Book Review: Arsenic in the Azaleas by Dale Mayer


Arsenic in the Azaleas (Lovely Lethal Gardens #1) by Dale Mayer
My rating: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ (3 stars)
Publisher: Valley Publishing Ltd

This was a quirky cozy with a divorcee amateur sleuth, who finds several dead bodies under and around the home her grandmother has given her. Doreen has quite the menagerie made up of her dog Mugs, parrot Thaddeus and Goliath the cat who keep her company and add a bit of humour to the story.



I thought the animals saved the story, as Doreen was sometimes hard to take. Even with allowances made for her learning how to be a functioning member of the world after being a trophy wife, her helplessness was extreme. She's thirty-five and didn't know how to use a coffeemaker. Unless she was married off at fourteen, which it doesn't seem was the case, it didn't ring true. Worse, she never used Google to look up simple things she didn't know. New in town and need to find takeaway because you don't or can't cook? Anyone else would whip out their phone & Google that. Not Doreen. She calls her Nan who tells her about the local Chinese restaurant & where to find the paper menu. Throughout the entire story and into the second book (yes, I have it already), the gas stove in the kitchen is a mystery & she can't figure out why the burner doesn't light when she turns it on. Okay, so she doesn't know about pilot lights but she still has yet to look it up! More than her overly snippy attitude, her not using her phone or any internet for practical living solutions (she used it to look up information relating to the identified deceased) irked me and made it difficult to buy her as her age or a contemporary character at all. Kelowna isn't Yellowknife remote, so I didn't understand why she wouldn't go to her phone. Google works outside of Vancouver for general information!

I'll certainly read the next as I have to believe that Doreen gets better as she grows in ability and confidence. I like that she's interested in beginning her own gardening business. I also liked Doreen's relationship with her Nan. The hint at romance with Mack is still flat for me but I don't think he's going anywhere so I can still be sold. I do hope the next book has swifter momentum with the actual mystery now that all the set up is done. And major points for gorgeous cover art. It's what caught my eye on Amazon.


Summary: After her ex-husband leaves her high and dry, former socialite Doreen Montgomery's chance at a new life comes in the form of her grandmother, Nan's, dilapidated old house in picturesque Kelowna … and the added job of caring for the animals Nan couldn’t take into assisted living with her: Thaddeus, the loquacious African gray parrot with a ripe vocabulary, and his buddy, Goliath, a monster-size cat with an equally monstrous attitude.
It’s the new start Doreen and her beloved basset hound, Mugs, desperately need. But, just as things start to look up for Doreen, Goliath the cat and Mugs the dog find a human finger in Nan’s overrun garden.

And not just a finger. Once the police start digging, the rest of the body turns up and turns out to be connected to an old unsolved crime.

With her grandmother as the prime suspect, Doreen soon finds herself stumbling over clues and getting on Corporal Mack Moreau’s last nerve, as she does her best to prove her beloved Nan innocent of murder.



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