TILLING THE TRUTH
By Julia Henry
Lilly Jayne has always been known in her hometown of Goosebush, Massachusetts, for her integrity and fairmindedness. So when her dear friend Harmon Dane asked her to be the executor of his estate when he died, Lilly, of course, said yes. Harmon’s one caveat was to protect the birds nesting on his property, and to be sure they had a sanctuary in perpetuity. This turns out to be easier said than done.
Harmon has two greedy heirs, Brandon and Miranda, both incensed that money to protect the birds took such a huge part of their inheritance. Also unhappy with the idea of a bird sanctuary is Gladys Preston, Harmon Dane’s neighbor and Goosebush’s perennial grouch, who enjoys nothing more than stirring up trouble.
The Dane house, located on Swallow Point, a prime piece of Goosebush real estate, is listed for sale by Lilly’s best friend, Tamara O’Connor. But the sale seems jinxed, because every time Tamara hosts an open house to entice buyers, something horrible happens.
At a town meeting an angry Gladys demands to know what’s really going on at Swallow Point and how it’s going to impact her property. Gladys stalks out of the meeting, but the argument continues later in a local restaurant where Tamara, in the heat of anger, appears to threaten her. Then Gladys is discovered dead and Tamara is kneeling over her body.
Under master gardener Lilly’s leadership, Tamara and several other civic-minded Goosebush citizens have banded together as the Garden Squad to beautify parts of town that sorely need a facelift, like long overgrown and neglected vacant lots and other public spaces. When Tamara is suspected of murder, it’s up to Lilly and the Garden Squad to clear her name.
“Tilling the Truth” is the second in Julia Henry’s Garden Squad mystery series. A great read with a likeable protagonist and a clever plot.