What on earth is Ollie growing at The Olive Branch Garden Center? A rose by any other name would not smell like a buried corpse in the garden. Could this be the missing body of Rose Phillips? The investigative team of Pone, Spaz, Shroom, Bean, and Cash struggle to find the final pieces of the puzzle before they cart Ollie off to the slammer.
It all started with a young prostitute killed in an alley. Will it end with another prostitute on the slab before they can stop the murderer?
Join the Olive Branch crew as they close in on the killer in this final episode of The Olive Branch Mystery, Death of a Garden Hoe.
**SPOILERS!! This is the final installment of a six-part series!!**
The long-awaited conclusion to the Olive Branch Mystery series certainly doesn’t disappoint and the Olive Branch kids are in fine form and ready to catch a killer! As expected, the novella opens where the fifth installment left off and ends with a well-deserved happy resolution. Of course, that happy ending doesn’t actually get to occur until a lot more drama ensues 🙂
Here’s the skinny: following the debacle that was the beauty/garden pageant, Vi is lying in the hospital fighting for her life after being poisoned. Her good friend (yes, they are just friends!) Cash is by her side as she explains to the best of her ability exactly who it was that poisoned her water and landed her in the hospital. At roughly the same time, Spaz is having the boojeebies scared out of her in the hospital bathroom by an unknown creeper who clearly explains it should be Spaz fighting for her life and not Vi. Additionally, both the kids and the cops are still looking for the missing Rose Phillips or, her body.
As with every other installment in the series, Pone, Spaz, Shroom, Bean and Cash refuse to give up on their quest to solve the mystery of the dead girls. With Vi’s revelation about her poisoner, the kids are bound and determined to see justice done for their friend. On occasion, the kids even have the backing of the police though probably not so much when they are snooping about, breaking and entering and digging up a dead body J Surprisingly, the kids do have the support and help of Ollie and the good doctor, both of whom turn out to be pretty good at small-time crime and driving really fast. By the time everybody, including the cops and the criminals are all gathered in one place, the madness ensues, the culprits are revealed and arrested and everyone gets out without a bullet wound this time 🙂
The Bottom Line: I really have enjoyed this series and no matter if you can see who did it in the first installment or not until the last, you will enjoy this read. Roses is filled with humor, drama, a lot of teenage angst, some pretty cool plans and capers and a happy ending that is both heart-warming and touching. Over the course of the series, each of the Olive Branch kids grows and matures in his or her own way yet still remains true to their endearing personalities. No matter how many of Gale Borger’s books I read, I will never get tired of the blend of humor, drama, fully-developed characters, excellent dialogue and, good clean fun.
Fred Miller is over the top in love with Mark Malone, and plans to have a Christmas wedding. Arriving in a one-horse open sleigh is her dream, but an old Clydesdale named “Bud” isn’t quite ready for prime time. Meanwhile, a stalker has her eye on Fred’s fiancé, and more than coffee is brewing at Mark’s coffee shop, Cool Bean. While Mark is at a new shop opening in Eau Claire, Fred comes down with a nasty flu bug she can’t seem to shake. Sisters Buzz and Mag become more concerned with Fred’s odd illness, Al is busy un-flubbing mysterious wedding snafus, and the new employee at Cool Bean is steaming the lattes, (as well as the customers) from behind the counter. When disaster strikes and Fred’s life is on the line, will the Miller sisters arrive in time to save her, or will Fred cock up her toes before she can even say “I do?” Join Buzz, Fred, Mag, and Al in another madcap romp through mystery and mayhem in the Miller Sister’s second Christmas short story, Totally Sleighed.
Fred Miller is famous for a couple of things, her loving and caring nature, especially toward animals and her extreme clumsiness. Seriously, if Fred Miller is awake, she is tripping over, walking into or bumping into something. On the far happier side of Fred Miller’s life is her impending marriage to Cool Bean owner, Mark Malone. All Fred has to do is fix each detail about her wedding that keeps falling apart and shake the nasty flu that has stumbling around even more than usual. It’s time to call in the troops 🙂
Buzz and Mag Miller are seriously concerned about Fred. Sure, she’s clumsy but this clumsy is more than just a nasty flu making her groggy and unstable. Fred is all kinds of messed up and after a half-hearted argument from the bride-to-be, Buzz and Mag get her checked into the hospital for some further testing. But Buzz and Mag aren’t all the troops, now are they? Surprisingly, the queen bitch of the Miller sister troops, Alexandra has stepped up to the plate and has started fixing all of the problems cropping up with Fred and Mark’s wedding. Alex is quite the fixer but her turn of sisterly affection and helpfulness is a bit disconcerting. Oh, and why is she hanging out at Buzz’s house and being friendly to the dogs?? What are you up to Gale Borger??
As the sister’s begin to put some pieces together, the big bad is working away in the background to completely derail (read: put to a horrible end!) Fred and Mark’s wedding so that she can, wait for it, step in and have her beloved Mark Malone all to herself. As things come to a head, in a very public way, the big bad goes completely off the deep end, there’s a stunning incident with a twitchy Clydesdale, Mary Cromwell pulls a Smith and Wesson 500 out of her purse (that woman has one Hell of a collection!) and, the Miller sisters are in the thick of all of it all.
The Bottom Line: I won’t ever get enough of this series and truly wish there were a few more Miller sisters. Only Gale Borger can pull together something so completely ridiculous and outlandish and make it totally believable and real. No matter how long the book (and this one is a novella!), I always laugh out loud at least once, shake my head in disbelief and feel completely satisfied by the end of the read. This is a series that I absolutely adore and highly recommend it to all NA+ readers.