Rosemary Harris, author of the Dirty Business mysteries, will speak at the Velma Teague Library, 7010 N. 58th Ave., Glendale, on Friday, Feb. 20 at 2 p.m. as part of the Authors @ The Teague series. She will discuss and sign her books at the free program. Call 623-930-3431 for details.
It's a caper novel, with murder, casinos, bumbling Ukrainian gangsters, a bear, a pitchfork, and a gardener. It must be Rosemary Harris' latest Dirty Business mystery, The Big Dirt Nap.
It's the off-season, so it's the perfect time for Paula Holliday, owner of Dirty Business Gardening, to meet a friend for a weekend getaway. There's the added incentive of the possible flowering of a corpse flower, an unusual addition to the lobby at the Titans Hotel. But, Lucy is a no-show, and Paula finds herself identifying the corpse of a man who tried to pick her up in the bar. Paula can't help poking around though, while she waits for Lucy, who texts messages that tend to get more obscure. She hears rumors about casinos, Ukrainian gangsters, and kidnappings. After a run-in with a smart-alecky police detective, Paula gives up on her friend, only to be followed on the road. When her home is broken into, Paula worries that Lucy might be held somewhere against her will. So, there's one more trip back to Titans Hotel, a place now out of a nightmare. Not the ordinary weekend in the life of a gardener.
Since it's the off-season, there are fewer gardening details in this book than in the debut mystery, Pushing Up Daisies. But, gardening fans will still appreciate details about Paula's business, and, of course, the corpse flower.
Harris' new book is a wacky adventure for poor Paula. Paula is a loyal friend, and she engenders loyalty in return. This is a series with strong secondary characters, particularly Babe, owner of Babe's Paradise Diner. With the trip out-of-town, I found myself waiting for Babe's first appearance, and I wasn't disappointed. If you're in the mood for a fast-paced, quirky mystery, with interesting characters, The Big Dirt Nap might fit the bill.
Rosemary Harris' website is www.RosemaryHarris.com
The Big Dirt Nap by Rosemary Harris. Minotaur Books, ©2009. ISBN 978-0-312-36968-2 (hardcover), 256p.