MYSTERY

Death in a Desert Garden

Artemesia Publishing. Oct. 2021. 214p. ISBN 9781951122225. pap. $15.95. M
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DEBUTEberhardt’s cozy debut features Bea Rivers, who lives a modest life as a divorcée, raising her two kids, dating, and working at Shandley Gardens in Tucson, AZ. Her manager has organized a retreat inside Shandley Gardens for the staff and the board. Just as Bea is arriving at the retreat, the board member and garden founder Liz Shandley is found injured under a eucalyptus tree in the garden. Near the tree there’s a strange, crudely tiled portrait of Liz. When Liz dies after being taken to the hospital, authorities determine that she was murdered. Who would want to murder the philanthropist, and why? Everyone is a suspect, but Bea’s alibi is airtight, and it turns out that her old school friend Marcia is the investigating officer. Other staff and board members start inviting Bea over and testing out their theories on her, and everyone wants to know what she thinks. But are the staff and the board who they say they are? Can Bea help Marcia find and charge the correct person with the crime?
VERDICT For fans of cozy mysteries in Southwestern settings.
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