Bestselling author Marty Wingate “plants clever clues with a dash of romantic spice,” raves Mary Daheim. Now Wingate’s inimitable gardening heroine, Pru Parke, is importing a precious bloom from Texas—and she won’t let a vicious murder stop her.
Pru’s life in England is coming full circle. A Texas transplant, she’s married to the love of her life, thriving in the plum gardening position she shares with her long-lost brother, and prepping a Chelsea Flower Show exhibit featuring the beloved bluebonnets of the Texas hill country. Technically, Twyla Woodford, the president of a gardening club in the Lone Star State, is in charge of the London event, but Pru seems to be the one getting her hands dirty. When they finally do meet, Pru senses a kindred spirit—until Twyla turns up dead.
Although Twyla’s body was half buried under a wall in their display, Pru remains determined to mount a spectacular show. Twyla would have insisted. So Pru recruits her husband, former Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse, to go undercover and do a bit of unofficial digging into Twyla’s final hours. If Pru has anything to say about it, this killer is going to learn the hard way not to mess with Texas.
1) Do you write on a schedule or whenever inspiration strikes?
I go to my “office” (our local public library) and work for 2-3 hours almost every day. This is usually in the morning, and then I can spend some time in the afternoon at home revising, rewriting. Doesn’t this sound organized? In reality, I make it to the library about five days out of seven, but I write words, phrases or plot reminders (“Where is the knife?” “Does she already know this clue on page 97?”) whenever it strikes me – and on whatever is at hand. This includes Notes on my iPhone, receipts stuck in my bag, or scraps of paper torn off something else.
2) Where is your favorite place to write?
See above! There’s something calming about the library – I can focus no matter what’s going on around me. (Gone are the days when libraries were quiet.) I stay off Facebook when I’m in the library – my one rule, and I keep it! Now, having said that, I’ve also done some fine writing in hotel rooms and at coffee shops. But not on airplanes – I’m not one of those writers. (I heard Alexander McCall Smith say he can write 1,000 while on a flight. I feel sure that he’s doing this in first class and I … am not.)
3) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I walk (during which time I think about writing) and cook (during which time I try not to think about writing, because I’m afraid I’ll mess up the measurements). I also enjoy gardening, of course – and movies.
4) If you could have dinner with one of your characters, who would you choose, why and what would you be having for dinner?
This is an almost impossible choice to make – I really like my characters! I think it would be fun to have dinner with Chiv (from The Bluebonnet Betrayal), because he’s built many a garden for the Chelsea Flower Show and would have great stories to tell on people (horticultural gossip). Chicken marengo would be on the menu, because in February, I cooked it for a dinner party we had that included a famous British garden designer (not Roddy MacWeeks, designer in the book) . And I would be the chef – unlike my protagonist, Pru Parke, I can cook.
5) What are you currently working on?
I’ve just finished up the third book in my Birds of a Feather mysteries, set in Suffolk, England with Julia Lanchester as my protagonist. It’s titled Every Trick in the Rook. Rooks are corvids, related to crows and magpies, and quite smart. This story involves the murder of someone Julia had been close to in the past and the subsequent help she receives in solving the case provided by … you guessed it, a rook.
About the Author
Marty Wingate is a Seattle-based writer and speaker who shares her love of Britain in her two mystery series. The Potting Shed books feature Pru Parke, a middle-aged American gardener transplanted from Texas to England, and Birds of a Feather follows Julia Lanchester, bird lover, who runs a tourist office in a Suffolk village. Marty writes garden articles for magazines including Country Gardens and theAmerican Gardener. She is a member of the Royal Horticultural Society, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Crime Writers Association. She leads garden tours to England, Scotland and Ireland, spending free moments deep in research for her books. Or in pubs.