Kensington, Oct 2002, 22.00, 304 pp.
There have been no recent homicide investigation in Louise Eldridge's life, but the TV personality has seen her ratings on her PBS gardening show plummet since the vivacious and sexy Bunny Bainfield hosts the same kind of show in the same time slot though on a different channel. Both Louise and Bunny are invited to the new First Lady's Christmas Garden Gala, along with other knowledgeable garden experts who Louise wants to line up to appear on her show.
From the time she arrives at the event, Louise hears one person after another bad mouth Bunny. She has alienated everyone in the plant and flower world so it really doesn't come as much of a shock that somebody hates Bunny enough to poison her at the eve of the conference. In her own subtle way, Louise starts an investigation, independent of the police, to discover who killed Bunny. Louise always seems to forget that she puts her life in danger when she plays detective and this time it is no different.
THE CHRISTMAS GARDEN AFFAIR is an invigorating cozy that is character driven. The heroine uses her intellect to weed out some suspects and add others but all the time she is trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. It's hard for Louise to quickly finger a suspect because there are so many suspects with viable motives, which means the audience, once the reader overcomes the shock of Louise budding in, has an entertaining amateur sleuth tale filled with gardening tips.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner