Pretty Poison – Joyce and Jim Lavene, Authors

November 28, 2009 at 10:48 am (Crime Novels) (, , , , , , , , )



Pretty Poison – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘The man was face down in one of her attractive wicker baskets filled with anemone bulbs. It was part of the autumn scene she’d created, complete with scarecrow and pumpkins. He’d obviously fallen forward, dragging the scarecrow from its perch on the oak rocking chair. The straw figure looked forlorn, lying half under the man’s weight like some bizarre teddy bear.’

Peggy Lee is the owner of the Potting Shed and when she walks into her shop to find a man face down in one of her arrangements she’s beyond words. Part of her wanted to turn around and run, screaming for help. But after being a cop’s wife for years as well as a researcher, she pushes her emotions aside and does the right thing. She calls the police.

To Peggy’s relief, the Detective that took the call was her deceased husband’s partner, Al McDonald. He had been her husband’s partner for twenty years and there wasn’t a man alive she trusted more. But his questions, as well as hers, was who is this man with his face hidden in the plant, how did he get in a shop that was locked up and what happened to him. It definitely wasn’t an accident. There was blood on the shovel that he had been hit over the head with.

One question was answered as soon as the body was turned over. It was Mark Warner, one of the wealthiest men in Charlotte. Peggy had seen him around the shop lately with a woman and the woman wasn’t his wife. Could she have killed him in a rage of jealousy? Maybe he decided to break up with his new girlfriend and she struck out in rage. Some speculated that it might be the homeless man who hung around the shop. There were as many reasons for his murder as there were suspects and Peggy was determined to find the killer.

I became hooked with the Peggy Lee series after reading A Corpus for Yew. There are a total of five books in this series and I intend to read them all, starting next with Fruit of the Poisoned Tree. The Peggy Lee series has to be one of the most light hearted murder mysteries I’ve ever read. The situations Peggy finds herself in will make you laugh as well as keep you on the edge of your seat as you try to solve the mystery. Joyce and Jim Lavene, I really hope you will continue the Peggy series. And please don’t forget to write in Shakespeare the Great Dane rescued by Peggy.

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A Corpse for Yew – Joyce and Jim Lavene, Authors

October 14, 2009 at 10:12 pm (Comedy, Crime Novels, historical, mystery, Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , , , , , )


A Corpse for Yew

A Corpse for Yew – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

As you read the excerpt below, picture a group of elderly ladies, all members of the Shamrock Historical Society due to their ancestors and proud of it. Picture these ladies standing in the middle of a cow pasture as they search for a grave that has been long forgotten. And now listen as they reminisce about another outing that took them in search of a grave from the past.

“It doesn’t really matter,” Geneva said. We’re within our legal rights to visit the grave since Mrs.. Waynewright is a direct descendant. MCWhirter can’t keep us away.”

Dorothy grimaced. “Remember that time we had to sneak into that abandoned cemetery out by Salisbury? Those terrible dogs! I’m not sure what w would’ve done if Mr. Hawkins hadn’t been with us. He took that bite like a man.”

“After that, the dogs seemed fine with us being there.” Annabelle shrugged.

“But poor Mr. Hawkins had to have rabies shots. He was such a gentleman about it.”

Peggy is the owner of a garden shop called the Potting Shed located in Center City, Charlotte. She’s also a part-time forensic botanist for the Charlotte Police Department. When her mother, Lilla, talks her into joining the Shamrock Historical Society and their quest to rescue bones that have been buried under Lake Whitley for years, she didn’t expect to discover the body of one of the Society’s own members, Lois Mullis, who also turns out to be the Aunt of the Police Chief. Was it accidental or murder? The Chief believes it was an accident. The members of the Shamrock Historical Society believe it was murder and they put their faith in Peggy to prove them right and to find the killer.

A Corpse for Yew is a book of humor and mystery, as well as a book that spiked my interest in plants. Joyce and Jim Lavene provide a description of the plants as they are introduced into each chapter, giving you a little history of the plant’s origin and it’s uses. As they introduced each member of the Shamrock Historical Society, I found myself picturing each lady perfectly. When I put the mental pictures of these ladies together to form the full group, I could see their every move as they persuaded Peggy to help them find the killer of their friend. And with my living in Charlotte, NC, I knew almost every location visited by Peggy and her group of ladies.

A Corpse for You is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in some time. It became a real mystery as I tried to decide who would want to harm the late Mrs. Mullis. But with it’s humor, it was a very relaxing book to read.

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