Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.

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» Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Someone's Stalking in the Garden
Laura Thyme's life has taken a tumble. The story opens with her leaving her home with its well-tended, beloved garden because her husband of many years has asked for a divorce; a policeman, he has fallen for a 23-year-old sylph, a coworker (which particularly embitters Laura as she was once a police officer, but he made her quit when they married). She flees to confide in a friend, Sam, who works with a man named Danny, who is afflicted with a hideous skin rash despite medication and his wife's care. Just as Laura arrives, Danny has invited university botany professor Rosemary Boxer and her boss (and ex) Stephen to his estate to discuss a donation and also to ask Rosemary to check out his trees, which are diseased. In the middle of her examination, Stephen gets a phone call and leaves Rosemary at the estate; when Rosemary's secretary shows up next morning she not only brings the testing equipment Rosemary requested, but a letter signed by Stephen making her "redundant" (the charming British term for being laid off). When Sam is killed in a car accident, Rosemary and Laura become friends—and soon discover all is not well on Danny's estate. For one thing, what's with the creepy elderly housekeeper who keeps trudging off into the yard with a big knife, not to mention the doctor making sheep's eyes at Danny's wife?

And once the mystery is concluded, what will get-your-hands-dirty gardening lover Laura and employment-less university lecturer Rosemary do? Form a garden restoration firm, of course, called Rosemary and Thyme. But like Jessica Fletcher, the ladies seem to find dead bodies grow where Rosemary goes (along with Laura, of course). :-)

If you are looking for complex British mysteries with much soul-searching or brooding angst or gritty police work, look elsewhere: try Foyle's War or Inspector Lynley or Waking the Dead. You can usually pinpoint the bad guy in a Rosemary and Thyme story before the halfway mark; the fun is watching Pam Ferris as Laura Thyme and The Good Life/Solo alumni Felicity Kendal as Rosemary Boxer play a British version of Trixie Belden and Honey Wheeler in their late 50s, mulling over clues as they replant gardens and play sleuth. (Since Rosemary is a former instructor we might even stretch it to call her a "schoolgirl shamus" <g>.) Besides the ladies' garden work, the murder usually has some kind of garden theme, not to mention that Rosemary and Thyme actually have plants in both their names (Boxer=Boxwood and Laura=Laurel), so plants (both botanical and mysterious) abound. If you're a "cozy" mystery book fan, you'll probably enjoy branching out to Rosemary and Thyme, available through Netflix, Amazon, or your friendly Borders brick-and-mortar store.

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