cover image Pushing Up Daisies: A Dirty Business Mystery

Pushing Up Daisies: A Dirty Business Mystery

Rosemary Harris, . . St. Martin?s Minotaur/Dunne, $23.95 (291pp) ISBN 978-0-312-36967-5

in Harris’s cozy debut, budding landscaper Paula Holliday turns sleuth after the former documentary filmmaker, a New York City transplant to the suburbs, unearths a box containing “a small dead body” in the neglected, overgrown garden of the Springfield, Conn., house of the recently deceased Peacock sisters, Dorothy and Renata. Sgt. Michael O’Malley, who “looked like he knew his way to the donut shop,” leads the crime investigation, but Paula does her share of detecting, supported by such friends as Lucy Cavanaugh, a fellow filmmaker, and Wanda “Babe” Chinnery, the proprietor of the local diner where all and sundry come to gossip. Harris does a good job developing her characters, their friendships and romances, though the mystery itself borders on the formulaic. Still, the action builds to a satisfying denouement and gardeners will appreciate the author’s insider knowledge. (Feb.)