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National bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert returns to the small town of Darling, Alabama, in the 1930s—where the Darling Dahlias, the colorful ladies of a garden club, are anything but shrinking violets when it comes to rooting out criminals… The Texas Star herself—Miss Lily Dare, the “fastest woman in the world”—is bringing her Dare Devils Flying Circus to Darling. U National bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert returns to the small town of Darling, Alabama, in the 1930s—where the Darling Dahlias, the colorful ladies of a garden club, are anything but shrinking violets when it comes to rooting out criminals… The Texas Star herself—Miss Lily Dare, the “fastest woman in the world”—is bringing her Dare Devils Flying Circus to Darling. Unfortunately, she’s also bringing a whole lot of trouble. As the Dahlias prepare for the annual Watermelon Festival—where they will present the famous female aviatrix with her own Texas Star hibiscus—rumors are flying. Dahlias president Liz Lacy learns from newspaperman Charlie Dickens that Miss Dare has been threatened and her plane sabotaged. Apparently the bold and beautiful barnstormer has made plenty of enemies. And is it possible she may even be involved with the husband of one of Darling’s local ladies? And speaking of wings, the new cook at Myra May’s Darling Diner can fry a chicken and whip up a sweet potato meringue pie like nobody’s business. But why is she keeping her past such a mystery? As the Texas Star barnstorms into town, Liz and Verna Tidwell offer to help bring down a saboteur who may be propelled by revenge. Before it’s all over, there will be plenty of black eyes and dark secrets revealed… Includes Southern-Style Depression-Era Recipes!


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National bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert returns to the small town of Darling, Alabama, in the 1930s—where the Darling Dahlias, the colorful ladies of a garden club, are anything but shrinking violets when it comes to rooting out criminals… The Texas Star herself—Miss Lily Dare, the “fastest woman in the world”—is bringing her Dare Devils Flying Circus to Darling. U National bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert returns to the small town of Darling, Alabama, in the 1930s—where the Darling Dahlias, the colorful ladies of a garden club, are anything but shrinking violets when it comes to rooting out criminals… The Texas Star herself—Miss Lily Dare, the “fastest woman in the world”—is bringing her Dare Devils Flying Circus to Darling. Unfortunately, she’s also bringing a whole lot of trouble. As the Dahlias prepare for the annual Watermelon Festival—where they will present the famous female aviatrix with her own Texas Star hibiscus—rumors are flying. Dahlias president Liz Lacy learns from newspaperman Charlie Dickens that Miss Dare has been threatened and her plane sabotaged. Apparently the bold and beautiful barnstormer has made plenty of enemies. And is it possible she may even be involved with the husband of one of Darling’s local ladies? And speaking of wings, the new cook at Myra May’s Darling Diner can fry a chicken and whip up a sweet potato meringue pie like nobody’s business. But why is she keeping her past such a mystery? As the Texas Star barnstorms into town, Liz and Verna Tidwell offer to help bring down a saboteur who may be propelled by revenge. Before it’s all over, there will be plenty of black eyes and dark secrets revealed… Includes Southern-Style Depression-Era Recipes!

30 review for The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    This one was very good. The narrator, who had improved with the last book, was even worse in this one. There were moments when I just wanted to smack her and then teach her how to speak correctly. Audibly swallowing is not what you want to hear in an audiobook. Seriously. There was one thing that happened that I knew right away was going on, but it really didn't diminish it when it was revealed and there was also a scene that was so heartbreakingly sad that I cried for quite awhile. I am still t This one was very good. The narrator, who had improved with the last book, was even worse in this one. There were moments when I just wanted to smack her and then teach her how to speak correctly. Audibly swallowing is not what you want to hear in an audiobook. Seriously. There was one thing that happened that I knew right away was going on, but it really didn't diminish it when it was revealed and there was also a scene that was so heartbreakingly sad that I cried for quite awhile. I am still thinking about that one part and sighing a bit. I really enjoy these characters so much.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stacie Haden

    This series is light on mystery but heavy on character. Great sense of time and place. Alabama 1932

  3. 4 out of 5

    Fred

    The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star is the fourth book in The Darling Dahlias series. And a wonderful addition it is, too. I've read all of Albert's books and love them, but this book, she really shines as a storyteller. This series takes place in Darling, Ala., a small rural community, during the Great Depression. The series follows the lives of the 14 members of Dahlias Club as they work together to make the best of a bad situation for the residences of Darling. Not only do they stay busy wit The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star is the fourth book in The Darling Dahlias series. And a wonderful addition it is, too. I've read all of Albert's books and love them, but this book, she really shines as a storyteller. This series takes place in Darling, Ala., a small rural community, during the Great Depression. The series follows the lives of the 14 members of Dahlias Club as they work together to make the best of a bad situation for the residences of Darling. Not only do they stay busy with the gardening that they love, but they reach out to those in need. Darling is bustling as they get ready for their annual Watermelon Festival. It is the Darling Dahlias year to host the festival and Lizzie Lacy is busy making sure that the festival will come off without a hitch. This year's attraction will be Lily Dare, the fastest woman in the world and she will be bringing her Dare Devils Flying circus. But she is also might be bringing possible trouble, at her last show someone attempted to sabotage her airplane. Lizzie soon learns that the editor of the newspaper, Charlie Dickens, has had a liaison with Miss Dare in the past. Then a rumor is circulating the Roger Kilgore, one of the Dahlias husbands might also be having an affair with her too. Lizzie is hoping that the mystery as to who is out to get Lily will be solved before the Festival begins. As Lizzie points out in her letter of introduction to the story, will let Mrs. Albert finish telling the story. Albert also provides the reader with Getting Beautiful for Pennies tips from the depression and also provides the reader with recipes from the Great Depression. Definitely looking forward to the next book in this delightful series.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bettendorf Library

    The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star is the 4th book in the cozy mystery series about a gardening group in Darling Alabama in the 1930's. While not my favorite cozy series they are still most enjoyable. I have become very fond of each and every character. ~ Chris L. The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star is the 4th book in the cozy mystery series about a gardening group in Darling Alabama in the 1930's. While not my favorite cozy series they are still most enjoyable. I have become very fond of each and every character. ~ Chris L.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star is the 4th book in the cozy mystery series about a gardening group in Darling Alabama in the 1930's. The Darling Dahlias are in charge of the Watermelon Festival this year in Darling. Liz Lacey,the club president, is the head of planning and organizing everything for a successful event. The highlight of the event will be the Dare Devil Airplane show starring Lily Dare. Lily Dare is a exotic beautiful stunt pilot who has done stunt flying in movies and is ad The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star is the 4th book in the cozy mystery series about a gardening group in Darling Alabama in the 1930's. The Darling Dahlias are in charge of the Watermelon Festival this year in Darling. Liz Lacey,the club president, is the head of planning and organizing everything for a successful event. The highlight of the event will be the Dare Devil Airplane show starring Lily Dare. Lily Dare is a exotic beautiful stunt pilot who has done stunt flying in movies and is advertised as the fastest woman in the world. There will be wing walking and an air show. Lily's plane recently was sabotaged so who wants to kill or harm her? There are a lot of prospects. She is a flirt and doesn't mind having an affair with a married man. Liz and Verna try to find out who is trying to harm Lily. Another interesting part of the book was the new cook that Myra employs after her previous cook leaves to work somewhere else. This book featured Liz Lacy, Verna Tidwell, Myra Mosswell and Mildred Kilgore. So the other members of the club played a smaller part in the plot. This is the first series that when I read the first book in the series, I read the next two right after as I liked it so much. Have been waiting for the fourth book to come out. This is a gentle series about the lives of a diverse group of women in the 1930's who like to garden and get drawn into various mysteries. They are women that I would like to know if they were contemporary with us in the real world. One can sit back, relax , go back into time and enjoy the storytelling of the lives and adventures of the Darling Dahlias. It was a very good read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    EuroHackie

    This was another cozy read with a now-familiar circle of friends, and it was nice to revisit them =) The mysteries were pretty easy to solve (especially since both of them are more or less spoiled right from the get-go), but it was nice to visit Darling, AL again - and even knowing what was happening, it was still a quite amusing ride! The Dahlia at the focus of this story is Mildred Kilgore, wife of Roger Kilgore, the owner of the town's Dodge dealership. Mildred is one of the few left in town w This was another cozy read with a now-familiar circle of friends, and it was nice to revisit them =) The mysteries were pretty easy to solve (especially since both of them are more or less spoiled right from the get-go), but it was nice to visit Darling, AL again - and even knowing what was happening, it was still a quite amusing ride! The Dahlia at the focus of this story is Mildred Kilgore, wife of Roger Kilgore, the owner of the town's Dodge dealership. Mildred is one of the few left in town who has the luxury of hiring full-time help at her mansion out by the country club, but its obvious from the start that money can't shield her from pain. She confides in Lizzy that she's received several disturbing anonymous notes, alleging that her husband is involved with the svelte, sexy, stunning Lily Dare, and that the lady daredevil has managed to swindle him out of a large sum of money. Worst of all, the Kilgores will be hosing the lovely Miss Dare during her stay in Darling, and Mildred can't stand the thought of that woman staying under the same roof as her. She asks Lizzy to sleep over so she can help keep an eye on her - and ensure that she stays far, far away from Roger Kilgore! The town is abuzz with the news, as airplanes are still a novel thing, and a lady pilot even more rare of a sight. It turns out that stunt pilot work is not Lily Dare's first time at the rodeo - local newspapermak Charlie Dickens knew her back when she was the young wife of an old wealthy Texas rancher, who was infamous for the multi-day "parties" she thew on her wide expanse of Texas land. She was a heartbreaker, even then, and there are rumors flying that at least one of her lovesick suitors killed himself while trying to impress her. Charlie was close enough to Miss Dare that he knows her dark side - she's a schemer, and she's a chameleon who's reinvented herself more times than he cares to count. She's also hit a spot of trouble, as someone tried to sabotage her plane at their previous show. Charlie is concerned about her, and asks Liz Lacy to help him keep an eye out for her - nobody wants anything nefarious to happen to her while she's in Darling, especially not when she's the star attraction at the Watermelon Festival! It's the Dahlias' year to organize the event, and Liz dreads a re-run of last year, when it turned into a comedy of errors. She agrees to help Charlie and Mildred, and soon finds herself in the middle of a plot straight out of a Miss Marple novel. She enlists Verna to help her, and together they figure out what's going on - who's behind the anonymous notes, the mysterious payments, and the sabotage. The entrap the antagonist with a little help from the sheriff's deputy, in a plot that would make Jessica Fletcher proud! =) The subplot is the appearance of a new cook at the Darling Diner, just when the previous one decided to leave for sunnier pastures. Raylene Riggs is a godsend, and she makes an big impression on even the town curmudgeons. Myra May and Violet are eager to hire her, as well as other part-time help, to keep the Diner afloat. Raylene is mum about her past, and why she's chosen to settle in Darling, but Aunt Hetty Little holds the key to unlocking her mystery, and she reveals all in a very sweet scene near the end of the book. (However, if you've read the intro pages to the books that come after this one in the series, you know what the big secret is, because of course Raylene joins the Dahlias! :P) A secondary plotline is the burgeoning romance between Charlie Dickens and Fannie Champaign, who is also an enigma. The whole town has them practically married off, but Charlie balks at the idea of a commitment, so he quite foolishly breaks up with her -and when he comes around to the foolishness of his actions and goes to apologize to her, finds that she's left town, and nobody knows where she is. The other thin line of romance is the series-long triangle between Lizzy, her long-time beaux Grady Alexander, and her boss, Mr. Moseley. The longer she hems and haws, the more I'm leaning towards her making a play for her boss, but honestly, I'm not too sure...I do think that after 3 years, Grady is losing the advantage in the race for her hand, considering he totally takes her for granted, along with the fact that they'll one day get married. Hmm... The plot of the book was predictable, yet cozy, and I loved the way it wrapped up: with a big gossip session at the town's beauty parlor, as the various characters discuss the events of the book, and speculate on Miss Champaign's whereabouts. Even though she's a Dahlia, nobody knows much about her ~ so I'm getting the sense that she might be our next character in the spotlight. This felt like a middle-series book, if that makes any sense. It doesn't stand out as particularly good or particularly bad - just very middle of the road. I'm definitely not giving up on finishing out the series - plan to glom the last two books during the upcoming holiday - though I am kinda hoping the action picks up a little again.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Phil

    Another sweet look inside a Southern town during the Depression.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nan

    cute, fun history about flying & circus life

  9. 4 out of 5

    Aurian Booklover

    I really love reading historical cozy mysteries. They paint a very realistic picture of daily life back then, with normal people. Allright, most characters are a bit eccentric, but who knows if that was normal back then. Darling is a little village in Texas, and times are difficult. Lots of people have lost their jobs. The Darling Dahlias, the ladies of the local gardening club, do their best to help out people who can’t afford to buy foodstuff by giving away the groceries they grow and haven’t I really love reading historical cozy mysteries. They paint a very realistic picture of daily life back then, with normal people. Allright, most characters are a bit eccentric, but who knows if that was normal back then. Darling is a little village in Texas, and times are difficult. Lots of people have lost their jobs. The Darling Dahlias, the ladies of the local gardening club, do their best to help out people who can’t afford to buy foodstuff by giving away the groceries they grow and haven’t sold at the local farmers market. This series focuses on some of those ladies, their daily lives and troubles, and of course, a mystery to solve. And this time, there is no murder! I have to admit, that makes for a nice change of pace and I did not miss it at all. I really enjoyed reading about the presidential campaign between Hoover and Roosevelt, and no one knew what his New Deal was yet. Amelia Earhart is mentioned in this book, and the main character, Miss Lily Dare, is a female pilot, who used to hold the title of fastest women on the planet, she loves air stunts and has done some stunt work for the movies as well. I have no idea if she was a real character or not. Opening a book of the Darling Dahlias instantly transports me back to a time I ofcourse only know from reading about it. But I love all the main characters and their struggles to find joy in such difficult times. They all help each other. Yes, there is some romance and heartbreak and marriage problems as well. No love scenes though, it is a cozy. It is a real nice series, and I heartily recommend it. In the back are recipes for beauty products, for your face and nails and hair, and food recipes as well. All cheap according to that time, and easy to make. 8 stars.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Snap

    I was trying to decide on my next read when an uncorrected proof of THE DARLING DAHLIAS AND THE TEXAS STAR arrived on my doorstep. This was a Goodreads First Reads book -- my first! A big fan of Albert's China Bayles series, I did read the first book in the Darling Dahlia's series, THE DARLING DAHLIAS AND THE CUCUMBER TREE. While I liked the book, I really didn't want to start another series. After reading THE TEXAS STAR, I've changed my mind! It is 1932. Americans have lost their jobs, banks have I was trying to decide on my next read when an uncorrected proof of THE DARLING DAHLIAS AND THE TEXAS STAR arrived on my doorstep. This was a Goodreads First Reads book -- my first! A big fan of Albert's China Bayles series, I did read the first book in the Darling Dahlia's series, THE DARLING DAHLIAS AND THE CUCUMBER TREE. While I liked the book, I really didn't want to start another series. After reading THE TEXAS STAR, I've changed my mind! It is 1932. Americans have lost their jobs, banks have failed, Bonnie and Clyde are on the loose, the Lindberg baby has been kidnapped and a national election is on the horizon. Just what is the New Deal this Roosevelt guy is talking about?? In Darling, Alabama, folks are looking forward to the Watermelon Festival. Members of the Darling Dahlias Garden Club are busy putting the finishing touches on the festival which promises to be quite a show with The Texas Star, Miss Lily Dare and Her Dare Devils Flying Circus coming to town. The arrival of Miss Dare also brings trouble to town. Someone is trying to sabotage her plane. There is also a mystery surrounding the new cook at the local diner. I thought THE DARLING DAHLIAS AND THE TEXAS STAR was charming. Well plotted with a strong sense of history and local color, Albert really brings the depression to life and, in her words, shows the "depression doesn't have to be depressing". It was an easy, cozy read with characters I liked. I enjoyed the descriptions of the food and the gardens. There are recipes at the end for skin care and for meals.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Schwartz

    I love the Darling Dahlias and I love Ms. Albert's writing. There isn't a book of hers that I've read that I haven't loved. The Dahlias are especially wonderful. Five or six very correct southern ladies who live in the charming little town of Dahlia, Alabama in the 1930's. Times are tough in Darling during the Great Depression, and each of these ladies know how to pinch a penny and stretch a nickel. So as readers we are given lots of helpful hints for homemade beauty products, and recipes for go I love the Darling Dahlias and I love Ms. Albert's writing. There isn't a book of hers that I've read that I haven't loved. The Dahlias are especially wonderful. Five or six very correct southern ladies who live in the charming little town of Dahlia, Alabama in the 1930's. Times are tough in Darling during the Great Depression, and each of these ladies know how to pinch a penny and stretch a nickel. So as readers we are given lots of helpful hints for homemade beauty products, and recipes for good southern dishes. In this book the Dahlias are hosting the annual Watermelon festival, so everybody is busy with all the planning and set up for the big festival. Liz Lacy, who is the president of the Darling Dahlia's Garden Club, is worrying that things are going to go wrong as they always seem to at this festival. Will they have the tents in place? Will there be enough watermelons? Will the carnival arrive in time? and a whole host of things. But at least she's happy that there is an air show booked that is sure to be a hit. The whole town is excited to see Miss Lily Dare and her Dare Devils Flying Circus. But once Miss Lily arrives things start happening. Miss Dare has made lots of enemies in her storied life, and some of them are right in Darling. Liz and her friend Verna find themselves trying to uncover the secrets behind extortion and poison pen letters as well as trying to uncover a saboteur. No one dies in this story, but there are still enough secrets and thrills and spills to keep Liz and Verna very busy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mary Alice

    Somewhat entertaining but sloppy. Albert has apparently written too many of these books and can't remember what she has already told the reader about certain characters. She seems to be on some kind of a deadline, and must keep writing quickly instead of going back and checking what she has already written. Thus she introduces characters more than once and repeats unimportant facts. I guessed all the outcomes of the mysteries very early on. Absolutely nothing was a surprise. The real mystery for Somewhat entertaining but sloppy. Albert has apparently written too many of these books and can't remember what she has already told the reader about certain characters. She seems to be on some kind of a deadline, and must keep writing quickly instead of going back and checking what she has already written. Thus she introduces characters more than once and repeats unimportant facts. I guessed all the outcomes of the mysteries very early on. Absolutely nothing was a surprise. The real mystery for me was where hat maker Fanny Champlain went, and I never really found out, and I guess that wasn't supposed to be one of the mysteries. I like the fact that the book was set around an all woman garden club in the South in the early 1930s, and I liked the ladies themselves, but Albert could have done so much more with her themes and her lovely ladies.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    I always enjoy reading books by Susan Wittig Albert. It's like sitting with a dear friend as she tells a most interesting and satisfying story. I always enjoy reading books by Susan Wittig Albert. It's like sitting with a dear friend as she tells a most interesting and satisfying story.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    wasted my time with this one...written for grade school level.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    Nice mystery, fun characters. Set in summer of 1932 in the deep south.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    I don't expect a lot from this series, but it was the weakest one I've read so far. Far-fetched plot and too "cutesy." I don't expect a lot from this series, but it was the weakest one I've read so far. Far-fetched plot and too "cutesy."

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amalia

    Five reasons I'm giving Five Stars to The Darling Dahlias by Susan Wittig Albert: 1. For me this is cozy mystery at its best. A series of books (eight so far) with an interesting setting, not too much blood and gore, a light tone and very decent writing. 2. The time and place - the story is set in the small town of Darling, Alabama, in the early 1930s. A group of ladies get together to form the Darling Garden Club and if they happen upon a mystery - they are on it. 3. The protagonist - we gradually g Five reasons I'm giving Five Stars to The Darling Dahlias by Susan Wittig Albert: 1. For me this is cozy mystery at its best. A series of books (eight so far) with an interesting setting, not too much blood and gore, a light tone and very decent writing. 2. The time and place - the story is set in the small town of Darling, Alabama, in the early 1930s. A group of ladies get together to form the Darling Garden Club and if they happen upon a mystery - they are on it. 3. The protagonist - we gradually get to know all the ladies of the club and some of the town's people, but the protagonist and my favorite character is Miss Elizabeth Lacey, club president. Lizzy is a legal secretary by profession, a gardener and a writer, and as nice as they come. She is said to look a little like Loretta Young. 4. Beyond the mystery plot this is the story of a small town struggling with the Depression of the early 1930s. There are a lot of domestic details, which I always love, and a lot about the way the ladies help each other and the town through these difficult times. 5. The message of these books, to my mind, is that friendship and community are the best weapons to have in times of adversity (and always).

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Good story. Love happy endings.... The Texas Star herself—Miss Lily Dare, the “fastest woman in the world”—is bringing her Dare Devils Flying Circus to Darling. Unfortunately, she’s also bringing a whole lot of trouble. As the Dahlias prepare for the annual Watermelon Festival—where they will present the famous female aviatrix with her own Texas Star hibiscus—rumors are flying. Dahlias president Liz Lacy learns from newspaperman Charlie Dickens that Miss Dare has been threatened and her plane sabo Good story. Love happy endings.... The Texas Star herself—Miss Lily Dare, the “fastest woman in the world”—is bringing her Dare Devils Flying Circus to Darling. Unfortunately, she’s also bringing a whole lot of trouble. As the Dahlias prepare for the annual Watermelon Festival—where they will present the famous female aviatrix with her own Texas Star hibiscus—rumors are flying. Dahlias president Liz Lacy learns from newspaperman Charlie Dickens that Miss Dare has been threatened and her plane sabotaged. Apparently the bold and beautiful barnstormer has made plenty of enemies. And is it possible she may even be involved with the husband of one of Darling’s local ladies? And speaking of wings, the new cook at Myra May’s Darling Diner can fry a chicken and whip up a sweet potato meringue pie like nobody’s business. But why is she keeping her past such a mystery? As the Texas Star barnstorms into town, Liz and Verna Tidwell offer to help bring down a saboteur who may be propelled by revenge. Before it’s all over, there will be plenty of black eyes and dark secrets revealed…

  19. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Susan Wittig Albert's book series "The Darling Dahlias" is really growing on me! I've just finished "The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star." It's the story of a group of ladies who are known as the Darling Dahlias (named after their town of Darling, TX, and the flowers that their meeting house's owner loved so well) and how they work to help each other and their town during the early 1930's. Ms. Albert's research into the 1930's life of small town America is remarkable and also very enjoyable t Susan Wittig Albert's book series "The Darling Dahlias" is really growing on me! I've just finished "The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star." It's the story of a group of ladies who are known as the Darling Dahlias (named after their town of Darling, TX, and the flowers that their meeting house's owner loved so well) and how they work to help each other and their town during the early 1930's. Ms. Albert's research into the 1930's life of small town America is remarkable and also very enjoyable to read about. It's made me think of life in my own small hometown where my parents grew up and how they lived. This story revolves around a female pilot who has her own business flying to all parts of the country putting on air shows and giving airplane rides to people. There is always intrigue and subplots going on in this series and how the Dahlias figure into the story. I'm eager to read the remaining books in this series and will look forward to future stories!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Vickie

    I had an enjoyable time with this entry in one of my favorite series by one of my favorite authors. It's a little like when I watched The Waltons on TV as it's set during the Depression in a small town and everyone, almost everyone, pulling together to help each other. There's friendship, gardening, and trouble. Characters I like, a small town that would interesting to visit, and learning about the world of aerial daredevils and what appears to be a glamorous lifestyle. Like a lot of things, loo I had an enjoyable time with this entry in one of my favorite series by one of my favorite authors. It's a little like when I watched The Waltons on TV as it's set during the Depression in a small town and everyone, almost everyone, pulling together to help each other. There's friendship, gardening, and trouble. Characters I like, a small town that would interesting to visit, and learning about the world of aerial daredevils and what appears to be a glamorous lifestyle. Like a lot of things, looks can be deceiving. This is a series about gumption as much as it is a mystery series. The Dahlias do investigate, comparing themselves to Nancy Drew from time to time, but it's also the threads that hold life together for the ladies. How they help each other. Heartache, finding a new cook for the cafe, putting the annual Watermelon Festival together and trying to do it better than past years, and solving the various mysteries. I can definitely recommend this book, series and author.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Claudia Cheyne

    This installment of the series takes place in July, 1932. Politics is a hot topic. Herbert Hoover is running for re-election against Franklin D. Roosevelt. The effects of The Great Depression are hitting the country harder every day. More people have lost jobs. They have no money to buy food or pay their taxes. But the folks in Cypress County are looking forward to the annual Watermelon Festival to bring some entertainment into Dahlia, Alabama. An extra special attraction this year is Miss Lilly This installment of the series takes place in July, 1932. Politics is a hot topic. Herbert Hoover is running for re-election against Franklin D. Roosevelt. The effects of The Great Depression are hitting the country harder every day. More people have lost jobs. They have no money to buy food or pay their taxes. But the folks in Cypress County are looking forward to the annual Watermelon Festival to bring some entertainment into Dahlia, Alabama. An extra special attraction this year is Miss Lilly Dare and her Dare Devils Flying Circus. Civic groups take turns being in charge of the festival. This year it is the Darling Dahlia's turn. Liz Lacy, club president, has the feeling there are problems coming their way. Will the ladies be able to deal with some unexpected surprises and make it all work out in the end?

  22. 4 out of 5

    Fredell

    liked the premise and the exposition--very typical of Susan Wittig Albert's usual writing style. The twists and turns of the story(ies) make for a fun read. Do you really think that The Texas Star--the world's fastest female pilot is a schemer, or is she the victim? Can the Dahlias solve the mystery without bringing the town down around their knees? And, can the Dahlias manage to keep the annual Watermelon Festival on track when strange things begin to happen again? Of course, the answer to all th liked the premise and the exposition--very typical of Susan Wittig Albert's usual writing style. The twists and turns of the story(ies) make for a fun read. Do you really think that The Texas Star--the world's fastest female pilot is a schemer, or is she the victim? Can the Dahlias solve the mystery without bringing the town down around their knees? And, can the Dahlias manage to keep the annual Watermelon Festival on track when strange things begin to happen again? Of course, the answer to all the above is "yes". the manner in which Wittig Albert gets us there is truly fun and makes for a peasant summer read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brook

    I love this author in the China Bayles series. The author has at least three different types of murder mysteries and this one focuses on a group of women in the depression from a garden club who solve murders. This book featured stories regarding an act the club hired for their town celebration involving a woman pilot, and stunt aerial artists. I wish I could know exactly why, but I was pretty disappointed in the book. Maybe I haven't developed a feeling of identification with the main character I love this author in the China Bayles series. The author has at least three different types of murder mysteries and this one focuses on a group of women in the depression from a garden club who solve murders. This book featured stories regarding an act the club hired for their town celebration involving a woman pilot, and stunt aerial artists. I wish I could know exactly why, but I was pretty disappointed in the book. Maybe I haven't developed a feeling of identification with the main character and her friends. But if you love writing about the depression era and how people worked together and brought joy to each others lives, this may be just the series for you.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    To be honest, I keep the books by this author around to read the same way I might serve a taste of lime sherbet between courses of a heavy 4 course meal. I need a little zip of lightness to balance out the gruesome nature of so many of the books I read. This isn’t to say the books are fluff, but they are fluffy and appealing and sweet. The writing is solid, although having read several of the books in this series, it annoys me that the author cuts and pastes entire paragraphs in the name of back To be honest, I keep the books by this author around to read the same way I might serve a taste of lime sherbet between courses of a heavy 4 course meal. I need a little zip of lightness to balance out the gruesome nature of so many of the books I read. This isn’t to say the books are fluff, but they are fluffy and appealing and sweet. The writing is solid, although having read several of the books in this series, it annoys me that the author cuts and pastes entire paragraphs in the name of backstory.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I listened to this one while trying to get everything put away after our move. It's a fun light hearted story with some actual things to learn: cheating never bodes well, don't lie, and for sure don't keep family members separated because of a lie. It's set in the depression days in a small southern town and The Darling Dahlias are the local garden club who are in charge of the town's water melon festival and carnival and air show. Let the fun begin and the mysteries too. I listened to this one while trying to get everything put away after our move. It's a fun light hearted story with some actual things to learn: cheating never bodes well, don't lie, and for sure don't keep family members separated because of a lie. It's set in the depression days in a small southern town and The Darling Dahlias are the local garden club who are in charge of the town's water melon festival and carnival and air show. Let the fun begin and the mysteries too.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    In this, the fourth installment of the Darling Dahlias series, I continue to fall in love with the characters of the town's gardening club. The author writes in a manner that brings to life the struggles of a small town navigating the devastating effects of The Depression. She makes it easy for the reader to feel that they have witnessed all the character's efforts to provide for their neighbors and to weather the storm together. In this, the fourth installment of the Darling Dahlias series, I continue to fall in love with the characters of the town's gardening club. The author writes in a manner that brings to life the struggles of a small town navigating the devastating effects of The Depression. She makes it easy for the reader to feel that they have witnessed all the character's efforts to provide for their neighbors and to weather the storm together.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    This cozy mystery series is interesting for all the research the author has done into the era. Liberally sprinkled with fascinating tidbits about all aspects of the Depression-era South, the book is just super fun. The mystery in this one is a little weaker than the previous outings, but the characters are cute and the town is just fun to hang out in and watch what's going on. The introduction of a barnstorming lady pilot with a reputation livens up the annual Watermelon Festival. This cozy mystery series is interesting for all the research the author has done into the era. Liberally sprinkled with fascinating tidbits about all aspects of the Depression-era South, the book is just super fun. The mystery in this one is a little weaker than the previous outings, but the characters are cute and the town is just fun to hang out in and watch what's going on. The introduction of a barnstorming lady pilot with a reputation livens up the annual Watermelon Festival.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marcia

    The fourth of a series, this episode occurs in the summer before FDR’s election and involves a daredevil female pilot, a husband with a wandering (and later blackened) eye, a new cook with her pulled pork recipes, a jilted milliner, a moonshine soaked newspaper editor, a note written in purple ink on pink paper, and a gaggle of lady gardeners who really run the little town of Darling. Everyone is gearing up for the annual Watermelon Festival which comes off without a hitch.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Texas Star and daredevil airplane stunt pilot Lily Dare comes to Darling for a special airshow. Extortion, blackmail and sabotage shake up the town while she is there. Also, the diner finds a new cook. Love the beauty tips and recipes at the end!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    A little too cutesy for my taste -- and that is saying something. I do applaud the author for doing some historical research, but Ms. Albert's political bias was showing. It was clear that her historical studies lacked any depth of economics. A little too cutesy for my taste -- and that is saying something. I do applaud the author for doing some historical research, but Ms. Albert's political bias was showing. It was clear that her historical studies lacked any depth of economics.

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