The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree

The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree

Book - 2010
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Penguin Putnam
The country may be struggling through the Great Depression, but the good ladies of Darling, Alabama, are determined to keep their chins up and their town beautiful. Their garden club, the Darling Dahlias, has just inherited a new clubhouse and garden, complete with two beautiful cucumber trees in full bloom.

But life in Darling is not all garden parties and rosemary lemonade.

When local blond bombshell Bunny Scott is found in a suspicious car wreck, the Dahlias decide to dig into the town's buried secrets, and club members Lizzy, Ophelia, and Verna soon find leads sprouting up faster than weeds. The town is all abuzz with news of an escaped convict from the prison farm, rumors of trouble at the bank, and tales of a ghost heard digging around the cucumber tree. If anyone can get to the root of these mysteries, it's the Darling Dahlias.



Baker & Taylor
The Depression-era women of a Darling, Alabama garden club get to the bottom of a mysterious buried treasure and a young woman's murder in this new tale from the author of the China Bayles mystery series.

Baker
& Taylor

The Depression-era women of a Darling, Alabama, garden club get to the bottom of a mysterious buried treasure and a young woman's murder.

Publisher: New York : Berkley Prime Crime, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780425234457
0425234452
Branch Call Number: M ALBERT
Characteristics: 290 p. ; 22 cm

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r
reeread
Apr 01, 2016

I enjoyed the many historical references in relation to everyday life in a small town in the South after the Crash as the effects of the Great Depression were being felt.
There were a lot of characters and I was confused at times. There is no one main character as the amateur detective - it's more of a team effort. Am interested to see how the characters and series develop.

l
LauraSteinert
Oct 31, 2015

The interjections of "This is historically accurate!" are very jarring and distract from the story. Otherwise a light read with some pleasent characters.

j
JWW_O
Jun 20, 2015

Interesting story that takes place in 1930's and gives the reader an idea how things were then. Some women were very independent.

s
SandyBlank
Sep 12, 2014

I like her other series set in Pecan, Texas better, but this has grown on me a little. The ladies are nice, but it seems to lack the depth of character that I was expecting from previous books by this author. It's still good and I might try a couple more before I make a final decision to stop reading the series. Guess I'm lukewarm on this book.

g
Giggle9450
Jan 12, 2014

I read this author's other series and finally decided to read this book.

Yes, there are a lot of characters: there is a character guide at the beginning of the book.

Yes, she gives lengthy character discriptions, it verges on accessible literature. I enjoyed the characterization very much.

Set in a small town, in the rural South, during the Great Depression, it reminded me very much of "To Kill a Mockingbird." Not that there's an Attiticus or protagonists that are children, but the same vibe and small town ways and observations. Also, as is true with much of the South, everyone has a story, is a character, and has quirks.

This book is great and I'm sorry that everyone hasn't enjoyed it as much as I did.

a
AimeeRae
Feb 18, 2011

I lover her China Bayles mysteries so I tried this book and I couldn't even finish it. I quit after about 100 pages. Too many characters so it was hard to follow.

2
22950009541673
Oct 12, 2010

This author writes three other series that I thoroughly enjoy. Unfortunately, between the squabbling and anger and the everlasting descriptions, I cannot say the same about this book. I will not be borrowing any more in this series.

DanniOcean Jul 23, 2010

Reviewed for Stratford Gazette

new "cozy" series from author of China Bayles mysteries

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DanniOcean Jul 23, 2010

Author Susan Wittig Albert is probably best-known for her China Bayles “Thyme” mysteries, which are set in Pecan Springs, Texas, or the cozy “Cottage Tale” mysteries featuring Beatrice Potter. Now she has come out with a third series, set in Darling, Alabama in the 1930’s, featuring a set of gardening enthusiasts known as the Darling Dahlias. Each lady has her own peculiarities and talents, and when it comes to gossip, no one cultivates the grapevine like they do. This first novel stars three ladies in particular: Elizabeth “Lizzy” Lacy, secretary to a lawyer; Ophelia Snow, the mayor’s wife; and Verna Tidwell, a clerk in the county’s probate office. At this time of financial crisis in the country, the Dahlias face some crises of their own – there is an escaped convict on the loose, one of their members is accused of embezzling from the local bank, one faces the possibility of her husband’s infidelity, and one of their friends is involved in a fatal accident – or was it murder? While the ladies are treated as mere women by their menfolk (this is the 1930’s), when they pull together the Dahlias find that their various jobs and connections put them in a unique position to gather information better than the local sheriff’s office. To add to the excitement, Bessie Bloodworth bags a local boogyman, leading to the discovery of a legendary Civil War era treasure – still more recent in the locals’ minds than the Great War. Author Susan Wittig Albert adds quaint touches to all her novels (like recipes in the back from her characters), and this one is no exception. The historical details are accurate, down to the vintage-sounding chapter titles (“The Dahlias Gather at Beulah’s Beauty Bower”) - like those from that exciting new mystery series Verna has discovered (Nancy Drew). There is a “Makin’ Do” list from the characters on the best depression-era ways to stretch a dollar, and references to Southern epicurean delights like “Euphoria’s Peanut Butter Meringue Pie” – with the recipe thoughtfully provided, of course. Looking forward to the next Dahlia adventure already!

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