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    Review of DEATH AT THE SPRING PLANT SALE by Ann Ripley


    Kensington Books, October 2003

    When her husband and daughter go out of town, PBS journalist Louise Eldridge decides to do a television show on her friend's gardening club sale and then spend a few days visiting. When the gardening club president is killed--in the car with her husband, the country's top economist, Eldridge decides to go into full-time detective mode. If the killer was a hit-man who botched an assassination of the economist, Eldridge knows she can't do much, but if, as she suspects, the gardening club was involved, then she better than the police, has a chance to solve the murder.

    Eldridge is assisted in her investigations by her friend, housewife Emily Holiday. Holiday's overcontrolling husband tries to oppose their investigation, but he spends his time at work and Holiday and Eldridge have all day to chase after gardeners, discover the economist's affairs, and learn the dirt on who would benefit from the club president's death. Sure enough, there are a number of candidates and in the Republican suburb of Bethesda, Maryland, all of them are armed and trained.

    Author Ann Ripley writes an approachable mystery that incorporates a female-supportive message as well. The women in the story, whether housewives or professional women, may be underestimated by the men in their lives, but it is they who keep things going. Protagonist Eldridge is generally likable although she seems to have a bit of an inflated view of her own importance and is hurt when the police don't drop everything to consider her theories of the case.

    DEATH AT THE SPRING PLANT SALE is a pleasant diversion. It is a perfect book to take along on that next airline flight.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 11/25/03

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