Kensington, Oct 2001, 22.00, 304 pp.
Due to the success of her PBS gardening show and the demands of her husband and two daughters, Louise Eldridge finds little time for herself. That is why she looks forward to walking her dog with former Jefferson University ethnobotanist Dr. Peter Whiting when he walks his dog. Peter regales Louise with fascinating stories about life in the Amazon. He claims a rain forest tribe has invented a fountain of youth through a plant they convert into tea.
However, her walks end when someone murders Peter in Ravine Park. Mt. Vernon District detective Mike Geraghy learns that Louise walked her dog with Peter every night near the crime site. He interviews her while warning her not to get involved as she has previously done in homicide investigations. However, Peter's wife asks Louise to help complete her husband's research. Though she agrees because her show is on hiatus, Louise would have said no if she understood the danger she is in from several assailants.
Though billed as a gardening mystery, HARVEST OF MURDER reads more like an amateur sleuth medical cozy though it never goes deeply into the science. The story line is shrewdly arranged so that the audience can comprehend the motivations of the key players, especially on the part of the scientists to include the victim. The heroine is a nurturing person whose family make her feel more like a neighbor to the reader who care what happens to Louise. Ann Ripley provides amateur sleuth fans and those who derive joy from a not so scientific medical thriller an affable reading experience.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner