The Garden Club Murder (A Tish Tarragon Mystery)
by Amy Patricia Meade
About The Garden Club Murder
The Garden Club Murder (A Tish Tarragon Mystery)
2nd in Series
Severn House Publishers (September 1, 2019)
Hardcover: 208 pages
Digital ASIN: B07TXLVLPP
Literary caterer Letitia ‘Tish’ Tarragon is preparing her English Secret Garden-themed luncheon for Coleton Creek’s annual garden club awards, but when she is taken on a tour of some of the top contenders with the garden club’s president, Jim Ainsley, Tish is surprised at how seriously the residents take the awards – and how desperate they are to win.
Wealthy, retired businessman Sloane Shackleford has won the coveted best garden category five years in a row, but he and his Bichon Frise, Biscuit, are universally despised. When Sloane’s bludgeoned body is discovered in his pristine garden, Tish soon learns that he was disliked for reasons that go beyond his green fingers. Have the hotly contested awards brought out a competitive and murderous streak in one of the residents?
~ Character Guest Post ~
A Day in the Life of Tish Tarragon, THE GARDEN CLUB MURDER
I think I might need to clone myself.
Yes, I realize that every parent on the planet has had that same exact thought at some point in their lives, especially when faced with balancing work, household chores, child-rearing, bills, and their personal lives.
And I realize that since I don’t have children to raise, some might say I have things easy, but I argue that I have something those parents don’t have: murder.
It all started a few months ago when I decided to pursue my lifelong dream of owning a literary café and catering business. So, I moved to the small town of Hobson Glen, Virginia, where my best friends, Julian Jefferson Davis, our local TV weatherman, and Mary Jo Okensholt, stay-at-home Mom to two teens, reside and opened Cookin’ the Books Café.
Things were going smoothly until Binnie Broderick, the director of the Hobson Glen Library was murdered during my very first catering job. Wanting to protect my business’s reputation, I rolled up my sleeves, made the rounds to the locals, and spread some goodwill, as well as sandwiches, scones, muffins, etc. In the process, I discovered I have some pretty good sleuthing skills.
Thanks to my efforts (And Sheriff Reade’s, of course. I must give credit where credit is due!) Binnie’s Broderick’s murderer was brought to justice.
All’s well that ends well, right?
This weekend I was hired to cater the awards ceremony for the Coleton Creek Sixty-Plus Community Garden Competition. I devised a lovely English tea/picnic menu inspired by The Secret Garden and brought Julian along to serve drinks and my baker, Celestine, to help dish up her delicious floral-scented cakes for dessert.
Once again, everything was pitch-perfect, from the golden key place cards to the topiary centerpieces. Perfect, that is, until Julian and I stumbled upon the dead body of five-time garden competition winner, Sloane Shackleford, while on a tour with Garden Club President, Jim Ainsley. Shackleford had been bludgeoned with a garden spade.
Despite the murder, the garden club luncheon is going ahead as scheduled, which is good for my bank account, but not-so-good for my sanity. You see, that recently-discovered sleuthing skill of mine has reared its head again. Although I have no desire to be on the case (Well, maybe I do… just a little.) and need to focus on preparing a successful luncheon, the residents of Coleton Creek love to gossip. And they love to gossip to me. About Shackleford, about their love lives, about their pasts, and about things I’d never repeat to another soul aside from Sheriff Reade, because, well, it’s his job.
As if balancing murder, a café, a catering job, and a new romance with my landlord, Schuyler Thompson, weren’t enough, I’m now consoling Mary Jo, who just learned that her husband of twenty years, Glen, wants a divorce so he can shack up with a much younger woman. Unable to face the home she shared with Glen all these years, she and her two kids are now sharing my two-bedroom apartment, along with Shackleford’s orphaned Bichon Frise, Biscuit.
Biscuit isn’t very popular at Coleton Creek as it’s been purported that his wayward tinkling habit has produced yellow spots and dead flora in Shackleford’s competitors’ gardens. As such, one would be hard-pressed to find a resident who would offer him a Milkbone, let alone temporary housing. And so, I’ve decided to take him in until a suitable home can be found for him, because well, what’s a circus without at least one animal?
Adding to the circus environment is Julian. Typically a rock during moments of stress or misfortune, he’s been going through some weird midlife, existential crisis that has him playing Mah-jongg, drinking mojitos, and enjoying water aerobics with the rather elderly Coleton Creek female population.
Will the luncheon be a success? Will I unravel the mystery behind Shackleford’s murder? Will I successfully steer Mary Jo and Julian through their respective crises? Will I ever enjoy some “alone time” with Schuyler? And, equally important, will I ever again be able to use my own bathroom without waiting in line? I have no answers, but I am positive that before I ever take on another catering gig, I most definitely need to be cloned.
About Amy Patricia Meade
Author of the critically acclaimed Marjorie McClelland Mysteries, Amy Patricia Meade is a native of Long Island, NY where she cut her teeth on classic films and books featuring Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown.
After stints as an Operations Manager for a document imaging company and a freelance technical writer, Amy left the bright lights of New York City and headed north to pursue her creative writing career amidst the idyllic beauty of Vermont’s Green Mountains.
Now residing in Bristol, England, Amy spends her time writing mysteries with a humorous or historical bent. When not writing, Amy enjoys traveling, testing out new recipes, classic films, and exploring her new home.
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