Sunday, August 7, 2016

Review: The Bluebonnet Betrayal

The Bluebonnet Betrayal
By Marty Wingate
Potting Shed Mystery #5
Random House/Alibi, 2016


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.

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My thoughts

The Bluebonnet Betrayal by Marty Wingate reminds me of why I read cozy mysteries. It’s not a fast-paced, tension-filled story that could keep me awake at night, just a good comfortable read with characters that I like to spend time with. The writing is excellent, characters somewhat quirky, and the mystery is very well plotted. Rarely do I try to solve the murder, but rather sit back and enjoy the read – and that’s exactly what I did here.

Fifty-something Pru is married for the first time to Christopher, a former DCI, and they are deeply in love. Their relationship rings true and I adore this couple! An English transplant from Texas, you can tell that Pru feels right at home in her new country, and it was fun to experience English culture through her eyes. Although I don’t have a passion for gardening like Pru, I do have a passion for beautiful flowers and found that aspect of this series fun.

I have been a fan of British drama for over 50 years, but had never heard of this story’s backdrop, the Chelsea Garden Show – apparently famous internationally and quite prestigious. It’s great when a book pushes me to explore further, and I was fascinated by pictures I found online (see collage). This show’s preparation is amazing and Marty did a great job showcasing all that through Pru’s involvement – bringing a little of the Texas hill country to England.

The Bluebonnet Betrayal is the first book in the Potting Shed series that I’ve read and it can stand alone, although I would recommend reading the series in order for a better sense of character development. I definitely want to read the previous books and hope there are many more to come.



Marty Wingate is a Seattle-based writer and speaker about gardens and travel. She is the author of the Potting Shed mysteries from Random House/Alibi, about Pru Parke, middle-aged American gardener who moves to England and digs up more than weeds.

The first two in the series are The Garden Plot and The Red Book of Primrose House, followed by the third in late summer 2015. Her new cozy mystery series, Birds of a Feather, begins in June 2015 with The Rhyme of the Magpie.

You can hear Marty on the podcast A Dry Rain, free from iTunes and always available at She leads garden tours to European and North American destinations.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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