mystery, Bloom and Doom. Allen sews the seeds for a series that should flourish with its colorful characters and small-town charm.
Audrey Bloom, co-owner of Rose in Bloom, has an unusual gift. She has created 156 bouquets for Ramble, Virginia brides, and none of the couples have split up. Audrey's cousin and business partner, Liv, credits Audrey who tweaks bouquet designs based on the language of flowers. But, Audrey doesn't have a good feeling about the marriage of her former best friend, Jenny Whitney. Jenny is marrying Derek Rawling, the town's resident playboy. While Jenny's mother is ecstatic that her daughter is engaged to the scion of a wealthy family, Jenny doesn't seem happy. With Audrey's kind heart, she offers to teach Jenny to use the tools of the florist's trade. She didn't expect those tools to be used to kill Derek.
Jenny may be on the top of the suspect list, but Audrey can't accept the fact that her former best friend is a killer. And, the police chief seems convinced Jenny is a killer, but Audrey knew Jenny intended to break off her engagement. Audrey's faith in Jenny was just one reason she turned amateur sleuth. She also hated "The idea that someone in Ramble had died at the hands of someone we most likely knew. Everyone in Ramble interacted with everyone else." Audrey feared she would know the killer, but she couldn't let an innocent Jenny suffer.
Allen's first mystery in this series is a well-developed story with interesting twists. And, the colorful cast of characters include a police chief allergic to flowers, a hunky baker, and a flower delivery man with secrets. And, it seems that murder isn't the only crime in Ramble. The police chief has his own reasons for keeping an eye on Rose in Bloom.
Hopefully, Beverly Allen's mysteries will grow successfully, beginning with the enjoyable Bloom and Doom.
Beverly Allen, who also writes as Barbara Early, can be found at www.barbaraearly.com
Bloom and Doom by Beverly Allen. Berkley Prime Crime. 2014. ISBN 9780425264973 (paperback), 293p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.