Midsummer Mayhem (Potting Shed Mystery, #7)
hakespeare comes to Hampshire—and Pru Parke is cast into the role of cunning detective gardener once again.Pru’s friends and neighbors are abuzz with the news of an acting troupe putting on an outdoor performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And while many are eager to catch a glimpse of famed actor Ambrose Grant, Pru can’t wait to finally see the spectacular gardens of the private estate where the play will be performed. When the estate’s gardener abruptly quits—frustrated with actors trampling his beloved plants—Pru is called upon for her gardening expertise. She throws herself into creating magical woodland forest scenes, and is quickly drawn into the excitement of putting on a play, as she watches the drama on and off the stage. But the play’s suddenly no longer the thing, when one of the actors turns up murdered. Pru’s husband, Detective Inspector Christopher Pearse, relies on Pru’s knowledge of all the players in this particular intrigue, and Pru finds herself using rehearsals to investigate. But playing the role of private eye could prove perilous for Pru, as she closes in on a murderer who won’t let anyone—least of all the gardener—keep him from stopping the show . . . dead.

Midsummer Mayhem (Potting Shed Mystery, #7) Details

TitleMidsummer Mayhem (Potting Shed Mystery, #7)
Author
ReleaseNov 6th, 2018
PublisherAlibi
Rating
GenreMystery, Cozy Mystery

Midsummer Mayhem (Potting Shed Mystery, #7) Review

  • Gail C.
    January 1, 1970
    Take a beautiful English country house with gardens, add “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, one of Shakespeare's most well loved plays, throw in a murder complete with some lively well-drawn characters and you have Midsummer Mayhem by Marty Wingate. The clues are sprinkled liberally throughout the book and the pace builds to a satisfying climax. This book has all the requirements of a well-thought out and plotted cozy mystery. In Pru, you have a thoughtful, amateur detective who is married to a Detec Take a beautiful English country house with gardens, add “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, one of Shakespeare's most well loved plays, throw in a murder complete with some lively well-drawn characters and you have Midsummer Mayhem by Marty Wingate. The clues are sprinkled liberally throughout the book and the pace builds to a satisfying climax. This book has all the requirements of a well-thought out and plotted cozy mystery. In Pru, you have a thoughtful, amateur detective who is married to a Detective Inspector with the police force. The couple make an interesting pair, both of them simultaneously reaching the same conclusion via separate investigations. Pru’s involvement with the case is presented as such a natural course of events, none of it feels contrived. She and the secondary cast of husband and friends are so likeable it is easy for the reader to buy into the desire to see her have success in solving the murder. Knowledge of the play, and specifically the various characters in it, can help to keep a rather large cast of characters straight, but it isn’t necessary. The author helps the reader in this endeavor by often referring to the various players by their character’s names, so that there isn’t a need to learn double names for each individual. In addition, although the cast of the play is rather large, the suspect list is limited as some characters move quickly into the background of the book. While the solution to “who done it” is fairly easy for the reader to ascertain, it is still an enjoyable read in large part because the characters and setting are so engaging. It isn’t necessary to have read any of the previous books in this series before reading this one. There may be repeat characters, however the relationships portrayed here are well-drawn enough the reader is not left struggling to play any sort of “catch-up”. This book is highly recommended for anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries. If you like theater and gardens, that’s a bonus, but not necessary.
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  • Betty
    January 1, 1970
    Marty Wingate books are a great read and the #7 book of the Potting Shed mystery does not disappoint. The area is exciting as an acting company is planning to produce an outdoor performance of A MIDSUMMER DREAM. Some of Pru's friend hope to see a frame actor Ambrose Grant. Pru is offered the position of garden consultant for the production.q All goes well until the leading actor is murder. Inspector Chris Pearce is the lead detective in the investigation. The ending will surprise you. I HIGHLY R Marty Wingate books are a great read and the #7 book of the Potting Shed mystery does not disappoint. The area is exciting as an acting company is planning to produce an outdoor performance of A MIDSUMMER DREAM. Some of Pru's friend hope to see a frame actor Ambrose Grant. Pru is offered the position of garden consultant for the production.q All goes well until the leading actor is murder. Inspector Chris Pearce is the lead detective in the investigation. The ending will surprise you. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK AND SERIES.Disclosure: Many thanks to Random House Publishing Groups Alibi for a review w. The opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    Enjoyed this as usual. the Potting Shed Mystery series is one of my favorite cozy series. Marty Wingate always thinks up a fun plot and setting for Pru to get involved in detecting work and this was no exception. The setting here is an outdoor production of A Midsummer Night's Dream done by a ragtag group of performers, some famous and some not. The production is set at a very fancy schmancy private house with an outdoor theater area. The gardening information sprinkled throughout is always inte Enjoyed this as usual. the Potting Shed Mystery series is one of my favorite cozy series. Marty Wingate always thinks up a fun plot and setting for Pru to get involved in detecting work and this was no exception. The setting here is an outdoor production of A Midsummer Night's Dream done by a ragtag group of performers, some famous and some not. The production is set at a very fancy schmancy private house with an outdoor theater area. The gardening information sprinkled throughout is always interesting to read even though I have a black thumb!
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  • Kathy Martin
    January 1, 1970
    Pru Parke's next case begins when she is asked to supply the plants for a Shakespeare Au Naturel production of A Midsummer's Night Dream at a home with a gorgeous garden that she has been eager to explore. Her job description rapidly expands when she learns that she will be doing the set designing. Luckily, she has her new assistant Hal Noakes to keep up with the day to day work of maintaining the gardens. She is very busy getting to know the players and learning their names as well as the parts Pru Parke's next case begins when she is asked to supply the plants for a Shakespeare Au Naturel production of A Midsummer's Night Dream at a home with a gorgeous garden that she has been eager to explore. Her job description rapidly expands when she learns that she will be doing the set designing. Luckily, she has her new assistant Hal Noakes to keep up with the day to day work of maintaining the gardens. She is very busy getting to know the players and learning their names as well as the parts they play. Her friends are quite envious because one of the players is an actor who is quite famous.Everything is going quite well until the body of the actor playing Lysander is found in the study dead from his allergic reaction to bee stings. Lysander was not the best loved of the cast. He was lazy and thought he was God's gift to women. It caused some conflict when he tried to seduce all the single women on the cast. Being on the scene, Pru feels that she has access that her husband Detective Inspector Christopher Pearse doesn't have, and begins asking discreet questions. She learns a lot about all the main players who seem to be acting in a suspicious manner. At one point, she suggests that all of them were working together like an Agatha Christie plot.This story was entertaining. I loved all the background information about putting on a theatrical presentation outdoors. I loved the plant knowledge that Pru shares. I did figure out who the villain was chapters ahead of Pru but still enjoyed the story.
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  • Elissa
    January 1, 1970
    Dreaming of Shakespeare I love the practical approach of "the gardener," observing without interfering with her police detective husband's investigations. Unlike so many "cosy/cozy" mysteries, due process is observed, police procedure is followed, and the amateur's insights assist rather than replace official efforts. Not having to suspend disbelief, I was able to simply absorb the clues as presented, playing the "whodunit" game while fully enjoying the clever twists and turns of the plot. It he Dreaming of Shakespeare I love the practical approach of "the gardener," observing without interfering with her police detective husband's investigations. Unlike so many "cosy/cozy" mysteries, due process is observed, police procedure is followed, and the amateur's insights assist rather than replace official efforts. Not having to suspend disbelief, I was able to simply absorb the clues as presented, playing the "whodunit" game while fully enjoying the clever twists and turns of the plot. It helps that the main characters are thoroughly likable so one is pulling for their success and concerned for their safety. Plus there is the play within the play for added enjoyment. Solidly entertaining! (Hah! AND I managed to figure out the villain from the clues!]
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    Take a local gardener, mix in a performance of Midsummer Night's Dream and add a murder and you'll have a delightful mystery entitled Midsummer Mayhem by Marty Wingate. Pru Parke loves gardening but gets roped into being the set designer for the outdoor performance of the play. Once famous TV Ambrose Grant is appearing in the play and naturally all of Pru's friends want to come to the set. When one of the actors dies from anaphylactic shock from bee stings, Pru dives right in to find the killer. Take a local gardener, mix in a performance of Midsummer Night's Dream and add a murder and you'll have a delightful mystery entitled Midsummer Mayhem by Marty Wingate. Pru Parke loves gardening but gets roped into being the set designer for the outdoor performance of the play. Once famous TV Ambrose Grant is appearing in the play and naturally all of Pru's friends want to come to the set. When one of the actors dies from anaphylactic shock from bee stings, Pru dives right in to find the killer. A very enjoyable mystery.
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  • Julia David
    January 1, 1970
    This is an entertaining mystery. I really enjoyed it. I haven't read the other books in this series, but I will go back and read them now. Pru gets mixed up in an outdoor production of Midsummer's Night Dream. All is well until the productions Romeo ends up dead. There are so many who had a reason to want him dead, but is it an old grievance or something new?
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  • Marlene
    January 1, 1970
    Originally published at Reading RealityThe title of this one seems like kind of a double-pun to me. First, the mystery takes place during the rehearsals for a production of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. But I also have the feeling that Greenoak, where amateur sleuth Pru Parke and her husband, D.I. Christopher Pearse, live, runs just second to the more famous Midsomer County in the number of murders per capita.The Midsomer connection feels particularly apropos for this entry as one of th Originally published at Reading RealityThe title of this one seems like kind of a double-pun to me. First, the mystery takes place during the rehearsals for a production of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. But I also have the feeling that Greenoak, where amateur sleuth Pru Parke and her husband, D.I. Christopher Pearse, live, runs just second to the more famous Midsomer County in the number of murders per capita.The Midsomer connection feels particularly apropos for this entry as one of the more famous members of the Shakespeare troupe has appeared on Midsomer Murders multiple times. (Truthfully, I suspect that every working actor in Britain has appeared on Midsomer Murders multiple times, whether on the way up, or on the way down. Just as every working New York actor has had multiple appearances in the Law & Order franchise!)Pru Parke may have been bitten, just a bit, by the acting bug back when she was in school, but she makes her living as one of the estate gardeners at Greenoak, along with her older brother Simon.Still, that long-ago bit of wishful thinking makes Pru an excellent candidate for set decorator/gardener/general dogsbody for the outdoor Shakespeare production that has taken over the extensive gardens of the closed-up estate next door.That estate’s regular gardener is a bit of a recluse, and not all that fond of people in general – or actors in particular – and has taken himself off in a huff, leaving the Shakespeare company in the lurch and the estate’s owners in a bit of a pickle.Pru steps in to fill the breach, with no idea what she’s letting herself in for. Only that one of the stars of the production is an actor that not only her late mother, but every woman of a certain age in town, had a crush on back in the day. (And if Ambrose Grant isn’t intended as an homage to Hugh Grant, I’ll eat a bouquet.)While Pru is an expert gardener, she is in a bit over her head with the set design, at least until murder enters the scene. When it comes to figuring out whodunit, Pru has become rather expert – a fact that her police detective husband both adores and regrets.He’s happy that they met in the middle of Pru’s first murder investigation, but always worried when she finds herself in the middle of yet another case.Because her investigations, as helpful as they usually are, also usually put her right in the middle of the murderer’s path. A path that the murderer is usually determined to clear of all impediments – especially Pru.Escape Rating B: The Potting Shed mystery series has been fun from Pru’s first outing in The Garden Plot. One of the things that makes this cozy mystery series so enjoyable, at least for this reader, is the character of Pru herself.The series is Pru’s journey, and it’s been a fascinating one so far. It’s all the more lovely for it being a journey of a woman of a certain age starting her life over at midlife. Pru left behind a successful career in Texas to follow her heart, and to follow her mother’s footsteps back to England.Along the way, Pru found a new life, fell in love and married, and discovered her long-lost brother. For those of us who are also of a certain age, it is fantastic to have a heroine who represents us, and who exemplifies all of those old cliches about being as young as you feel and that life begins at any age.The background of this particular case was interesting. Putting on a play, or filming a movie, always makes for a scene rife with over-the-top personalities under high pressure, and provides a backdrop where a disparate group of people congregate to accomplish a goal without necessarily knowing each other.A Midsummer Night’s Dream itself is a play within a play, and Midsummer Mayhem comes very close to being a play within a play within a play. There are certainly lots of players who know of each other if not actually know each other, lots of pressure, plenty of secrets, several illicit affairs and even long-lost lovers – and that’s just among the cast.In that hothouse environment, it’s not really a surprise that someone ends up dead. Especially someone who seems to have been an complete ass – and not the kind portrayed by Bottom in the play.It’s not a question of why the man is dead – it’s more a question of winnowing down the rather long list of suspects. I’ll admit that I guessed whodunit fairly early on. The fun in this particular case was in figuring out whether those two long-lost lovers would manage to figure out that they belonged together after all.Just as in the play, a good time was had by all – except the murderer and his victim – and in the end, a lovely story is told, both to the audience watching the production and to the readers of Pru’s latest adventure.
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  • JoAnne McMaster (Any Good Book)
    January 1, 1970
    Pru Parke is a master gardener at Greenoaks Estate, where she lives with her husband DI Christopher Pearse. She works with her older brother Simon, and one morning he tells her that a neighboring estate needs a temporary gardener to help with a Shakespeare troupe that is doing an outdoor production at the place. Since the owners live abroad and the garden is never opened to the public, Pru jumps at the chance. She also engages part-time help from Simon and her helper Hal to keep the estate in to Pru Parke is a master gardener at Greenoaks Estate, where she lives with her husband DI Christopher Pearse. She works with her older brother Simon, and one morning he tells her that a neighboring estate needs a temporary gardener to help with a Shakespeare troupe that is doing an outdoor production at the place. Since the owners live abroad and the garden is never opened to the public, Pru jumps at the chance. She also engages part-time help from Simon and her helper Hal to keep the estate in top order.When she meets the members she is immediately taken with the director, Max Stirling, and a couple of the players - Ambrose Grant, for one, who is quite well-known in the industry as also being on television shows; and discovers that her cook Evelyn Peachey is enamored of him; but it doesn't stop there as she finds her sister-in-law Polly and the Reverend Bernadette fans as well.She also notes drama in the cast that has nothing to do with the play - one of the players, a young actor named Gabriel Gibb who is playing the young lover Lysander has taken it a step further by bedding as many of the single female cast and crew members that he can. He goes so far as to make a play for Pru, only apologizing once he discovers that she's a married woman. But then she also discovers that Ambrose and the costumer designer Miriam have a past neither is willing to talk about but Pru sees they want to; and she tries to decipher a way to help them get back together.It is only when an actor is murdered that Pru discovers more than one cast member has a past they aren't willing to talk about or admit to, and while she offers to help Christopher find out who had the most to gain by the death, she doesn't realize that digging too deep into the murder could find her digging her own grave...This is the seventh book in the Potting Shed Mysteries and once again Ms. Wingate has given us a mystery well worth reading. Pru and Christopher are delightful characters; it is endearing indeed to see that he trusts his wife's judgment and allows her to help - somewhat - in his investigation, even though he'd like her to stay out of it. We also see that their cook Evelyn Peachey, who's also teaching Pru how to cook, is becoming more of a friend instead of an employee. Evelyn has completely warmed to Pru and it's kind of fun to watch her behavior this time out; first when she discovers that Pru has invited him to dinner, and then after meeting him how Evelyn has expanded her cooking to the troupe of actors, sending food every day with Pru. I like how Pru was asking questions of everyone while being careful not to be invasive of them so as not to make enemies; and I felt that there were plenty of red herrings strewn within - nearly everyone had a reason to dislike the person - although she had to decide whether it was reason enough to want them dead or not.When we got closer to the end it was almost as if both Pru and Christopher had the epiphany at the same time about who the killer might be, although neither one could actually imagine just how inventive this person was. The clues were there throughout but it is up to the reader to sift through them to find the truth, just as Pru needed to do.Ms. Wingate is a talented writer who has a way with a story that keeps you interested from the very beginning through the end. She weaves everything so nicely together and creates characters that are animated and believable. Her descriptions of the gardens are just lovely, and makes you want to visit Great Britain just to take tours and be able to see them for yourself.When the ending comes and all is said and done, it is almost disappointing that there is no more of the tale; but since I always have such enjoyment reading these books I always look forward to the next in the series. Highly recommended.
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  • Jeanie
    January 1, 1970
    What a delight to visit Pru, her husband, and friends across the pond! I always look forward to a new cozy in this series, and Midsummer Mayhem satisfies the anticipation. Pru, a gardner, is helping at a nearby home with several acres of gardens; the huge lawn will be an open-air theater for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The characters are well-defined, at times witty, at other times serious, and hard-working when needed. The gardens sound beautiful, colorful and pleasing to the nose as well as the What a delight to visit Pru, her husband, and friends across the pond! I always look forward to a new cozy in this series, and Midsummer Mayhem satisfies the anticipation. Pru, a gardner, is helping at a nearby home with several acres of gardens; the huge lawn will be an open-air theater for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The characters are well-defined, at times witty, at other times serious, and hard-working when needed. The gardens sound beautiful, colorful and pleasing to the nose as well as the eyes.Prunella “Pru” Parke is from Texas, and her mother originally from England. Pru wanted to be where her beloved mother came from. After her midlife career change, she graduated with a degree in horticulture, and accepted a small position in England, leaving behind a lifetime of good friends. Pru gets better positions as she completes assignments, and meets and marries Christopher Pearse, now a detective in the Hampshire police office. Pru learned she has a brother, Simon, who grew up in England, and they begin to make up for a lifetime apart.Midsummer Night has a former soap opera star, Ambrose Grant, a director making a comeback, Max Stirling, and an eclectic group of performers. It sounds as if the Bumbling Blokes and the little Fairies will be the most fun. An actor is found dead, locked inside the gardener’s cottage. It is determined to be murder for the man playing Lysander – whose off-stage behavior is more like Lothario. He was found in the study with the door locked from the inside, the cottage door locked from the inside, with no discernable way for the bad guy get out. The play must go on, and Christopher and Pru decide that, with officers collecting evidence on the grounds, Pru will be safe and able to hear any talk amongst the actors. She has many plants to care for, scenes to set, and the Fan Club of Ambrose Grant (aka her sister-in-law, Reverend, and housekeeper/ cook) to keep happy.I love the banter that Pru, Christopher, Evelyn, Polly, and Simon have. To see Pru and Christopher and how far they have come from when they first met is delightful! Hal, Simon and Pru’s assistant, is probably the most unknown of the regular characters. Each is defined as much as necessary per their role. Pru and Christopher are my favorites, with Evelyn, Polly, and Simon next in line.This series gets better and better, from the latest gardens, to Pru and Christopher, and the investigation effecting Shakespeare Au Naturel’s production of Midsummer Night’s Dream. It is heartwarming to see how the cast worked together to help the director who had given many of them their start on the stage, the romances off stage, and camaraderie of most of those on and off the stage. I have not read this play, so it was interesting to see lines from it at the start of each chapter. The plot has many twists that invite the reader to follow a few red herrings. I did have an idea who the bad guy was but couldn’t imagine why, so I very briefly followed another herring. In some ways, the bad guy was still a surprise! The finale brought many surprises, fun and otherwise, making it a satisfactory in every way. I highly recommend this novel to fans of earlier novels in the series, those who might enjoy Shakespeare, garden settings, or visiting England, and all who appreciate very well-written cozy mysteries.From a grateful heart: I received a copy of this e-Arc from the publisher and NetGalley, and this is my honest review.
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    Pru Parke is excited to take over the gardening duties to help prepare for an outdoor performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at a private estate. Even though it's a daunting task, Pru loves the gardening and the fun of seeing the actors rehearse for the play. However, when a philandering cast member is murdered, Pru is enlisted to help her husband, DI Christopher Pearse, weed out the killer from a large list of suspects. This book is the seventh book in the Potting Shed Mystery series, but r Pru Parke is excited to take over the gardening duties to help prepare for an outdoor performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at a private estate. Even though it's a daunting task, Pru loves the gardening and the fun of seeing the actors rehearse for the play. However, when a philandering cast member is murdered, Pru is enlisted to help her husband, DI Christopher Pearse, weed out the killer from a large list of suspects. This book is the seventh book in the Potting Shed Mystery series, but readers can easily jump right in without having read all the prior books. If you like this book, you may want to check out the first one in the series to see how Pru and Christoper met and how an American woman from Texas ended up as a renowned gardener in England. Some of the books in this series go into a lot of historical background, which is often interesting but sometimes slows the pace of the story. This book goes easy on the history lessons, but does have a lot of information and lines from Shakespeare's featured comedy. The play is important to the mystery, but don't worry if you're not familiar with it. It's been years since I've read the play and the author does a good job of including the necessary background. Pru and Christopher are both likable characters and I love when they work together on investigations. This time, Christopher welcomes Pru's help since her work on the play gives her an inside track into the witnesses and potential suspects. They make a great team, so I was disappointed when at one point, Pru withheld an important clue from her husband until she made more inquiries. She eventually filled Christopher in and things worked out, but I didn't like that she did this, although it does make her seem human since she isn't perfect.The author does a great job of adding light moments to the story that make the characters come alive. It was cute and easy to relate to when Pru's friends beg her to introduce her to one of the actors in the play who used to star in their favorite soap opera. The investigation goes in circles for a while, so these entertaining extras help make the book more fun to read. I guessed the identity of the murderer before Pru did, but I was way off on the motive , so there were some surprises for me at the end. In spite of the problems in the production, ultimately the show must go on and the ending is cute and satisfying. Fans of the series and fans of English cozy mysteries will enjoy the latest by Marty Wingate.I received this book from NetGalley, through the courtesy of Random House/Alibi. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Linda Baker
    January 1, 1970
    It's MIdsummer in Hampshire, and the villagers are agog over the outdoor staging of A Midsummer Night's Dream in the garden of a local country house. The garden is never open to the public, as the owners are absentee and the resident gardener is reclusive. American transplant Pru Parke is excited by the prospect of finally seeing the garden and the villagers by the casting of a telly star of years gone by. The gardener is upset, however, by the actors trampling around his treasured garden and ab It's MIdsummer in Hampshire, and the villagers are agog over the outdoor staging of A Midsummer Night's Dream in the garden of a local country house. The garden is never open to the public, as the owners are absentee and the resident gardener is reclusive. American transplant Pru Parke is excited by the prospect of finally seeing the garden and the villagers by the casting of a telly star of years gone by. The gardener is upset, however, by the actors trampling around his treasured garden and abruptly quits. When Pru is offered the opportunity to be the "stage designer' by advising on and providing plants for the performance she jumps at the chance. Pru is even a little stage-struck herself.The company, Shakespeare au Natural, is led by Max Sterling, a legendary director who has been out of the business for some years due to the terminal illness of his beloved wife. He hopes the production will re-start his flagging career. Max is a person of great charm and charisma, and he is supported by a group of old friends who are also hoping Max can succeed. Most of them have worked together for years and have a tangled web of personal relationships both as friends and former lovers. There are some new additions of younger actors, but most seem to be dedicated to making a performance to remember. The one exception is the actor playing Lysander, who is both a womanizer and lacks a work ethic. When death strikes the company, inveterate sleuth Pru, abetted by her police inspector husband, Christopher Pearse, is in a prime position to untangle the web of relationships.It's hard to believe that this is the seventh in the Potting Shed Mysteries, a series that I have thoroughly enjoyed. Pru and Christopher are likable characters who gather friends and allies wherever they go. The mixture of gardening lore, mystery, and a little romance, this time with theatrical settings, make another great read.Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Alibi for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.
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  • Melodie
    January 1, 1970
    Midsummer Mayham, Marty Wingate’s newest addition to her Potting Shed Mystery series, is an enjoyable cozy that combines murder, gardening and Shakespeare. What a combination! When a neighboring estate, complete with enormous gardens, is loaned out to a Shakespearean acting company for a short run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pru Parke happily agrees to help out with the set decorating. Since the play is being staged outdoors in a garden area, this is right up Pru’s alley. I found the book star Midsummer Mayham, Marty Wingate’s newest addition to her Potting Shed Mystery series, is an enjoyable cozy that combines murder, gardening and Shakespeare. What a combination! When a neighboring estate, complete with enormous gardens, is loaned out to a Shakespearean acting company for a short run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pru Parke happily agrees to help out with the set decorating. Since the play is being staged outdoors in a garden area, this is right up Pru’s alley. I found the book started slowly but built from there into a book that was difficult to put down. This is understandable as the entire cast and crew, as well any helpers involved with staging the play, become suspects after an obnoxious and randy actor is murdered and all need to be interviewed, at least once. Pru’s husband Christopher Pearse, a detective inspector with the local police department, is running the official investigation, but as Pru is part of the crew, she is on the spot to talk (ie, interview) to everyone involved. One niggling complaint is that occasionally Pru withholds information from her husband even as she knows she shouldn’t. While I appreciated the change of focus from a garden based cozy to one more involved with staging of a play, on some level I missed the focus on gardening, a personal interest of my own. The plotting and the resolution of the book were well done. While the killer is not too obvious, this is in part because the motives were also not as clear as maybe they could have been. I recommend this book for those who enjoy mysteries, especially those of the cozy variety. It is a fun read and interesting to get a backstage look of a stage production. Three and a half stars. I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions stated are solely my own.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    Midsummer Night’s Dream Staged in a Garden with the Added Spice of MurderWhen a troop of players plans to stage Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Coeur-de-la-Mer Priory Hall garden that is normally closed to the public, Pru is excited. She has always wanted to examine the garden at close range. She becomes even more enthusiastic when the gardener at Coeur-de-la-Mer quits because he can’t stand the people trampling on his plants, and she is asked to take over his responsibilities.The job starts well Midsummer Night’s Dream Staged in a Garden with the Added Spice of MurderWhen a troop of players plans to stage Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Coeur-de-la-Mer Priory Hall garden that is normally closed to the public, Pru is excited. She has always wanted to examine the garden at close range. She becomes even more enthusiastic when the gardener at Coeur-de-la-Mer quits because he can’t stand the people trampling on his plants, and she is asked to take over his responsibilities.The job starts well. Pru is responsible for set design as well as maintaining the garden. Luckily she has a new helper Hal Noakes who is able to pick up the slack at Greenoak as well as at the Priory Hall. Pru enjoys the players with the exception of the young man playing Lysander. He’s lazy, difficult and thinks he’s God’s gift to women. When he becomes the victim of an allergic reaction that turns out to be murder, Pru and her detective husband, Christopher, have to find the killer before the play is ruined. As usual, Marty Wingate writes a fun mystery with a beautiful setting. The country house gardens are perfect for Midsummer Night’s Dream. I love the descriptions of the plants and how Pru chooses the plants for the stage sets. It helps to be familiar with Midsummer Night’s Dream. There are a great many characters and at first the dual names are challenging, but the author tries to help by often using just the character’s name. Although the cast list is long, the story sorts out the bit players and after the first couple of chapters it’s easy to remember who’s who. If you enjoy cozy mysteries in a great setting, this is a good one. I received this book from Net Galley for this review.
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  • Pamela
    January 1, 1970
    This is the seventh in author’s Potting Shed series cozy mystery series.Prunella Parke is a gardener on an estate in Hampshire. Her small town is all atwitter because an acting company will be staging A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the gardens of the huge estate outside town. Pru’s friends can’t wait to see the famous actor Ambrose Grant, she, on the other hand, can’t wait to see the gardens. She is pressed into being gardener to the play and then set designer. When one of the actors is killed, Pr This is the seventh in author’s Potting Shed series cozy mystery series.Prunella Parke is a gardener on an estate in Hampshire. Her small town is all atwitter because an acting company will be staging A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the gardens of the huge estate outside town. Pru’s friends can’t wait to see the famous actor Ambrose Grant, she, on the other hand, can’t wait to see the gardens. She is pressed into being gardener to the play and then set designer. When one of the actors is killed, Pru’s huband, DI Christopher Pearse, investigates the crime. And, of course, Pru can’t stay out of the investigation.This book proceeds at a leisurely pace full of all kinds of details about the actors, the play, different kinds of gardens, and, of course, plants and trees. In the midst of all these details are snippets of clues about what will come. Mystery readers will undoubtedly begin trying to figure out who will die and who the killer is long before the murder actually occurs because, after all, this is a mystery.The writing here is good, but what impresses most is the amount of detail the author goes into and how long it takes her to get to the murder.Even though this is the author’s seventh entry into this series, it can easily be read as a stand-alone book. Wingate does a good job giving just enough backstory so the new reader isn’t completely at a loss of who is who in the series characters, and since Pru doesn’t know any of the actors, she is also at a loss to keep the actors, and the characters they play, straight.Over all, this is an interesting and carefully plotted cozy that will delight those who love this series and those who have chosen to use this book as their introduction to the series.
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  • Merrilee Gibson
    January 1, 1970
    I have been a fan of Marty Wingate’s writing for some time, and have reviewed several of her earlier books, including The Bluebonnet Betrayal and Every Trick in the Rook. Ms Wingate appears to be one of those talented individuals who can write multiple books in multiple series and keep us interested all the way. So, I started this book anticipating another enjoyable read, and Wingate did not disappoint. By choosing the central framework of an outdoor performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the I have been a fan of Marty Wingate’s writing for some time, and have reviewed several of her earlier books, including The Bluebonnet Betrayal and Every Trick in the Rook. Ms Wingate appears to be one of those talented individuals who can write multiple books in multiple series and keep us interested all the way. So, I started this book anticipating another enjoyable read, and Wingate did not disappoint. By choosing the central framework of an outdoor performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the author provided herself with a ready-made collection of story figures, made more complex by the dual nature of each character: the Shakespeare name/role along with the personal name/story. Actually, there is a triple role for each, since each is also a figure in Wingate’s mystery plot. This leaves us with a wealth of possible scenarios and an abundance of tempting red herrings.The result of the multiple layers is a complex and intriguing tale. Our heroine Pru, shocked by a murderous discovery, can’t contain herself to fulfilling her job with the theater company, and soon plunges into areas that bring her into peril (while we are in the wings urging: for Heaven’s sake, Pru, BE CAREFUL!). We are led on a trek encompassing both the words of Shakespeare and the work of Christie. Of course, Pru does discover the murderer, and in that same moment finds herself in real trouble. But, all’s well that ends well. The mystery is solved, the murderer identified, several romances come to fruition; both the theatrical production and the book are a resounding success.My thanks to author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing a copy for me to read and review.
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    There are those people who want to be actors or actresses but only in their hearts. They are the ones that insist on sitting in the back rows of the theater. Then there are those who would love a little part in the play but don’t want to be seen. Being in charge of and designing the plants for scene setting is just the thing for Pru since she is a master gardener. This is a story about gardens and Shakespeare and acting. Although it could sound stuffy it most certainly isn’t. I found it read qui There are those people who want to be actors or actresses but only in their hearts. They are the ones that insist on sitting in the back rows of the theater. Then there are those who would love a little part in the play but don’t want to be seen. Being in charge of and designing the plants for scene setting is just the thing for Pru since she is a master gardener. This is a story about gardens and Shakespeare and acting. Although it could sound stuffy it most certainly isn’t. I found it read quickly and was entertaining. I loved the gardening talk and the plant names and so forth and I sure could picture the beautiful gardens and overall landscaping they were to perform the play in. I am not a Shakespeare person but there was not enough of him to get me yawning. I also loved the talk of all the food the cook sent to the green room every day. Good grief I was running to the frig constantly. This is a fun mystery with some twists and turns. The plot was a little different which was enjoyable. There were a lot of characters, and yet I had no trouble knowing who was whom, so to speak. There is nothing wrong with the amount of characters an author places in his or her story. The problem for me comes when they are not identified well enough for me to learn the personality of or see a picture of each one of them. I just hate having to turn back the pages thinking “well who was this guy” and so forth. It sure didn’t happen to me here. I had no trouble reading Midsummer Mayhem. It is Book 7 of a series titled “A Potting Shed Mystery”. All have good reviews.***This book was provided to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are definitely my own.
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  • Carolyn Comings
    January 1, 1970
    I have read all of the earlier books in this series, so I was delighted to have the opportunity to read and review the latest one, via an advance ebook copy from NetGalley. Transplanted Texas gardener Pru has moved to England to work in gardens, and several books ago she married a police detective and learned some previously-unknown family history. In the course of her gardening jobs she seems to always come across a dead body. Of course she does--these are murder mysteries after all! This lates I have read all of the earlier books in this series, so I was delighted to have the opportunity to read and review the latest one, via an advance ebook copy from NetGalley. Transplanted Texas gardener Pru has moved to England to work in gardens, and several books ago she married a police detective and learned some previously-unknown family history. In the course of her gardening jobs she seems to always come across a dead body. Of course she does--these are murder mysteries after all! This latest story is no exception. An outdoor production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is in development, and Pru is asked to help dress the stage with live plants. Because the play is being staged on the grounds of a private estate with famous but off-limits-to-the-public gardens, she jumps at the once-in-a-lifetime chance to get a look. In the midst of the hectic schedule of rehearsals, a rather unusual (in my reading experience, anyway) murder happens, and with the large cast of characters (literally) and the various tangled history and relationships between them, one wonders whether this will turn out to be in the tradition of the Agatha Christie story where everybody did it. No spoilers here; I will leave it to the reader to find out. A most enjoyable story.
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  • Homerun2
    January 1, 1970
    This seventh novel in the Potting Shed Mystery works just fine as a standalone.Pru Parker migrated from Texas to England to pursue her gardening dreams. She and her detective inspector husband live in a small town and Pru has plenty of gardening jobs to keep her busy. She is contacted about acting as a botanical set designer for an outdoor production of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream and jumps at the chance.But the production is soon marred by the apparent murder (by bee-sting) of one of This seventh novel in the Potting Shed Mystery works just fine as a standalone.Pru Parker migrated from Texas to England to pursue her gardening dreams. She and her detective inspector husband live in a small town and Pru has plenty of gardening jobs to keep her busy. She is contacted about acting as a botanical set designer for an outdoor production of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream and jumps at the chance.But the production is soon marred by the apparent murder (by bee-sting) of one of the male cast members, who was noted more for his womanizing than his acting talent. While her hubby offically investigates, Pru is sniffing around behind the scenes talking to cast members to provide some background on all the parties involved.This series is nicely done and the theatrical play setting makes it extra interesting. Pru is a well-drawn character and this mystery is well-paced. There are a lot of characters to keep track of given the actors in the cast, but they sort themselves into individuals pretty quickly.Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Yvonne
    January 1, 1970
    I have read a couple of the books out of this series. Although there is enough pertinent information that you can read this book as a stand alone. Pru Parke is stuck in the middle of a murder mystery again. She can not seem to keep herself out of these situations. Pru and her brother run a gardening business and a local play company is putting on a huge show of A Midsummer Night's Dream that requires a lot of gardening and flower arrangements being done. Pru is the one who gets the job. This pla I have read a couple of the books out of this series. Although there is enough pertinent information that you can read this book as a stand alone. Pru Parke is stuck in the middle of a murder mystery again. She can not seem to keep herself out of these situations. Pru and her brother run a gardening business and a local play company is putting on a huge show of A Midsummer Night's Dream that requires a lot of gardening and flower arrangements being done. Pru is the one who gets the job. This play company has hired a famous actor to be in the play so part of the book is that people are enamored over him. Every thing goes haywire when the most obnoxious actor gets murdered. Pru's Husband Christopher Pearse is the Detective Inspector on this case. He wanted Pru to stay away from the case but she just could not do it and ends up in hot water herself. I did not figure out who the murderer was. I did think that person was a little weird but never guessed it was the person who committed the crime. It kept me guessing. It was a really good story. I received this book for free to read from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are 100% my own.
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  • Susan Johnston
    January 1, 1970
    Princess Fuzzypants here: I have enjoyed the Potting Shed stories a great deal and this latest one is no exception. This time Pru is asked to do the staging for an open-air Shakespeare play at a local Estate. The regular groundskeeper has resigned in a huff and Pru’s services are needed quickly. She enlists the help of her part-time assistant as she is asked to do more and more. Slightly star struck, she is only too happy to comply.One of the things she does not expect is the murder of the young Princess Fuzzypants here: I have enjoyed the Potting Shed stories a great deal and this latest one is no exception. This time Pru is asked to do the staging for an open-air Shakespeare play at a local Estate. The regular groundskeeper has resigned in a huff and Pru’s services are needed quickly. She enlists the help of her part-time assistant as she is asked to do more and more. Slightly star struck, she is only too happy to comply.One of the things she does not expect is the murder of the young male lead. His death by bee shocks the entire company but it clearly means one of them is a killer. Who is it who knew the actor was highly allergic and trapped him in a closed room with angry bees? And who is next on the list? What possible motive could there be for such a horrible crime?Pru and her husband Christopher are great characters. She is a smart cookie and he is not adverse to listening to her observations. She never oversteps but it still leads to plenty of suspense and thrills. It makes for a good mystery. I confess I suspected the killer but the reasons behind his murderous ways still surprised me. I enjoy that.Four purrs and two paws up.
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  • Maria Logan-Montgomery
    January 1, 1970
    Midsummer Mayhem, the seventh book in the Potting Shed mystery series by Marty Wingate is due out November 6, 2018. It follows Prunella “Pru” Pearse, gardener extraordinaire, as she takes on the task of set designer for an outdoor setting of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.Of course, while Pru is busy creating beautiful woodland scenes, there is soon a murder of one of the cast members, and she cannot resist attempting to solve the case. Is the murderer another actor, or perhaps a member Midsummer Mayhem, the seventh book in the Potting Shed mystery series by Marty Wingate is due out November 6, 2018. It follows Prunella “Pru” Pearse, gardener extraordinaire, as she takes on the task of set designer for an outdoor setting of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.Of course, while Pru is busy creating beautiful woodland scenes, there is soon a murder of one of the cast members, and she cannot resist attempting to solve the case. Is the murderer another actor, or perhaps a member of the crew, maybe an actor wannabe? The identity of the murderer was quickly obvious to me, but it took Pru longer than I expected to come to the same conclusion. Still, she’s a pretty sharp cookie that finds herself in some sticky situations. Somehow she always comes out smelling like a rose.Midsummer Mayhemis a quick, easy read that gave my brain a break, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Pru and her detective husband, Christopher, remind me so much of the characters on the British TV series Midsomer Murders, that I checked the list of writers on that program to see if this author one of them, but alas, she is not.
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  • Jennifer Ritter
    January 1, 1970
    Midsummer Mayhem is the seventh book in Marty Wingate’s Potting Shed Mysteries. Gardener Pru Parke is asked to take over gardening duties as well as set decoration for the Shakespeare Au Natural troupe using nearby Coeur de la Mer Priory Hall to stage their outdoor production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. With a literal cast of characters, Pru is caught up in the project, learning the names of the characters rather than the names of the actors.Although Pru notices the inappropriate moves the act Midsummer Mayhem is the seventh book in Marty Wingate’s Potting Shed Mysteries. Gardener Pru Parke is asked to take over gardening duties as well as set decoration for the Shakespeare Au Natural troupe using nearby Coeur de la Mer Priory Hall to stage their outdoor production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. With a literal cast of characters, Pru is caught up in the project, learning the names of the characters rather than the names of the actors.Although Pru notices the inappropriate moves the actor playing Lysander makes toward every woman he encounters, she never expects to find the young actor in the shape he is found. Who would have known of his severe allergy and who would have stolen his counteracting injectors? And who would have taken this even further to harm others?The answer to these questions isn’t stumbled upon until the very end. Pru and her husband, DI Christopher Pearse, make the discovery in the nick of time. This is another good tale in the Potting Shed Mystery series and I do recommend it!
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  • Patricia
    January 1, 1970
    Bravo! Yet another brilliant mystery I have been a fan of Marty Wingate since I read her first Potting Shed Mystery, The Garden Plot. Each one is entwined with beautiful description of plants and gardens. She has a lifelong fan in me.Midsummer Mayhem is another excellent mystery. I will admit to being pretty sure who the murderer was early on, but the climatic ending was fantastic. The characters were quite interesting and the side plots effective in the book. I don't want to give anything away, Bravo! Yet another brilliant mystery I have been a fan of Marty Wingate since I read her first Potting Shed Mystery, The Garden Plot. Each one is entwined with beautiful description of plants and gardens. She has a lifelong fan in me.Midsummer Mayhem is another excellent mystery. I will admit to being pretty sure who the murderer was early on, but the climatic ending was fantastic. The characters were quite interesting and the side plots effective in the book. I don't want to give anything away, so I will simply ask you to read this book. If you enjoy cozy mystery books and are in want of a superb read, read the Potting Shed Mysteries! I recommend reading them in order, simply because of character development and to gain more insight on Pru, Christopher, and their own romance. Each book can be read alone, but I truly enjoy reading a series from first to newest! I hope Marty will continue writing for years to come! Don't forget to check out the Birds of a Feather cozy mystery books too! Marty does an excellent job in this series too!
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  • Leona Herxegh
    January 1, 1970
    I just finished reading an advance copy of Midsummer Mayhem by Marty Wingate, which will be released on 11/6/2018. I think cozy mystery lovers will enjoy this book.Three things enticed me to read Midsummer Mayhem: gardening, theater and mystery. I’ve had experience with gardening and did some community theater for a few years. And I love a good mystery.Pru, a gardener and is married to a small English town police officer, was asked to design and create the set for an outdoor production of Midsum I just finished reading an advance copy of Midsummer Mayhem by Marty Wingate, which will be released on 11/6/2018. I think cozy mystery lovers will enjoy this book.Three things enticed me to read Midsummer Mayhem: gardening, theater and mystery. I’ve had experience with gardening and did some community theater for a few years. And I love a good mystery.Pru, a gardener and is married to a small English town police officer, was asked to design and create the set for an outdoor production of Midsummer-night’s Dream. She gets to deal with the quirkiness of the actors, stage crew, and the director. Before the production could get through many rehearsals one of the actors is murdered by an unusual means, so Pru tries to figure “out who done it” while she tends to her job of creating the theater set. The reader is kept guessing who the villian is for most of the book, which is fun, Although I had some trouble remembering the names of all the actors for a bit I found the book to be an enjoyably fun read.#MidsummerMayem #NetGalley
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  • Patricia Romero
    January 1, 1970
    A Potting Shed Mystery #7Pru Parker, gardener extraordinaire, is in the thick of things again.The entire town is excited about the news of an outdoor performance to be put on at a beautiful local estate with gardens to die for. Literally.Pru is to be the plant set director and along with her helper, Hal, she hopes to do the play justice and keep the actors from destroying the gardens. Which is the reason the normal gardener for the estate abruptly quit!As she races from one errand to another, sh A Potting Shed Mystery #7Pru Parker, gardener extraordinaire, is in the thick of things again.The entire town is excited about the news of an outdoor performance to be put on at a beautiful local estate with gardens to die for. Literally.Pru is to be the plant set director and along with her helper, Hal, she hopes to do the play justice and keep the actors from destroying the gardens. Which is the reason the normal gardener for the estate abruptly quit!As she races from one errand to another, she creates scenes for each act of the play, A Midsummer Night's Dream. When one of the actors is found dead among bees, everyone becomes a suspect. Pru's hubby, DI Christopher Pearse is on the case and is hoping Pru can ferret out any gossip or clues from the cast. The only problem is they all seem suspect! Secrets abound and Pru may not live to see the play!A lovely cozy series that I hope to read more of!Netgalley/November 6th 2018 by Alibi
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  • Lynne
    January 1, 1970
    Pru is embroiled again in a murder. She is providing the plants for a production of A Midsummer's Night Dream . The biggest womanizer in the group of actors is found dead. How did this happen? Who had the chance and the motive for doing such a thing. Everyone seems to be keeping secrets, but who has a secret worth killing?Pru and her husband DI Christopher Pearse are fun characters. Pru doesn't really think she is meddling or putting herself in danger until she is. Christopher knows her so well. Pru is embroiled again in a murder. She is providing the plants for a production of A Midsummer's Night Dream . The biggest womanizer in the group of actors is found dead. How did this happen? Who had the chance and the motive for doing such a thing. Everyone seems to be keeping secrets, but who has a secret worth killing?Pru and her husband DI Christopher Pearse are fun characters. Pru doesn't really think she is meddling or putting herself in danger until she is. Christopher knows her so well.The mystery is fun and engaging. The characters are delightful. The writing style is easy to read and at times made me smile. This is light, reading for a quick escape. The murder took me by surprise. The story just carried me along and did exactly what I wanted--offered me an escape.Thanks to NetGalley for this advanced reader copy.
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  • April
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoy the potting shed mystery series. This one introduced a private garden near where Pru and Christopher live where a Midsummer Night’s Dream is going to be out on. Pru gets involved to help with living plant set items and gets pulled into the drama surrounding the cast and crew.There are a large number of characters to keep track of in addition to the usual village people and friends that have played a role in past mysteries. The cast member who dies was a lothario and it was more difficult I enjoy the potting shed mystery series. This one introduced a private garden near where Pru and Christopher live where a Midsummer Night’s Dream is going to be out on. Pru gets involved to help with living plant set items and gets pulled into the drama surrounding the cast and crew.There are a large number of characters to keep track of in addition to the usual village people and friends that have played a role in past mysteries. The cast member who dies was a lothario and it was more difficult than normal to care who killed him. However, the reason and why he was killed did turn out to be pretty interesting. The way the author ended the book was a bit odd but did make me laugh. The story is done well enough that you could pick up this book without having to have read the others in the series.
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  • Laura Salas
    January 1, 1970
    I adore the Potting Shed series and Pru! For me, this wasn't quite one of my favorites of the series, as the killer (SPOILER ahead) seemed to be acting uncharacteristically and suspiciously during the entire book, and also because Pru was keeping things from Christopher (her detective husband) in a way that felt forced and not believable and drawn out just for the sake of making the plot work.I still really liked it, as I thoroughly enjoy Wingate's scene-setting and characterizations--and myster I adore the Potting Shed series and Pru! For me, this wasn't quite one of my favorites of the series, as the killer (SPOILER ahead) seemed to be acting uncharacteristically and suspiciously during the entire book, and also because Pru was keeping things from Christopher (her detective husband) in a way that felt forced and not believable and drawn out just for the sake of making the plot work.I still really liked it, as I thoroughly enjoy Wingate's scene-setting and characterizations--and mystery plotting, too, of course! I just didn't think it was quite as strong as some others in the series. Nevertheless, I'll be awaiting book #8!Review copy provided by the publisher via Netgalley.
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  • Kathleen Gray
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not a fan of little theater type cozies but I AM a fan of Pru and her gardening expertise. This time around she's been drawn in to fix things when an acting troupe puts on an outside performance of Midsummer's Night Dream. AND, of course, when one of the actors is murdered! Pru, our intrepid amateur married to DI Christopher Pearse, pokes around. It does help, I think , to be at least a little familiar with Shakespeare as there are some "inside" comments but you'll be fine if you aren't. Thi I'm not a fan of little theater type cozies but I AM a fan of Pru and her gardening expertise. This time around she's been drawn in to fix things when an acting troupe puts on an outside performance of Midsummer's Night Dream. AND, of course, when one of the actors is murdered! Pru, our intrepid amateur married to DI Christopher Pearse, pokes around. It does help, I think , to be at least a little familiar with Shakespeare as there are some "inside" comments but you'll be fine if you aren't. This is also fine as a standalone. It's a classic, with twists, turns, a red herring, and some crazy characters. What makes this series special for me is the gardening information. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. This is another winner from Wingate.
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