Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Natural Thorn Killer: A Rose City Mystery

Natural Thorn Killer by Kate Dyer-Seeley is the first installment in A Rose City Mystery series.  Britta Johnston has been putting her dreams on hold (having her own floral shop) and working two jobs so her husband, Chad can work on his novel (he needs to concentrate on it fully). When Britta discovers that Chad is having an affair, she decides it is time for a change.  Britta packs up her belongings and heads back home to Portland, Oregon where her Aunt Elin lives and has her floral boutique and wine bar combination, Blooma.   Aunt Elin raised Britta and is happy to have her return.  The timing is perfect since Elin is getting ready for the grand opening of her cottage that will feature classes/workshops on floral design (flower jewelry for example).  Britta is soon immersed in running Blooma, but not everything is rosy.  Someone is leaving dead roses at the shop and a seedy real estate developer is intent on buying up Riverplace Village (where BLooma and other charming shops are located).  Britta is opening up Blooma one morning and notices the doors to the cottage are open.  She goes inside and finds Frank Jaffe, the developer, on the floor with Elin’s floral shears sticking out of his chest and roses scattered on the floor.  Detective Pete Fletcher hones in on Elin as the killer which makes Britta determined to dig up the guilty party.

In Natural Thorn Killer I was drawn right away into the story.  I liked the author’s conversational writing style.  The book had a nice steady pace and good flow.  The two main characters of Britta and Elin are engaging and relatable.  I liked their creative energy and ideas.  I appreciated that the author gave the characters a Swedish background and had Swedish words/phrases sprinkled throughout the story.  Two side characters that added to the story were Nora who owns Demitasse (spunky) and Officer Tomo Iwamoto (great personality and I wish his parents restaurant was real--yum).  I enjoyed the descriptions of the Riverplace Village where Blooma was located.  It sounds just charming and has a nice small-town feel (even though it is in Portland).  The author included some interesting facts about Portland. I did feel that it was too soon for a romance for Britta since she just left her cheating husband.  I really hope that there will not be a love triangle (there are hints of it).  The author included wonderful descriptions of the flowers and arrangements created at Blooma along with interesting facts about the flowers.  She really brought them alive with her words. The one downfall of the book was the mystery.  There were a limited number of suspects and little investigation (just some questioning). There was a lack of action and the reveal was disappointing.  I wish the author had found a different way to wrap up the book (it was more supposition that fact).  The why part of the murder was slightly farfetched.  At the end there are tips for increasing the longevity of a bouquet of flowers, recipe for Swedish pancakes, and how to pair flowers with wine (never thought of that before).  I give Natural Thorn Killer 4 out of 5 stars.  If the mystery had been more compelling, I would have been a very happy reader.  The next book in A Rose City Mystery series is Violet Tendencies (out November 27). 

Thank you for visiting today.  Next time I will be featuring Murder with a Cherry On Top by Cynthia Baxter.  I am off to do some housework.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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