Tour’s Books Blog

March 8, 2010

Short Review: Sleeping with Anemone by Kate Collins

Filed under: Uncategorized — toursbooks @ 4:02 pm
  • Title: Sleeping with Anemone
  • Author:  Kate Collins
  • Type:  Cozy mystery
  • Genre:  Shopkeeper crosses big corporation at the same time is unintentionally involved in a theft rig
  • Sub-genre:  Series; amateur busybody sleuth with PI boyfriend
  • My Grade: C+ to B- (3.5*)
  • Rating:  PG
  • Length and price: Full novel – about 100,000 words total
  • Where Available: Everywhere books are sold
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased book from online book store

Kate Collins write the generally entertaining Flower Shop mysteries.  As is often the case with a series, especially a cozy series, the books become more and more formulaic as the series progresses.  That’s the case here too.  The earlier books had better plots and characters, but Sleeping with Anemone is an improvement over the last book, Evil Incarnations.

Abby Knight is promoting her flower shop and protesting the opening of an agri-business dairy by Uniworld, at a Uniworld sponsored event!  She manages to collect a few signatures on her petition and enough ill-will from Uniworld management in the form of Nils Raand that she gets herself thrown out.  The battle between Uniworld and Abby escalates the next day when a flaming brick is thrown through the window of her flower shop with a note on it saying, “Play with fire, expect to be burned.”  A spot on the evening news has Abby in front of the cameras.  Suddenly things get really strange.  Peter Chin, a lawyer in the Public Works department has been evading Abby’s calls about the status of her building permit for a new rear door and loading dock.  A few days later he stops in shop, nervous and frightened, and tells her if she just stops harassing Uniworld, she could have her permit.  Incensed, she refuses.

Abby’s ever creative, if talent deprived, mother brings some more of her ‘unique’ ceramics to the shop for sale.  One of the items is a copy of an anthurium broach that Abby found in a box of orchids that was misdelivered to her shop by her Hawaiian wholesaler.  Now the broach is missing.  Suddenly, her cousin Jillian wants one, and every time her mother brings more, they too disappear.  But problems escalate when her roommate Niki borrows her car and is nearly run off the road.  Abby’s boyfriend Marco Salvare, former Ranger, part-time PI, and bar owner,  isn’t taking any chances.  He’s appointed himself bodyguard and he takes it very seriously.  Thing is, Abby never did take orders well, and having Marco TELL her what she can and can’t do is really grating on her nerves.  Almost as much as the bridal magazines, pattern books and other ‘helpful’ stuff her mother, Marco’s mother and assorted relatives keep giving her.  She isn’t even engaged yet!

When Abby’s niece is kidnapped from the ladies room during a rock concert, Marco and Abby find her again, but they also find a dead body.  The cops don’t share Abby’s enthusiasm for blaming Raand for all these events.  Abby, is as nosey and curious as Miss Marple, pulls an Abby Knight special and investigates on her own.  Visiting Chin in the hospital, she a man she helped put in jail laying in a bed in an adjoining room.  Who knew a florist could acquire so many enemies?

The Flower Shop mysteries use the classic nosey parker approach.  Unlike many of the current crop of cozies, this one is neither too-cute nor to incredible, and the heroine isn’t too-stupid-to-live.  Evil Incarnations sort of hit my warning alarms on the TSTL limit, but here were back to solid ground.  Though I still like the earlier books better because there seemed to me greater variation among the books, this is a very solid entry.  One of the better parts of this series is the natural evolution of the romance between Marco and Abby, and their problems are realistic.  Abby’s father remains one of my favorite secondary characters and his down to earth attitude grounds the ending beautifully.  The mystery is good, the solution interesting, and multi-layered, and I like how Abby’s mom comes through.  Ms Collins has resisted the urge to play things for laughs and kept a good solid story moving at a quick pace.

Is Sleeping With Anemone worth $6.99? For any cozy reader, absolutely.  Read and enjoy.

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