At the start of Ripley's intrigue-filled gardening mystery, the eighth entry in this popular series after Death at the Spring Plant Sale (2003), Louise Eldridge, who hosts a TV gardening show, is shocked to see at a suburban party Peter Hoffman, a murderer she helped send to a state mental prison five years earlier. Accompanied by his wife and his high-powered lawyer, Hoffman intimates that he will see Louise later. Unnerved and sure Hoffman is out for revenge, Louise and her husband and two daughters retreat to a beach house for a week's respite. Upon their return, they learn Hoffman has disappeared. And just whose body is buried in the azalea bed? Louise soon finds herself at the mercy of an antagonistic detective who suspects her of murder. A midnight prowler, nefarious business deals, another murder and other disturbing events lead to a knockdown climax. Wedding plans, horticultural tidbits and the give-and-take of a cultivated family life nicely balance the mayhem.