Tag Archives: beach reading

“The Darling Dahlias Mysteries” by Susan Wittig Albert.

The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree
The first book in this series of nine novels

So far I’ve read two of these novels. I wasn’t at all certain that anything from the “cozy mystery” genre would work for me, but these books are great. Yes, chick lit. Yes, beach reading. Intelligent, lively beach reading!

To clarify, Darling is an imaginary small town in southern Alabama. The Darling Dahlias is a garden club with 12 members of varied ages. The series starts at the beginning of the Great Depression. Times are hard, and no one knows if improvement can be expected.

The Dahlias face a variety of (predictable) challenges and the occasional disruption of their quiet town by murder, embezzlement and organized crime. The local, two-person police force can’t always resolve these issues, but the Dahlias, thinking “outside the box” and using unconventional methods, have remarkable success. At the same time, they have fun and revel in mutual support. Darling is the (imaginary) small town we all wish we could live in!


Another Source of Books – The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

The local Great Books discussion group asked me recently to recommend a novel for summer reading. The group meets just once each summer. I can’t remember what suggestions I offered, and I suspect I will be away on vacation. The selected book is All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld.

A friend offered three titles, saying they were good novels she had read for a book group sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Really?! It never occurred to me that a horticultural society would sponsor a book group.

I tracked down one of the novels she listed, and will write about it soon. The other two were not in my local library – I’ll download them from Amazon for my upcoming beach vacation.

I looked at the PHS web site, and found no mention of a reading group. Maybe it is restricted to members? But they have so much going on! I can imagine myself having a great time with the Society after I retire.

The books I DIDN’T find yet are

  • The Last Garden by Helen Humphries
  • Flora by Gail Godwin

Have you read any good garden-oriented books recently?

“Back to the Bedroom” by Janet Evanovich – beach reading!

I’ve got a soft spot for Janet Evanovich. After all, I live in New Jersey. Trenton, where she locates her long series of Stephanie Plum novels, is not exactly my “territory”, but business (NJ government) and pleasure (minor league baseball) get me there a few times each year.  It’s just as bad as she says.

“Back to the Bedroom” is set in Washington DC. Not as much fun. But the plot is pure boy-meets-girl romance and has plenty of laughs. Our heroine in an intense professional cellist, her neighbor a low key goofball who got rich by winning the lottery. Heroine finds time for life outside of music, neighbor has more on the ball than first appears, and love blossoms. 

When I want to relax, what else do I need?

For anyone who wants to go outside the familiar Stephanie Plum numbered series, in addition to “Back to the Bedroom”, I highly recommend “Visions of Sugar Plums”, JE’s Christmas novel. Hilarious!