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Hearse and Gardens
Hamptons Home & Garden Mystery #2
Kathleen Bridge

Berkley Prime Crime
May 3, 2016 / ISBN 978-0-425-27659-4
Mystery/Cozy/Amateur Sleuth

Reviewed by Laura Hinds


Meg Barrett is an interior designer with a background in the magazine industry when she lived in Manhattan. Nowadays she resides in a small rental, while she straddles legal hurdles toward actual ownership of the cottage she purchased from a church in Montauk, in The Hamptons. It seems a distant relative of the cottage's former owner, who had left the cottage to the church, has surfaced and laid claim to the property.

Meg keeps her mind off of things by focusing on her work. She and her friend, Elle, get permission from Elle's Uncle Harry to clear out anything they want to from a beach bungalow on his Montauk compound. Unfortunately for Meg and Elle, one of the first things they find is a skeleton hidden in a locked hidden room! The bones belong to Uncle Harry's long missing son, Pierce. Who killed him, or left him for dead, and why? With someone unknown targeting Meg with pranks full of evil intent (a dead seagull, fish guts in a bucket that spills on her, etc.), she decides to dive into the thick of things and find out what really goes on behind closed doors among the rich and famous

I missed the first book in this series, Better Homes and Corpses, but you can be sure I'm going to go back and read it as soon as possible! I was hooked on Hearse and Gardens within a few pages. The protagonist Meg is eminently likable, and the action kicks into high gear on page six.

The inside view of the lives of the privileged and wealthy felt realistic, and Meg and Elle helped keep things grounded in the more usual realm of day-to-day life. The author's words flow in such a way that I could practically smell the salt air of the ocean, taste the delicious food, and see the beautiful landscapes and feel how the other half lives!

I highly recommend this book to cozy enthusiasts everywhere! There are even tips on repurposing vintage finds and a few recipes after the story wraps up. I can't wait to go back and read the first book now and will eagerly await the next installment.

Reviewed 2016