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Bloom and Doom
Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery #1
Beverly Allen

Berkley Prime Crime
April 1, 2014/ ISBN 0425264971
Mystery – cozy

Reviewed by Cheryl Green


The interview with Audrey Bloom in the Ramble On newspaper is keeping the staff of Rose in Bloom hopping. It seems that not one of the couples that had their bridal bouquet done by Audrey Bloom have split up. Audrey does use the language of flowers to make each bouquet meaningful.

Jenny Whitney arrives to cancel the bouquet her mother Ellen has picked out. It was a strange assortment including scabious seed heads. Audrey is pleased that her former close friend is taking charge of the planning. That is - until Jenny tells her the wedding is off. She will be breaking it off with Derek Rawling that very evening. Knowing her mother will not support her after the breakup, Jenny asks Audrey if she has a position for her at Rose in Bloom. Audrey gives her a quick lesson and packs up a set of tools for Jenny to practice her new skills at home.

Early the next morning, Liv (co-owner with Audrey of Rose in Bloom) is pounding on Audrey’s door. It seems that Liv’s husband Eric spotted Derek Rawling’s car near Jenny’s home. On closer inspection, Derek was not sleeping off a rough night, he was dead and there was blood everywhere in the car. There was also a knife stuck in his chest. Could it be the one that Audrey gave to Jenny to practice her flower arranging?

The police feel that Jenny Whitney is the prime suspect. Audrey does not believe Jenny would murder anyone and decides to help with the investigation. Audrey had better be very careful or she could find herself plucked from the bouquet.

Things to ponder: Why was Jenny Whitney really marrying Derek Rawling? Why did Rawling Properties let Grandma Mae’s house fall into such disrepair? Who is the recipient of Nick Maxwell’s frequent flower purchases?

This is a great start for a charming new series. I love Audrey’s fondness of musicals – it adds that extra touch of whimsy to this delightful series. Learning what each flower represents was an extra bonus. The characters are a lively bunch and add so much to the story. The story pulled me right in from the first page. It was a real page turner. I had to find out what was going to happen next and of course know whodunit. I found it to be the perfect read – getting me ready for spring after a very long winter. I imagined all those beautiful flowers described so beautifully in the book - growing in my garden. Keep an eye out for the next in this engaging new series - For Whom the Bluebell Tolls. So if you like your mystery surrounded by bouquets of perfect blooms, then you should be reading Bloom and Doom.

Reviewed 2014