Monday, July 19, 2021

Book Review: Death in Bloom by Jess Dylan

Death in Bloom (A Flower House Mystery #1)Death in Bloom (Flower House Mystery #1). Jess Dylan. St. Martin's Press (2021). 320 pages. Genre: Cozy Mystery.

First Lines: "I'm in the best shape of my life. I'm a Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter, blissfully married to me true love, an Italian model..."

Summary:  Sierra Ravenswood has returned to her hometown of Aerieville, Tennessee.  She has been working at the Flower House, the local flower shop, where she is definitely still learning the art of flower arranging.  So, when her boss puts her in charge of the next bouquet-arranging workshop, she is a bit intimidated.  However, she has no choice but to proceed as her boss leaves town.  Several people show up for the class and all is going well until an argument breaks out near the snack table.  As Sierra approaches the snack table one of the men involved in the argument collapses.  Before the paramedics arrive, he has expired.  It is soon discovered that the man was poisoned.  If that isn't bad enough, Sierra's boss left town suddenly and no one seems to know where he is.

My thoughts:  It was pretty hard to resist that gorgeous cover!  Fortunately, the book proved to be equally well done.  

I liked Sierra right away.  She is trying to start over after struggling to make her dream of becoming a singer a reality.  She is a big believer in positive affirmation and tries to practice it daily.  Her boss, Felix, the owner of The Flower House, has more confidence in her than she has in herself.  He leaves town and trusts her to do what she thinks is best for the shop.  Sierra's family lives in town as well and brought an interesting dynamic to the story.  The family consists of her mom, dad and brother.  Her parents own an athletic club, which Sierra has never been interested in.  I enjoyed the closeness that she shared with her family and the concern they all showed for her.  Some of my favorite scenes were when they all had dinner together. 

The supporting characters were strong as well.  Deena is a friend from high school that is back in town temporarily.  She and Sierra rekindle their friendship.  Deena becomes Sierra's partner in trying to solve the mystery.  Calvin is someone who shows up unexpectedly stating that Felix had agreed to rent the apartment above the shop to him.  We are not quite sure what to think of him through most of the story.

The killer has to be someone who was at the workshop.  At first Sierra can't believe that any of them could be capable of killing someone.  But, as the story progresses, she begins to have her doubts and soon finds herself suspecting everyone.  The sheriff has plenty to investigate as threats and break-ins continue to happen and seem to be connected to the murder.  The story was well-paced and kept me turning the pages.  The secondary mystery, of where Felix has gone, is not solved in this book.  Hopefully we will learn more in the next installment.

I enjoyed the flower shop setting.  It was unique and I actually learned a little about flower arranging and what flowers go well together.  

The author found the right balance of mystery and small town life.  I enjoyed it all and am looking forward to catching up with these characters in the next book.