Thursday, August 20, 2020

Book Review: Digging Up the Remains by Julia Henry (Garden Squad Mysteries #3)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Wonderful characters, solid mystery
Cons: Pacing at the beginning
The Bottom Line:
Body in the leaves
Sets of plot filled with secrets
And great characters

Which Story Got a Reporter Killed?

It’s hard to believe that it is time to start thinking about fall, but I know the schools around me are starting back in the next week or two.  And next week sees the release of Digging Up the Remains, the third Garden Squad Mystery, which has a Halloween theme.

Somehow, the fall festival that Goosebush, Massachusetts, has planned this October has morphed into two weekends.  While most of the events will take place on Halloween weekend, including a haunted house in front of Lilly Jayne’s house, things are kicking off a week early with a 10K.  Lilly and her friends Delia and Roddy are doing a last check on the course the morning of the race when they find reporter Tyler Crane half hidden under a pile of leaves.

Tyler hadn’t been in town long, but he had upset plenty of people.  He was digging for dirt on everyone in town, and his methods were shady at best.  He’d been planning to tease several stories over the course of that Saturday.  Was one of them the motive for his murder?

Even though I don’t have much of a green thumb, I have fallen in love with this gardening themed series.  I can dream about being able to grow plants like Lilly and her friends can.  Of course, it helps that the core cast are all fantastic.  Yes, there are quite a few main characters, but they are all distinct, so it is easy to remember who they are.  That’s a good thing since we also get suspects introduced here that could have committed the murder, so there are plenty of characters in the book.  These suspects are all as strong as the series regulars.

The plot took a little bit of time to get going as we reentered Goosebush and caught up with everything Lilly is involved in.  She may be a woman of a certain age, but she is extremely busy.  While this is going on, we are also meeting Tyler and the suspects, so once his body is found, we jump right in trying to figure out who did it and why.  From here on out, the plot moves quickly, revealing some good motives before the climax resolves everything.

Along the way, we also get some movement in ongoing storylines for the series.  I suspect that some seeds for future books have been planted here as well.  While you could jump in here, you’ll find this is a much richer experience by reading the series in order.

As I write this in the middle of triple degree heat, it’s hard to imagine that cooler days are just around the corner, but that’s what the calendar says.  If you are ready to start getting in the fall mood, pick up Digging Up the Remains today.

Enjoy seeing these characters grow with the rest of the Garden Squad Mysteries.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

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