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Flowerbed of Sate by Dorothy St. James

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Cover art: Flowerbed of Sate by Dorothy St. James Reviewer: Connie Payne
Title: Flowerbed of Sate - 1st in the White House Gardener Mystery series
Author: Dorothy St. James
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-24057-1
Release Date: May 2011
Genre/Sub-genre: Romantic/Cozy Mystery
Year/Setting: Present day, Washington D.C.
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: None
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: Moderate
Dorothy's Website/Blog: None found


Her life has suddenly turned into a real life mystery. Having read countless mystery novels should be of great help to Casey Calhoun, though. After all, it’s not every day someone like her is muddied and knocked out in Lafayette Square after having potentially, probably, (it’s all a blur, she can’t’ remember much) witnessing a murder.

But she’s a fighter, oh yes. White House CAT (Counter Assault Agent) Jack Turner (yes, he’s sexy, too) can attest to that little fact. He has the bruises and then some to prove it.

Casey loves her job as assistant to the chief gardener and while the other assistant, Lorenzo, is cool, detached, and often snippy, he has also come to her for help. He loved Pauline and he’s not sure the police are going to pursue the right avenue in finding her killer. But which one is that? Did it have anything to do with her job at the Treasury Department? Maybe there were other lovers out there and she left a trail of broken hearts. Any of them seem to lead down the path of danger so it would be anyone’s guess.

No matter who tells her to stay out of the investigation and not talk to anyone about the case, she’s determined to find some answers to the crimes that seem to continue to mount up since the police, Secret Service, CAT, and Turner aren’t talking to her. With flashes of her past surfacing and something as personal as an attack on her having been made, she must continue to dig deep and find some answers.

This attitude only seems to be leading her into danger and the possibility of losing her job at the White House…losing her life.

The mystery began on the first page and the action, sleuthing, pondering, and adrenaline never stopped moving Casey toward her goal. Each of the characters surrounding Casey were a blend of quiet grace and go-get-‘em-tiger, to power hungry and guiding hand, all of which worked well for Casey, the story, and will work for the series in the future.

Ms. St. James kept the reader digging for clues with multiple motives and suspects. You never knew who was going to be next on the suspect list or what juicy tidbit was going to be unearthed. Though you may have had some suspicions from time to time… All in all a great and entertaining reading experience.

A word with Casey though; your "sidekick"? Keep him!

Happy reading!
Connie

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