Reply

Leave a Comment

Twitter ID
(ID only; No links or "@" symbols)

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post:

  • Arts & Entertainment

  • Books & Tales

  • Community

  • Education

  • Food Fun

  • Helping Hands

  • Hometown History

  • Pets

  • Teens

  • Terrific Tales