Fresh Meat: For Whom the Bluebell Tolls by Beverly Allen

For Whom the Bluebell Tolls by Beverly Allen is the second cozy in the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery Series featuring flower shop owner and amateur sleuth Audrey Bloom (available January 6th, 2015).

It was nearly a year ago, while reading the fun cozy mystery Bloom and Doom by Beverly Allen that we first met Audrey Bloom and her cousin and business partner, Olivia, co-owners of the Rose in Bloom flower shop in Ramble, Virginia. While teaching us about the meaning of flowers, Audrey also managed to solve a murder and meet a nice guy named Nick, who might possibly help her forget all about her former fiancé Brad, known as Brad the Cad. So you can see why I was anxious to hang out with Audrey and Liv and the other folks in Ramble once again.

At the very beginning of For Whom the Bluebell Tolls, Nick has just escorted Audrey home from a dinner date, and she is hoping for a solid goodnight kiss, but her house phone rings and Nick takes a step back, saying, “I should let you get that. Good night, Audrey.”

Too bad Audrey missed the call. There was no message so shrugged it off and flipped her air conditioner to high. She was feeding her cat Chester when the phone rang again:

I carried the receiver so I could stand in front of the roaring air conditioner, then lifted my ponytail so the chilled air hit the back of my neck. “Hello?”

“Audrey, where have you been? I’ve been calling all night.”

Letting my hair fall, I jerked into my full and upright position. “Hey, Brad.” Where I’d been was none of his business. Brad the Cad had blown his chance with me. I really needed to get caller ID.

Brad was the last person Audrey expected to hear from and she was really surprised by his proposal. (No, not that kind of proposal.) As a production assistant on the reality television show, Fix My Wedding, Brad wants Audrey to vie for the spot as the wedding florist. And he has managed to get the show to come to Ramble for the taping.

Irritated as she is by the thought of working with Brad, Audrey isn’t about to miss the chance for an opportunity to show off her talents on nation-wide television. Plus Audrey can’t believe her luck—she is an avid fan of the show and its two hosts, Gigi Welsh and Gary Davoll. But when the participants show up, it turns out that the hosts are not exactly the happy friendly folks they seem to be on television, and the bride-to-be is a first class bridezilla, whose only saving grace is that she is batty about bells. Audrey definitely knows the perfect floral combination to make a stunning bridal bouquet.

My brain started turning. I’d seen bell-shaped vases that might work. Maybe campanula, also known as bellflowers, or any other flower varieties that resembled bells. Or was that too literal?

The meanings were suitable. Bellflowers signified constancy, a great meaning for a marriage and the small white ones meant gratitude. Of course the bluebell also could signify sorrowful regret, but maybe I could steer her away from that color.

But finding the perfect flowers for a bridal bouquet is the least of Audrey’s problems because when Gary Davoll turns up dead, well, Brad becomes a prime suspect. How can Audrey let him get carted off to jail without trying to help? And the more Audrey investigates, the more clearly she sees that there seems to be more than one mystery to solve.

For Whom the Bluebell Tolls is a well written and highly entertaining cozy with a clever plot and more than a few twists and turns. Although as a reader I am usually far more interested in the mystery than I am the romance in any book, I must say I am more than a little curious as to whether or not the return of Brad will mean the end of Audrey’s barely developing relationship with Nick. Even at the last page I wasn’t sure, and I don’t think Audrey was either. This story is charming and humorous with an intriguing mystery to baffle you.

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Well Read, Then Dead, the first mystery in Terrie Farley Moran's beachside Read 'Em and Eat cozy series will soon be followed by Caught Read-Handed to be released by Berkley Prime Crime in July 2015. Her website is www.terriefarleymoran.com.

Read all of Terrie Farley Moran's posts for Criminal Element.

Comments

  1. Deborah Lacy

    Sounds like a great read Terrie!

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