Perfect for fans of Laura Childs, Ellery Adams, and Jenn McKinlay, Marty Wingate’s enchanting Potting Shed Mystery series heads to Scotland as Pru Parke plans her wedding . . . all while a vengeful murderer is poised to strike again.
After her romantic idyll with the debonair Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse culminates in a marriage proposal, Pru Parke sets about arranging their nuptials while diving into a short-term gig at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. At hand is the authentication of a journal purportedly penned by eighteenth-century botanist and explorer Archibald Menzies. Compared to the chaos of wedding planning, studying the journal is an agreeable task . . . that is, until a search for a missing cat leads to the discovery of a dead body: One of Pru’s colleagues has been conked on the head with a rock and dumped from a bridge into the Water of Leith.
Pru can’t help wondering if the murder has something to do with the Menzies diary. Is the killer covering up a forgery? Among the police’s many suspects are a fallen aristocrat turned furniture maker, Pru’s overly solicitous assistant, even Pru herself. Now, in the midst of sheer torture by the likes of flamboyant wedding dress designers and eccentric church organists, Pru must also uncover the work of a sly murderer—unless this bride wants to walk down the aisle in handcuffs.
by Marty Wingate
Pru Parke is no cook – readers of my Potting Shed mysteries know that by now, and you’ll find that nothing has changed in the third book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place. But that doesn’t stop her from enjoying other people’s cooking – chicken-and-leek pie, bubble-and-squeak. And soup – she’s a big fan of a bowl of soup. She also loves to sit down with a cup of tea and a biscuit and or slice of cake. These I must research and sample. Here are a few of my … Pru’s favorites.
Although they are scarce south of Hadrian’s Wall, Empire biscuits are a Scottish tradition. They are made up of two round butter cookies with a thin layer of jam between, and topped off with white icing (the kind that hardens) and a glacé cherry. Whether or not you eat the glacé cherry is your business, but the biscuit would look naked without it.
Millionaire shortbread – as if shortbread alone wasn’t good enough, someone thought this up. It has a layer of caramel and a layer of chocolate on top of the shortbread, and is cut into squares, triangles or bars. In England, it may carry the more mundane name of caramel shortbread, but in Scotland, it has elevated status. I have taken it upon myself to conduct a taste-test of millionaire shortbreads from around England, Scotland, and Ireland to learn where the best one is served. I don’t have the results yet – too many tea rooms left to try.
Dundee cake is a rich fruit cake set apart from others by its decoration: radiating circles of blanched almonds cover the top. It a round cake, one layer, and filled with sultanas and candied fruit. A bit of whisky, too. I’m not overly fond of those doorstop fruitcakes that make the rounds in the States, but Dundee cake is a thing apart.
An essential accompaniment to any tea treat is, naturally, the tea. I’ll just go put the kettle on.
About the Author
Marty Wingate is the author of two previous Potting Shed mysteries, The Garden Plot and The Red Book of Primrose House. Her new Birds of a Feather Mystery series debuted with The Rhyme of the Magpie. Wingate is a regular contributor to Country Gardens and other magazines. She also leads gardening tours throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and North America. More Potting Shed and Birds of a Feather mysteries are planned.
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