by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of Florist Grump, along with a link to purchase the book. Watch for a special article from Kate Collins in January from the set of Mum’s the Word, a TV movie based on her book.
As a newlywed, Abby Knight Salvare’s life should be blooming. Instead, to save money while their new house is being built, Abby and her husband Marco are living temporarily with Abby’s parents. As loving as they may be, being forced to bunk back in her childhood bedroom, having to submit to mandatory breakfasts, and losing all privacy has Abby chafing at her loss of independence and reverting back into childish rebellion. Combined with the pressure of running Bloomers Flower Shop, as well as the many demands of her extended family, Abby’s stress levels are at an all-time high as she transforms into the grump of the title.
What Abby still enjoys is working with Marco as a partner in Salvare Detective Agency, and with sixteen solved murders to their credit it’s not surprising that a new one close to home has everyone expecting that they will be on the case. The gruesome murder of a shady banker, whose body was posed on the bank steps, has police immediately suspecting the friendly window-washer known to everyone only as Jingles. Abby may now know much about Jingles’s past life, but she does know that the man who so charitably helps the community could never be a murderer.
Here readers meet an Abby feeling the very relatable stresses of struggling to meet her many professional and personal obligations. Everyone will be able to sympathize with Abby’s exhaustion at being pulled in so many different directions, resenting those expectations, and then feeling guilty for her resentment. Even her normal sanctuary at Bloomers has become an agitation as their increased business has Abby forced into possibly hiring a full-time assistant whose competence fills Abby with envy.
Underlying the main mystery is the dilemma Abby faces when she finds herself forced back into her childish lifestyle and reacting just as childishly. It shouldn’t be too surprising then that Abby feels happy when she’s back investigating a murder, and it’s then that her intelligence and quick wit again emerge. Author Kate Collins succeeds in keeping this long-running series—seventeen volumes in all–fresh by balancing intriguing mysteries with characters who continue to evolve in ways that are as compelling as they are sympathetic. The conclusion so lovingly circles back to the first in the series that it could serve as a satisfying finale as well as opening a new avenue for the future. This may be the strongest entry in this reliably entertaining, emotionally moving, and skillfully crafted mystery series.
To enter to win a copy of Florist Grump, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Grump,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 21, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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