In this second Enchanted Garden mystery, we learn more about Ellie Allbright, the horticulturalist/aromatherapist and her business Scents & Nonsense, which she opened after her bitter divorce.
Ellie is excited about being interviewed for Conscience Magazine about her tiny house. She's hoping that the writer, former Poppyville boy Blake Sontag will put in a few good words about her shop and garden as well.
When her brother Colby and his new girlfriend Larken turn up for a visit, she arranges to meet them at their hotel for dinner. Coincidentally, an acquaintance of Ellie's, Cynthia Beck is dining there, and she invites the three of them to join her and her companion, who happens to be Blake Sontag.
Sontag is inexplicably rude to all of them, and provokes Larken to leave in the middle of the meal, with Colby not far behind.
The next morning, the housekeeper finds Sontag in his room, dead, apparently poisoned by some herbal tea. When it turns out that Larken was the last to see him -- and that she's an herbalist-- she immediately becomes the prime suspect.
Ellie is certain that Larken is innocent, and determined to prove it. Her investigation plunges her, and those close to her, into a confusing mess of family disagreements, professional betrayals, and downright nastiness.
Despite all the unpleasantness, this is still a story of healing and forgiveness, and is an enjoyable read.
I look forward to spending more time with Ellie and her family in the third book in the series, which the author is currently writing.
The publisher has generously offered a copy of Nightshade for Warning to one of my readers. Please comment below before 12:01 a.m. on Monday, May 15th. Entries from the US only, please.
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TC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book.