Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The Scarlet Pepper
White House Gardener Mystery #2
Dorothy St. James

Berkley Prime Crime
April 2012 / 978-0-425-24704-4
Mystery/Amateur Sleuth

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Sometimes life imitates art; other times art imitates life. This second installment of the White House Gardener Mystery series illustrates a slice of real-life in that its focus is on the First Lady's vegetable garden.

Casey Calhoun serves as the official organic gardener for the White House, and she takes her responsibilities seriously. When mischief happens and causes red peppers to appear where green peppers should be growing, and lettuce is switched up with cabbage, Casey is ready to dig for clues. Soon she is sidetracked when a news reporter is found dead.

With trouble growing like weeds, Casey has her work cut out for her. Finding out who is sabotaging the garden and who is more than your garden variety killer are her top priorities, but if she isn't careful she could end up on the wrong end of things when the fertilizer hits the fan.

I'd been eagerly awaiting this sequel to "Flowerbed of State," and am happy to report that it was well worth the wait. Casey is a smart character, and the setting of the White House and grounds is exciting. In fact, my heart was beating a little fast during the action-packed prologue; and the book got better from there.

This is fine as a stand-alone read, but even better if you do read "Flowerbed of State" first. Dorothy St. James also writes romance novels as Dorothy McFalls. If you like gardening mysteries, such as Heather Webber's "Nina Quinn Mysteries," you'll like this series as well. "The Scarlet Pepper" may even inspire you to start your own organic vegetable garden. There are even some gardener's notes after the story.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Flowerbed of State #1

Reviewer Laura Hinds is the author of Are You Gonna Eat That Banana?
Reviewed 2012