Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Book Review: Wreathing Havoc by Julia Henry (Garden Squad Mystery #4)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Characters, nice mystery
Cons: Mystery has a bit of a slow start, but we are gathering important information
The Bottom Line:
Death in theater
Grows into great mystery
Thanksgiving setting

The Drama of Theater

Just like in real life, Thanksgiving is forgotten in many cozy mysteries.  We get a lot of cozies set at Christmas, and a some set at Halloween, but not as many set around November’s holiday.  Wreathing Havoc is an exception to the rule since it opens in the week leading up to Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving week has opened on a somber note since it starts with the funeral for Leon Tompkin, the owner of the local theater.  Just about everyone in Goosebush, Massachusetts, knew and loved Leon, so Lilly Jayne and the rest of the Garden Squad are hardly alone in attending his funeral.  However, Lilly alone is aware that the chief of police thinks Leon’s death might be from something other than natural causes.

Leon’s death has brought some of the people who used to work for the theater company back to town, but it isn’t all warm nostalgia.  When one of the out of towners is murdered, Lilly begins to wonder if Leon’s death really was murder as well.  If so, are the two deaths connected?

Now, I do have a backpedal a little bit.  Since much of the book takes place after Thanksgiving, the beginnings of Christmas creep into the story.  But that makes sense.  After all, I break out the Christmas music myself the day after Thanksgiving (if I haven’t already started it a little by mid-November).  Still, this isn’t a heavy Christmas book, and we definitely get the sense of Thanksgiving and late fall.

Like any good garden, this book takes a little while to start to grow.  We are getting background during this time, like a seed growing underground.  It’s obvious something is happening, but we can’t quite see where it is going.  However, once the out of towner is murdered, the plot does pick up, and we can see how the early parts of the book were the roots for the story.  I loved how things came together at the end.

These books are called the Garden Squad Mysteries for a reason.  While Lilly might be the main character, the rest of the group of friends are prominent characters.  I love spending time with them, and this book was no exception.  I wonder if the squad might be getting a new member, too.  There’s definitely a new character here I wouldn’t mind seeing again.  We meet plenty of other new characters here, naturally, so we have a group of suspects.  I liked them, which made it hard to pick out the killer.

Late fall isn’t the biggest gardening season, but the theme is still worked into the book in a few creative ways, and there are some appropriate gardening tips at the end of the book.

Wreathing Havoc builds into another strong entry for the Garden Squad.  This is an entry fans will be thankful for.

Enjoy the rest of the Garden Squad Mysteries.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

Giveaway: I have a physical copy of this book to giveaway.  Since it is a physical copy, US entries only, please.  To enter, please leave a comment with your email address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I'll pick a winner on 10/5, so please enter before midnight on 10/5.


  1. Oh I love, love the Garden Squad series!!! I adore Lilly Jane and all her friends, it's always a very happy reading for me! I do not have this one. Thanks & have a great day.. nani_geplcs@yahoo.com

  2. I love this series and can’t wait to read the new book. Thanks for the chance! cking78503(at)aol(dot)com

  3. Thanks for the article and the giveaway. This sounds really good. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

  4. I have several of this series on my TBR.Reading about this latest book will move them to the top. Thanks for the chance.candykennedy555@gmail.com

  5. I love cozy mysteries! I haven't read any by this author.

    farmermomwife at gmail dot com

  6. I love that title! And it's nice to have a Thanksgiving book even though there are the beginnings of Christmas as well. Definitely need to give this series a try.

  7. This new book in the series sounds really good. Thanks for the article and the giveaway. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com


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