Fatal Flowers by Jess Dylan is the third book in The Flower House Mysteries. Each book in the series can be read as a standalone. I wanted to give this series one more chance. I found the pacing to be varied throughout the book. Frequently the pacing was gentle as Sierra went about her days (working, time with friends, walking the dog, breakfast with parents, chatting with her grandmother, thinking about Calvin, spending time with Calvin). I have mixed feelings about Sierra. I wish she was less wishy washy. I am amazed her business is making any money with her business practices (her website is not updated, went to meeting without portfolio, and does not have updated pictures of flower arrangements readily available on phone are a couple of examples). Some of the other vendors thought she was naïve, but it is more the matter of Sierra not putting enough thought into matters (too many brain cells occupied with thoughts of Calvin). I like Deena, Sierra’s employee and friend. She is a good friend who stands by Sierra. There is humdrum dialogue and activities.
The murder of the wedding planner is straightforward. There are a handful of suspects that include the other vendors for the wedding. I wanted more questioning and investigating (less of the namby pamby approach). At a bakery, Sierra had the perfect opportunity to speak with the owner (the woman was in her office with no way to avoid Sierra). Instead of knocking on the office door, Sierra decides to sit in the café and wait for the woman to come out (so she can keep avoiding her). I wanted to yell at Sierra to get her act together. There are some incidents, but the emotions are lacking to make them feel scary or dangerous. Instead of fury (or anger), Sierra is more “oh my, what am I to do.” The killer is easy to identify long before the reveal. I felt that more time is spent on Sierra and Calvin’s romance than on the mystery. At times, it felt that I was reading a romance instead of a cozy mystery. I wanted the murder to have a tie in to flowers. I felt that this was a missed opportunity. I did like learning about edible flowers and seeing them used in the tasty treats served in the flower themed café. Fatal Flowers has all the elements of a cozy mystery: quaint small town, friendly residents, a charming shop (flower shop), a murder, and an amateur sleuth. I just feel the story (the whole series) needs to be livelier with a more complex crime. I read the book, but I did not get into the story. I just kept wondering if the story would ever end. While Fatal Flowers was not for me, I suggest you obtain a sample to judge for yourself. Fatal Flowers is pretty as a posy with a puffed-up wedding planner, creative cookies, a soothing spa, a missing automobile, an alarming motorcycle, a mystifying murder, a warm mother-of-the-bride, and an interfering florist.
The Avid Reader
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