The second "relaxed" winter garden reading series that I would introduce to readers is Ann Ripley's excellent mystery series that features another heroine of the gardening world, Louise Eldridge, this time a housewife who actually works a real garden while she snoops around. The series begins with a book titled simply Mulch, where she is drawn into a murder investigation when body parts turn up in the leaves and clippings she purloined from neighborhood streets on trash day (come on, you do it too!). The series currently runs to six or seven different murder mysteries, all well-written and interesting.
I must confess that I liked this series a little better than the Flower Shop Mysteries, even though it seems not to be as popular and you'll probably have to go to Amazon to find it. And I've read them all. Louise Eldridge is a grounded woman with a mild-mannered husband, Bill (who just happens to work for a secret agency of he government), and a pair of daughters that grow up through her books. Louise works out of the home as the host of a television garden show, so her character grows and well throughout the mysteries. The series starts near Washington DC and then Ms. Eldridge moves to the front range of Colorado, where I believe the author now lives as well. The sweaty hunks are missing (for the most part) from these novels, and the villains are harder to identify, so this series keeps you reading. Pick one up, on Amazon, or otherwise wherever you can find it. I have a copy of one of the books that I purchased at The Strand in New York City. Where better to find a garden author?