My favorite season is spring, with its tender, fragrant early flowers, its pale baby leaves, its scudding clouds in blue skies, its breezes, and then, as summer pops, more pungent and colorful flowers.
This spring, we can wander through an entire garden of cozy mysteries. Imagine reading them beside a window, with arrangements of flowers on the windowsill.
Easter Bonnet Murder by Leslie Meier
We’ll start the season with a cozy mystery that features an occasion that should be lighthearted and fun—an annual Easter Bonnet Contest. This one is held at the Heritage House Senior Center in Tinker’s Cove, Maine. Unfortunately, the winner of the previous Easter’s contest, who is not completely popular with some of the cliques in the home, disappears.
The woman’s daughter asks part-time reporter Lucy Stone to help find her mother. Strangely, the police and the home’s management seem unconcerned. Lucy goes on a search for the missing woman, and then, when the woman is found deceased, Lucy hunts for clues about who might have done this to her. Days might be getting longer, but the time for finding and stopping a murderer before someone else is hurt might be getting shorter . . .
Flower arrangement suggestion: daffodils and tulips in a sea-glass green vase.
A Flicker of a Doubt by Daryl Wood Gerber
Next, we’ll tiptoe through the tulips and find ourselves in May, in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. We’ll visit full-sized gardens, and we’ll also use our imaginations to enter miniature gardens designed for fairies.
In Gerber’s Fairy Garden Mysteries, fairies are real. People who believe in fairies can see and communicate with them. Courtney Kelly, the owner of the Open Your Imagination shop has her own personal fairy, Fiona. Courtney crafts fairy gardens and teaches others how to make them. Fiona lets Courtney know whatever she notices as she flits about, like clues that might (or might not . . .) help solve the murder of Courtney’s best friend’s abusive ex-boyfriend. Courtney partners with friends and family—and Fiona—to collect evidence to fly to the aid of an accused friend and aim the detective toward the real murderer.
Flower arrangement suggestion: violets and lilies-of-the-valley in a row of miniature vases.
Dedication to Murder by Lauren Elliot
The next thing we know, it’s June, we’re in Greybourne Harbor, Massachusetts, and it’s the traditional month for weddings, including Addie Graybourne’s. Or so she thought . . .
Unfortunately, not all goes well, and Addie, the owner of Beyond the Page Books and Curios, retreats to the mansion she inherited from a great aunt. In the attic of that mansion, Addie discovers a hidden room. Treasures in the room include an old wedding gown and a collection of rare books, one containing a tantalizing inscription. Trying to put her life and hear heart back together, Addie ends up working on an old murder case and a new one, all the while unraveling the threads of her family’s mysterious and possibly shocking past.
Flower arrangement suggestion: bleeding hearts and mock orange blossoms in an antique vase.
Cinnamon Twisted by Ginger Bolton
We’ll stay in June and travel to Fallingbrook Wisconsin where Emily Westhill is part owner of a coffee shop, Deputy Donut. An obviously frightened customer flees the shop, losing an earring. Emily attempts to return the earring only to discover that the woman is dead.
Fallingbrook’s ambitious new police chief sends Emily’s detective friend out of town, ignores Emily’s suggestions about who might have frightened the woman, and allows Emily only a short look at the contents of an envelope the deceased woman had addressed to Emily. Although written by the original owner of Emily’s home, the letter in the envelope does not answer Emily’s questions about the history of her home and the high brick wall—only recently breached—surrounding her garden.
Emily’s cat uncovers a strange object in that garden. It isn’t a flower, and Emily did not plant it there. Before danger can encircle Emily, she needs to follow hints she gathered during her quick perusal of the old letter, and she needs to untwist the connection between the present-day murder and a long-ago feud.
Flower arrangement suggestion: irises and lilacs in a heavy vase that’s almost too big for the windowsill.
The Diva Says Cheesecake by Krista Davis
Next, we head into the warmer temperatures in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. It’s the last day of spring. Bobbie Sue Bodoin, the Queen of Cheesecake, has hired Sophie Winston to organize a midsummer night buffet dinner overlooking the banks of the Potomac River. That goes well, but . . .
Before dawn the next morning, Bobbie Sue phones Sophie in a panic. Bobbie Sue’s husband Tate has not been seen since the previous evening. Bobbie Sue enlists Sophie to help find him. Despite the unearthly hour, Sophie calls her intrepid friend, Nina Reid Norwood, for backup. Bobbie Sue’s midsummer night dream becomes a nightmare. The women find Tate’s body.
Police arrive, and almost immediately, another of Sophie’s close friends, Bernie, becomes a suspect. It’s time for Sophie’s network of sleuthing pals to spring into action, notebooks and Sophie’s delicious treats in hand, or they might have to spring Bernie from prison.
Flower arrangement suggestion: roses and lavender in a deep pink ceramic vase.
Six Sweets Under by Sarah Fox
Now that we’ve experienced the heat of the first few days of summer, let’s continue to enjoy the new season but head north to Larch Haven, Vermont, in search of springlike flowers. Larch Haven, known as the Venice of north America, features canals, gondolas, walkways, and charming buildings.
Becca Ransom has left Hollywood and her acting career to return home and become a chocolatier at True Confections, her grandparents’ chocolate shop. Larch Haven, with its canals, gondolas, and charming shops, can’t help being a major tourist attraction, especially during the annual Gondola Races, and most of the village’s residents are happy about it. Most, but not all.
Archie Smith would like to stop the influx of tourists. While Becca tempers her chocolate, Archie’s temper flares. His attempts to spoil the village’s attractions include staging a public argument with Becca’s grandfather. And then, although many Larch Haven residents hold grudges against Archie, it’s Becca’s grandfather who is suspected when Archie is found murdered.
Becca and her family and friends need to find the real killer, and whether or not he or she had anything to do with the disappearance of a teen girl a decade ago. While the police chief, who is one of Becca’s childhood friends is happy that Becca is back in town, he’s not thrilled by her attempts to solve the murder. The addition of Becca’s California boyfriend to the mix creates new complications. Will she be able to float above it all, or will her life fall apart like poorly tempered chocolate?
Flower arrangement suggestion: hydrangeas in a deep blue, boat-shaped bowl.