Bloom and Doom by Beverly Allen is the debut of the Bridal Bouquet Shop mystery series, featuring Audrey Bloom, whose shop's floral tools will be tied to a murder (available April 1, 2014).
I am always excited to learn that a new cozy mystery series is about to be launched. At Malice Domestic last year, I ran into a friendly, likeable women named Barbara Early who told me that, writing as Beverly Allen, she is the author of the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery series. When she started talking about the Victorian meaning of the names of flowers, well, I knew she was writing a series I would love to read. So I was thrilled to be offered the
opportunity to get a sneak peek at the first novel of the series, Bloom and Doom.
I am delighted to report that I wasn’t disappointed in the least. Not only is Bloom and Doom a highly entertaining, fun and snappy mystery, but the very first sentence told me I’d learn a lot about flowers reading this book. And who doesn’t love flowers?
Let’s listen to Audrey Bloom co-owner of the Rose in Bloom flower shop talking to a newspaper reporter. “White roses symbolize innocence.” When the reporter presses for more information about flowers, Audrey gives him some. After all, won’t the publicity be wonderful for the shop?
Here is Audrey:
“The lavender rose is the symbol of love at first sight.” Oh great. I resisted the urge to wince at my own words. Love at first sight was a romantic concept I’d have to reconsider after Brad the Cad.
A deep purple iris went in next as an accent, providing just the right amount of contrast. “Iris can mean a few different things. Generally, it means a message. The purple iris in particular can stand for wisdom, an important ingredient in a marriage.” One that might have helped me see through Brad.
Now did you notice that, right there, how Audrey ties the meaning of flowers to life itself? That is exactly what I was hoping for. This scene is from the very beginning of the book but I can tell you that scattered throughout the story are sprinkles of floral meanings that tie neatly into events as they happen, be they calamitous or romantic.
Audrey Bloom teaches us that a “blue rose can mean many things—impossible or unattainable, since it doesn’t occur in nature and must be dyed.” She also mentions that the blue rose is the symbol of mystery. And Audrey herself has turned out to be just the sleuth to solve whatever mystery comes along.
Of course there is a mystery—a murder that comes too close to home. When a childhood friend is accused of murder and the weapon appears to be a knife from the supply of tools at the Rose in Bloom, well, Audrey has no choice, does she? Intent upon proving that the police have it all wrong, Audrey and her cousin and business partner, Olivia, plunge into the murder investigation, all the while continuing to make beautiful and symbolic bouquets and floral arrangements for funerals and weddings.
Bloom and Doom has everything to keep you engaged, a compelling murder to be solved, great humor, warm friendship and the language of flowers. I cannot wait for more books of this series, as I already miss hanging around the flower shop watching beautiful creations being made while I smile at the quirkiness of the employees and patrons.
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Twice short-listed for Best American Mystery Stories, Terrie Farley Moran’s cozy mystery novel, Well Read, Then Dead will be released by Berkley Prime Crime in August, 2014. She blogs amid the grand banter of the Women of Mystery.