Sunday, September 5, 2010

Book #84

The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber TreeThe Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree by Susan Wittig Albert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this first book in Susan Wittig Albert's new cozy mystery series.  The Dahlias are members of the Darling, Alabama gardening club.  It's 1930, just at the beginning of the Depression, and there is a great deal of worry that the town's only bank may be failing.  The rather wild young woman who works the cosmetic counter at the local pharmacy, has been discovered shot to death in a wrecked car.  There has been an escape from the local prison farm, and is Ophelia Snow's husband having an affair with his brother's beautiful young wife? And is there really a ghost haunting the Cartwright mansion, home of the Darling Dahlias' garden club? This is a VERY gentle story told from several different points of view.  Life in the small southern town is lovingly portrayed, and a real sense of place is evoked.  I loved the details of everyday life:  the party line phone and switchboard (I used to work a switchboard in college), the lovely summer dresses and hats, the cosmetics; and the recipes were an added bonus. The feel of this book is very different from the China Bayles' series. I am looking forward to the next installments.

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