It’s August in Goosebush, Massachusetts, and go-getter retiree Lilly Jayne and her youthful senior pals show no sign of slowing down during the lazy days of summer. But when murder mows over a pesky local, could a Garden Squad member be nurturing a deadly second act?
While Lilly digs into a town beautification project, her friend Tamara O’Connor has greater concerns than well-pruned geraniums. The real-estate firm owner hasn’t been shy about blaming perennial grouch Gladys Preston for thwarting her many attempts to sell off a beautiful beachside property. But accusations fly when Gladys is suddenly found dead—and Tamara is caught standing over the body with a bloody weapon in her hand . . .
As Tamara becomes the prime murder suspect, Lilly and the Garden Squad ladies set out to prove that someone planted the evidence. With a potpourri of alarming clues scattered around Goosebush, cracking this case means confronting a calculating culprit with a penchant for cutting down anyone who gets in the way . . .
The second A Garden Squad Mystery
Tilling the Truth by Julia Henry is the second A Garden Squad Mystery. Lilly Jayne lives in Goosebush, Massachusetts where she keeps herself busy with beautification projects plus as executor of Harmon Dane’s estate. Tamara O’Connor, a local realtor, is up in arms because her open houses keep getting sabotaged (dozens of mice and black goo backing up drains). On the town recycling day, Lilly finds Tamara standing over Gladys Preston with a bloody faucet in her hand. It is evident that Tamara has been set up. Lilly Jayne and the Garden Squad set out to root out the real culprit. Tilling the Truth can be read alone for those who did not read Pruning the Dead. However, I recommend reading the series in order, so you are familiar with the characters. It helps to know the players when it comes to solving the mystery. We are introduced to Goosebush, Massachusetts as well as a host of its residents. Gardening is a passion for several of the townspeople including Lilly Jayne. Lilly Jayne and a group of her friends called the Garden Squad work under cover of darkness to fix up neglected areas of the town. This same group also helps Lilly Jayne to solve Gladys murder. Gladys was not well liked which gives us multiple suspects. There is plenty of gossip to discern and a few clues as well. You will need to weed through the suspects to find the killer. To me the killer was a red rose stuck in the middle of a bouquet of white roses (easy to spot). There are cozy moments as the group drinks tea or wine, has a nosh, and chats. Gardening is a hot topic and there are gardening tips at the end of the book. Tilling the Truth is a character driven cozy mystery and this author has provided a lively set of characters. Tilling the Truth is a charming cozy mystery with floral fanatics, avaricious heirs, stinky smells, runaway roses, and a sly saboteur.