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Riches to rags. … Controlling to chaos. … But murder … seriously? After her ex-husband leaves her high and dry, former socialite Doreen Montgomery's chance at a new life comes in the form of her grandmother, Nan's, dilapidated old house in picturesque Kelowna … and the added job of caring for the animals Nan couldn’t take into assisted living with her: Thaddeus, the loqua Riches to rags. … Controlling to chaos. … But murder … seriously? After her ex-husband leaves her high and dry, former socialite Doreen Montgomery's chance at a new life comes in the form of her grandmother, Nan's, dilapidated old house in picturesque Kelowna … and the added job of caring for the animals Nan couldn’t take into assisted living with her: Thaddeus, the loquacious African gray parrot with a ripe vocabulary, and his buddy, Goliath, a monster-size cat with an equally monstrous attitude. It’s the new start Doreen and her beloved basset hound, Mugs, desperately need. But, just as things start to look up for Doreen, Goliath the cat and Mugs the dog find a human finger in Nan’s overrun garden. And not just a finger. Once the police start digging, the rest of the body turns up and turns out to be connected to an old unsolved crime. With her grandmother as the prime suspect, Doreen soon finds herself stumbling over clues and getting on Corporal Mack Moreau’s last nerve, as she does her best to prove her beloved Nan innocent of murder.


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Riches to rags. … Controlling to chaos. … But murder … seriously? After her ex-husband leaves her high and dry, former socialite Doreen Montgomery's chance at a new life comes in the form of her grandmother, Nan's, dilapidated old house in picturesque Kelowna … and the added job of caring for the animals Nan couldn’t take into assisted living with her: Thaddeus, the loqua Riches to rags. … Controlling to chaos. … But murder … seriously? After her ex-husband leaves her high and dry, former socialite Doreen Montgomery's chance at a new life comes in the form of her grandmother, Nan's, dilapidated old house in picturesque Kelowna … and the added job of caring for the animals Nan couldn’t take into assisted living with her: Thaddeus, the loquacious African gray parrot with a ripe vocabulary, and his buddy, Goliath, a monster-size cat with an equally monstrous attitude. It’s the new start Doreen and her beloved basset hound, Mugs, desperately need. But, just as things start to look up for Doreen, Goliath the cat and Mugs the dog find a human finger in Nan’s overrun garden. And not just a finger. Once the police start digging, the rest of the body turns up and turns out to be connected to an old unsolved crime. With her grandmother as the prime suspect, Doreen soon finds herself stumbling over clues and getting on Corporal Mack Moreau’s last nerve, as she does her best to prove her beloved Nan innocent of murder.

30 review for Arsenic in the Azaleas

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anissa

    This was a quirky cozy with a divorcee amateur sleuth, who finds several dead bodies under and around the home her grandmother has given her. Doreen has quite the menagerie made up of her dog Mugs, parrot Thaddeus and Goliath the cat who keep her company and add a bit of humour to the story. I thought the animals saved the story, as Doreen was sometimes hard to take. Even with allowances made for her learning how to be a functioning member of the world after being a trophy wife, her helplessness This was a quirky cozy with a divorcee amateur sleuth, who finds several dead bodies under and around the home her grandmother has given her. Doreen has quite the menagerie made up of her dog Mugs, parrot Thaddeus and Goliath the cat who keep her company and add a bit of humour to the story. I thought the animals saved the story, as Doreen was sometimes hard to take. Even with allowances made for her learning how to be a functioning member of the world after being a trophy wife, her helplessness was extreme. She's thirty-five and didn't know how to use a coffeemaker. Unless she was married off at fourteen, which it doesn't seem was the case, it didn't ring true. Worse, she never used Google to look up simple things she didn't know. New in town and need to find takeaway because you don't or can't cook? Anyone else would whip out their phone & Google that. Not Doreen. She calls her Nan who tells her about the local Chinese restaurant & where to find the paper menu. Throughout the entire story and into the second book (yes, I have it already), the gas stove in the kitchen is a mystery & she can't figure out why the burner doesn't light when she turns it on. Okay, so she doesn't know about pilot lights but she still has yet to look it up! More than her overly snippy attitude, her not using her phone or any internet for practical living solutions (she used it to look up information relating to the identified deceased) irked me and made it difficult to buy her as her age or a contemporary character at all. Kelowna isn't Yellowknife remote, so I didn't understand why she wouldn't go to her phone. Google works outside of Vancouver for general information! I'll certainly read the next as I have to believe that Doreen gets better as she grows in ability and confidence. I like that she's interested in beginning her own gardening business. I also liked Doreen's relationship with her Nan. The hint at romance with Mack is still flat for me but I don't think he's going anywhere so I can still be sold. I do hope the next book has swifter momentum with the actual mystery now that all the set up is done. And major points for gorgeous cover art. It's what caught my eye on Amazon.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    A good start to the series, with a mystery that kept me involved enough to want to see how it ended. What irked me was the constant repetition of her situation vis a vis her yucky marriage, her yucky ex, her current downer circumstance, etc. A couple of times would have done it, followed up by a solid action plan to deal with it. I also would have wanted to see her use the internet a lot more for things she apparently couldn't handle, such as dealing with a gas stove. Loved her relationship with A good start to the series, with a mystery that kept me involved enough to want to see how it ended. What irked me was the constant repetition of her situation vis a vis her yucky marriage, her yucky ex, her current downer circumstance, etc. A couple of times would have done it, followed up by a solid action plan to deal with it. I also would have wanted to see her use the internet a lot more for things she apparently couldn't handle, such as dealing with a gas stove. Loved her relationship with her Nan, as well as her menagerie. The parrot cracked me, so like my mom's. I do plan to read the next installment to see how she blooms and succeeds. And, yes, I'm hopeful that she gets back at her ex and her slimy divorce lawyer. 3.5*

  3. 5 out of 5

    Scot

    Sorry, but this one was very poorly constructed. Silly, and often illogical, with characters suddenly responding in a different way with no discernable trigger, hackneyed descriptions, and no character worth identifying with or caring about. The grandmother, Nan, has suddenly moved into a rest home facility a five minute walk away where she can be consulted by her long time no see socialite granddaughter Doreen (but does not seem to have been consulted about obvious things). The heroine is a tro Sorry, but this one was very poorly constructed. Silly, and often illogical, with characters suddenly responding in a different way with no discernable trigger, hackneyed descriptions, and no character worth identifying with or caring about. The grandmother, Nan, has suddenly moved into a rest home facility a five minute walk away where she can be consulted by her long time no see socialite granddaughter Doreen (but does not seem to have been consulted about obvious things). The heroine is a trophy wife who just lost everything in a bitter divorce and now must learn to fend for herself, living in what was Granny's house. She wants to try making a pretty garden but her dog finds a body. Let me summarize the menagerie: there is an obnoxious dog, a tiresome cat, and an addled talking parrot who seems to give key clues out in a cognizant timely manner, but is ignored. These would-be lovable but irritating pets form a family, suddenly loyal to Doreen, and follow her around on her treks outside. There is also a hunky sheriff who provides some sane direction but of course is infatuated with our tempestuous vixen. This reads as if it was made up as the author went along, sometimes circling back to be repetitive, never with a direction or any character construction. Not worth the effort to get through. One point for a pleasant setting in British Columbia, but not enough points to merit any other human being should try to read it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

    Oh. My. Goodness. I absolutely LOVED this book! The MC, Doreen Montgomery, is a soon-to-be-divorcee. 35 years old and an ex-socialite, she is now sans money because her ex-husband had an affair with a woman who ended up being Doreen's attorney for her divorce, so let's just say she got royally screwed! Just hours, or even less, after she gets to her Nana's house, the cat, Goliath, found a bone and her basset hound, Mugs, snatched it away. As Doreen goes to scold Mugs she realizes they've come hom Oh. My. Goodness. I absolutely LOVED this book! The MC, Doreen Montgomery, is a soon-to-be-divorcee. 35 years old and an ex-socialite, she is now sans money because her ex-husband had an affair with a woman who ended up being Doreen's attorney for her divorce, so let's just say she got royally screwed! Just hours, or even less, after she gets to her Nana's house, the cat, Goliath, found a bone and her basset hound, Mugs, snatched it away. As Doreen goes to scold Mugs she realizes they've come home with a human bone. Thus begins the mystery of this fun book with the most wonderful characters! My favorite character has to be Thaddeus, a loquacious African grey parrot who not only has an extensive vocabulary, but he has a habit of saying everything twice: "Murder in the garden. Murder in the garden." I loved that bird! Doreen doesn't just discover one body, but for some reason at the most suspicious times, she discovers more. Her Nana is the #1 suspect though, so she sets out to prove her grandma's innocence, thus interfering with Corporal Mack Moreau's investigation. It's just a FUN, funny, easy mystery to read. UPDATE: Re-read I still love this one. I think there are times for fun, funny, silly, and at times ridiculous story lines. I love mystery in all forms and this one was just too fun to read. I still love Goliath and Mugs and their "sibling rivalry." I just adore them both, even though I'm not a cat lover. And I can't leave off Thaddeus who can't keep his mouth shut. LOL I just love books with fun animals who add something that humans just can't.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Coco.V

    🎁 FREE on iBooks today (4/9/2019)! 🎁 Blurb: Riches to rags. … Controlling to chaos. … But murder … seriously? After her ex-husband leaves her high and dry, former socialite Doreen Montgomery's chance at a new life comes in the form of her grandmother, Nan's, dilapidated old house in picturesque Kelowna … and the added job of caring for the animals Nan couldn’t take into assisted living with her: Thaddeus, the loquacious African gray parrot with a ripe vocabulary, and his buddy, Goliath, a monster 🎁 FREE on iBooks today (4/9/2019)! 🎁 Blurb: Riches to rags. … Controlling to chaos. … But murder … seriously? After her ex-husband leaves her high and dry, former socialite Doreen Montgomery's chance at a new life comes in the form of her grandmother, Nan's, dilapidated old house in picturesque Kelowna … and the added job of caring for the animals Nan couldn’t take into assisted living with her: Thaddeus, the loquacious African gray parrot with a ripe vocabulary, and his buddy, Goliath, a monster-size cat with an equally monstrous attitude. It’s the new start Doreen and her beloved basset hound, Mugs, desperately need. But, just as things start to look up for Doreen, Goliath the cat and Mugs the dog find a human finger in Nan’s overrun garden. And not just a finger. Once the police start digging, the rest of the body turns up and turns out to be connected to an old unsolved crime. With her grandmother as the prime suspect, Doreen soon finds herself stumbling over clues and getting on Corporal Mack Moreau’s last nerve, as she does her best to prove her beloved Nan innocent of murder.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emmie

    Quirky new cosy mystery series. Yet I have to mention that I cannot believe that people can be as inept as Doreen. There is such a thing as the internet and google or youtube :-)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maddy

    Well.. I haven't written a bad review in a while, so might as well polish my skills or people will start to think I am nice or something :D Erratic, repetitive, silly and inconsistent. It hurt me to read this. This was one of the most painful reads of this year. Ouch. I feel my IQ dropping just from thinking about it. (view spoiler)[ Let's start at the beginning. Our dear heroine is introduced - ex trophy wife that got cheated by her husband and lawyer and left with nothing. Her story is quite dr Well.. I haven't written a bad review in a while, so might as well polish my skills or people will start to think I am nice or something :D Erratic, repetitive, silly and inconsistent. It hurt me to read this. This was one of the most painful reads of this year. Ouch. I feel my IQ dropping just from thinking about it. (view spoiler)[ Let's start at the beginning. Our dear heroine is introduced - ex trophy wife that got cheated by her husband and lawyer and left with nothing. Her story is quite dramatic. Hard to believe, but well.. no trophy wife is supposed to have brains right? She has a dog (as all cozy mystery are supposed to have a pet, I am pretty sure it is a rule or something) and she gets used to her new circumstances and the new place to live. Her grandma has went to a retirement home and left her the house and some more pets - a cat and a bird. The bird is too smart for his own good and the cat is fat and lazy. Tweety and Silvester anyone? The kicker is that her Nan is only a short walk away, has no health problems and there is literally no reason whatsoever why she should have moved out except she wanted to? There is no reason why The Nancy Drew wannabee couldn't have moved in with her Nan. She could have shared the house with her and helped her manage, plus combine their [possible] income to make it more comfortable, but sure, let's roll with it, since some sort of a reason is needed, right? The heroine has had her every need taken care of during her marriage. She had cooks, gardeners, maids, the works. So she knows nothing about living on her own, including how to cook. Sure, some people are bad at cooking. But I find it so hard to believe that she can google "can parrots eat cucumbers" yet can't google "how to make an omelet" or "how to make pasta". Not to mention the small inconsistencies in her background - her parents were absent, so who took care of her needs? More maids and cooks? Then she says she spent most of her time with Nan before getting married and repeats several times that Nan is not rich and her financial situation might be unstable. So you honestly expect me to believe that in all her time with Nan, MC never learned to cook? Really? She can't even turn on the gas stove? Nan just did everything for her before our MC got married and got her rich lifestyle? Seriously? Even if she got married as young as 18 (I am not sure when she got married, I was too bored to care), how the heck can one not pick up at least basic survival skills in 18 years? This is where repetitiveness comes in - she keeps repeating how she does not know this, does not know that, how she was pampered, how she was rich, rich, rich and other boo hoo poor me, as if she has never heard of google or never in her life had a thought about surviving and taking care of herself. Just unbelievable. No one can do that, unless they spend their whole life in luxury, but based on descriptions about Nan, she was not rich, and if MC spent so much time with her when younger, then it follows she could not have been so helpless. And even if she was so helpless and cannot google "how to make omelet", she has learned all there is about gardening and goes on and on about plants and pruning and bla bla bla... Give me a break. You were "not allowed" to get your hands dirty, yet you somehow know everything about gardening. From what - theory? Youtube? Books? Even assuming it to be right, theory does not match practice, especially in hands-on labor and is just another inconsistent detail that gets unnecessarily pointed out as her talent while at the same time repeating how unable she is to take care of herself and does not know anything aside from her rich, pampered lifestyle. I mean she does not even know what wire cutters look like... Well then again, not much does here... So she arrives at her Nan's old house that Nan gave up for no reason whatsoever and finds a finger. Calls the cops, they find the body. And the "mystery" begins. The "mystery" is just.. silly. At first, MC acts all high society lady, who is just soooo inconvenienced by this whole thing. She is rude, impertinent and downright bossy with policemen, turning her nose up at them and just wanting them to go away and stop digging in her yard. She also points her nose up at the neighbors on the street, strutting past them arrogantly and ignoring them, when just a moment ago she wanted to "fit it" and "start a new life". Yup. Being an arrogant, spoiled princess is definitely the way to go. Then she gets all arrogant and "I can help you solve this murder". The reason why MC gets involved at all is because her Nan is a suspect and she wants to clear her name. Riiiight. I would like to note that at no point during this whole book was Nan seriously a suspect. At all. Sure, cops talked to her, but she was not officially questioned, detained or arrested. Ever. She was never a serious suspect. And even the MC was not really a suspect at any point, even though author tried so hard to make us believe Mack suspected her and even wrote some weird "wink wink nudge nudge I might be a killer" lines in Nan's interactions with our Nancy Drew Wannabee. The MC is erratic and slightly unbalanced. She is an arrogant, rude city lady that whines about her misfortunes all the time without bothering to adjust then suddenly she is all 'I want to make a new start' bla bla. Well try not to be a spoiled brat and see how that goes. One moment she is a cold socialite bossing everyone around, the next she is "trying to be friendly and help with investigation, find a job, have a normal life". One moment she is being nice and smart, the next she is all stupid blonde. Like she knows one is supposed to bury a body at least 6 feet deep to keep away animals and smell, yet she never thinks that : 1. If you know police were combing the garden in search of a murder weapon and you see something metallic shining in there, do NOT go looking and call them instead? 2. In case you do go looking and find a bottle that clearly says "ARSENIC" that you do NOT touch it with your bare hands and DO NOT bring it into your house, especially if you have curious animals? 3. If you find a suspicious envelope during a murder investigation no less, that animals are vary off, you do NOT open it? And if you have "never been a coward" and decide to open it, wear gloves not to leave fingerprints? And even if you do open it with bare hands and white powder falls out and you recently found an empty arsenic bottle, then you should NOT just stand there all pretty, but wash everything up ASAP not dig even deeper into the envelope? It is not bravery to take such risks, it is stupidity. And that is not mentioning all the times she found evidence and decided to go through it all before handling it over to the police. I mean.. Really? And her interactions with Mack are just what the... Her personality switches and their hot and cold interactions just gave me a headache. Supportive of her conditions, offering her a job and giving suggestions about garage sales one moment, then being all irritated and screaming at each other the next. And the somewhat forced romantic tension... Ugh. The mystery? Oh boy. All that "investigating" aka "hindering the investigation". The reason for the murder - accidental murder while fighting about a woman. Not even money or insurance fraud or I don't know, anything that makes sense?! Then the whole villain reveal and villain speech.... Even if I did get over the repetitive "I used to be so rich", constant talks about drinking tea, about gardening and pets, how can I ignore the complete lack of editing? This book is just full of inconsistencies and things that do not fit. Details that are just out of place and make no sense. Like... She goes to the library to research the 30 year old murder, yet a moment later comes home and googles all the names. So what was she doing there? Was she looking at archives and old newspapers? Then why does she whine to the Mack about needing a picture of the man and him saying "archives must have some". Again - what was she doing there? She did computer search at home, didn't look through archives. Was there a book written about the guy that she read? She didn't bring any books home, so she certainly didn't go into the library for those. And what about the neighbor? In the villain monologue bla bla, the villain says it will look like a suicide because everyone will just accept Doreen couldn't go on after what her husband and lawyer did. Excuse me here a moment. Doreen does not talk about her issues with neighbors, she is quite rude and disinterested in them, plus she hasn't had time to lay down all her troubles to them since she is busy running around. And her neighbors avoid her because she is crazy and erratic and people are scared of her "body-finding". So my question is - how does the neighbor know about her circumstances? At what point and how did she learn all the details? Okay, sure one might argue that these are small inconsistencies and could be skipped over, but after being so thoroughly annoyed with this book, I just can't overlook even more things that make no sense whatsoever. (hide spoiler)]

  8. 4 out of 5

    Betty

    The covers are eye-catching and after reading the promo, I was hooked however the covers are busy. The tale is a fun relaxing, and humorous read. The main characters are fully developed that include Doreen Montgomery, a discarded trophy wife, and her basket hound Mugs. For added humor, there are the fur babies, Thaddeus, an African Grey Parrot and Goliath, a Maine Coon all on the cover along with the plant featured in the story. We add RMP Corporal Mack Moreau for a romantic relationship it a ne The covers are eye-catching and after reading the promo, I was hooked however the covers are busy. The tale is a fun relaxing, and humorous read. The main characters are fully developed that include Doreen Montgomery, a discarded trophy wife, and her basket hound Mugs. For added humor, there are the fur babies, Thaddeus, an African Grey Parrot and Goliath, a Maine Coon all on the cover along with the plant featured in the story. We add RMP Corporal Mack Moreau for a romantic relationship it a neat series. Three books are out and 3 more are in the works.. After Doreen's has told her husband wanted a divorce and because her lawyer's trickery she ends up broke and accepted the offer of her Nan, Grandmother's house and two pets in Kelowna, BC. She moved into the house and Goliath brings a severed finger inside and Mugs chased Goliath for the treasure. Entered Mack Moreau and both become involved with learning from where the finger came. The fur friends are involved with the ending. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Doreen Montgomery, recently divorced, arrives in a quaint Canadian village to care for her grandmother's home and pets, only to find a human finger bone in the garden. The police discover the corresponding body and Doreen's grandmother, now in a local assisted living facility, is the prime suspect in the murder. Mayer gives us a fully-fleshed out, relatable main character and surrounds her with quirky secondary characters and three charming pets. There are plenty of twists and turns in this whims Doreen Montgomery, recently divorced, arrives in a quaint Canadian village to care for her grandmother's home and pets, only to find a human finger bone in the garden. The police discover the corresponding body and Doreen's grandmother, now in a local assisted living facility, is the prime suspect in the murder. Mayer gives us a fully-fleshed out, relatable main character and surrounds her with quirky secondary characters and three charming pets. There are plenty of twists and turns in this whimsical, fast-paced story.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    Started out okay, but I lost interest fast. Found myself skimming through some of the book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nola Arganbright

    Excellent A great new to me Cozy Mystery series. A plethora of excellent characters including three pets with full personalities that help find the bodies and solve the mysteries!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kat Lebo

    Arsenic in the Azaleas, Lovely Lethal Gardens #1 by Dale Mayer I wanted to like this first-in-the-series book, and I suppose I did like it, but I did not love it. The editing and proofing were excellent. The pacing was good, with lots of action that flowed well. The characters were definitively drawn, and I was very fond of Mugs, Goliath, and Thaddeus. There was no cliffhanger ending. There was plenty of humor in the writing. So why didn't I like it better? It's difficult to fall in love with a ser Arsenic in the Azaleas, Lovely Lethal Gardens #1 by Dale Mayer I wanted to like this first-in-the-series book, and I suppose I did like it, but I did not love it. The editing and proofing were excellent. The pacing was good, with lots of action that flowed well. The characters were definitively drawn, and I was very fond of Mugs, Goliath, and Thaddeus. There was no cliffhanger ending. There was plenty of humor in the writing. So why didn't I like it better? It's difficult to fall in love with a series where you don't particularly like the main character. At first, as I'd never read any of this author's work before, I thought Dale Mayer must be a man to craft such a bitchy female main character, but a quick internet search proved that incorrect -- Dale Mayer is a woman. So, I have to assume that she intended the main character to come across as bitchy, privileged, self-pitying, and inefficient in things everyone, not just women, should know how to do. Through the book the author tries to either lessen those traits and make the character seem more independent, but doesn't succeed and, while the character does soften some, she remains suspicious for no real reason, feels sorry for herself and/or has to keep reminding herself of how lucky she is to have what she has. And what man or woman, who discovers that her/his divorce attorney is the paramour of his/her spouse, wouldn't go directly to either the state bar association or to another attorney with the facts of the case, including that the attorney lied to her, encouraged her to sign paperwork not in her best interests, etc.? Ignorance of the law is no excuse is not just a saying, but words to live by. Just as you should always get a second opinion on big health issues, you should always get a second opinion on big law issues (believe me, I worked in a law office for 4 decades -- always be alert and cautious). Besides that, the book seemed more a romcom than a mystery. Bleh. In any event, I never did warm up to Doreen or ever feel sorry for her or particularly wish her well. So, Lovely Lethal Gardens, will not be a series I pursue.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Celia Buell

    Last month I read a few cozies that were not exactly what I had hoped I would get out of the genre. I started reading them for small-town feels and quirky, lovable, real characters. I'm afraid to say the few I read in May didn't exactly fit those vibes. So I was a little bit wary when I first started reading Arsenic in the Azaleas. I'm happy to report this novel was the new look at the genre that I needed this month. I loved Doreen as a character. She was cute, funny, and relatable, and she had t Last month I read a few cozies that were not exactly what I had hoped I would get out of the genre. I started reading them for small-town feels and quirky, lovable, real characters. I'm afraid to say the few I read in May didn't exactly fit those vibes. So I was a little bit wary when I first started reading Arsenic in the Azaleas. I'm happy to report this novel was the new look at the genre that I needed this month. I loved Doreen as a character. She was cute, funny, and relatable, and she had true motivation and appreciation for everything she did in the novel. Arsenic in the Azaleas starts off with the main character, Doreen, moving to her grandmother's house in her small Canadian town after a toxic marriage ends in an ugly divorce. Just after moving in, she discovers a dead body on her porch. As in a lot of cozy mysteries, she tries to look at the case and figure the culprit out for herself, but she doesn't do this in a reckless or dangerous way, in contrast to a lot of cozy mystery heroines. She knows when to step back and let the police handle their job, but she can't help being in the wrong place at the wrong time, nor can she stop herself from finding interesting clues while cleaning out the old house she's inherited. One thing that made this novel infinitely better was the three pets. There was Goliath, the cat she inherited with the house, who has a love-hate relationship with her Bassett hound Mugs. Mugs is the one who actually discovers most of the disturbing evidence, and insists on Doreen knowing about it. And then there's Thaddeus, the talking African Gray parrot who always says everything twice, starting with "Body in the garden. Body in the garden." He was easily my favorite, and he was great comic relief when the crime was at its worst. I also hate to say it, with everything that's going on with the police violence in the real world, but the officer Mack was another one of my favorite characters. Although he chastised Doreen often for her involvement, he seemed to not really mind, and they work well together. I kept seeing him as Hopper from Stranger Things. Also, and again I feel bad for saying this with the current climate, but I really hope Doreen is on the force by the end of the series. Speaking of the series, I definitely want to get my hands on the next book. I really want to see what Doreen and her hilarious animal family do next. And, I'm really rooting for a relationship between her and Mack. I will definitely look to see where I can find Bones in the Begonias at a low price. This was good and laugh-out-loud hilarious at a time when I needed something to put a smile on my face.

  14. 5 out of 5

    ☼♎ Carmen the Bootyshaker Temptress ☼♎

    Good story I'm going to date this book 3.5 stars. It was a fun cozy story. Between the animals and the bodies turning up, Doreen wasn't expecting all the fun that came with living in her grandmothers house. Even grandma was a funny character. But yeah I was being sarcasm i said Doreen was having fun but she did turn out to be in the wrong place every time and the neighbors didn't think very highly of her. New girl moves in and bodies turn up. Yeah I wouldn't want to become too friendly. Hahahaha Good story I'm going to date this book 3.5 stars. It was a fun cozy story. Between the animals and the bodies turning up, Doreen wasn't expecting all the fun that came with living in her grandmothers house. Even grandma was a funny character. But yeah I was being sarcasm i said Doreen was having fun but she did turn out to be in the wrong place every time and the neighbors didn't think very highly of her. New girl moves in and bodies turn up. Yeah I wouldn't want to become too friendly. Hahahaha

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sandee

    Doreen has moved into her grandmother's house and added ownership of Nan's cat and bird to her dog, creating a crowd in the house. Doreen's first day blows up with the discovery of a body in the back yard. This is a fun cozy mystery with the requisite handsome detective, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The characters are likable, the mystery interesting and animals adorable. I found the characters a little simplistic but still fun. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in t Doreen has moved into her grandmother's house and added ownership of Nan's cat and bird to her dog, creating a crowd in the house. Doreen's first day blows up with the discovery of a body in the back yard. This is a fun cozy mystery with the requisite handsome detective, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The characters are likable, the mystery interesting and animals adorable. I found the characters a little simplistic but still fun. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

  16. 4 out of 5

    A.M.

    Doreen the ex-trophy wife has nowhere to go and little money to live on, so she ends up moving into her Nan’s house. *** I stalled at writing the summary; it’s just so silly. Her husband was having an affair with her lawyer and she signed off on everything and was left with nothing. [Report her to the Bar Association, you stupid cow. Get it undone. It’s YOUR money.] And why would her Nan move out weeks/months before Doreen arrived? Long enough for weeds to reach waist height in the yard? And she lef Doreen the ex-trophy wife has nowhere to go and little money to live on, so she ends up moving into her Nan’s house. *** I stalled at writing the summary; it’s just so silly. Her husband was having an affair with her lawyer and she signed off on everything and was left with nothing. [Report her to the Bar Association, you stupid cow. Get it undone. It’s YOUR money.] And why would her Nan move out weeks/months before Doreen arrived? Long enough for weeds to reach waist height in the yard? And she left her beloved pets behind, a grey parrot and a Maine coon cat, to fend for themselves? Their food is in the house but who the heck has been feeding them? BUT Nan’s a five minute walk away in a retirement home… not that Doreen bothered to visit her first. And none of it makes ANY sense. Doreen is so stupid she’s really irritating. Mack, the detective she’s been eyeing off has to make his own coffee even though she prides herself as being a great hostess because she doesn’t know how to open the coffeemaker. And she didn’t even know it had been coffee. She walked over and studied the bag. “Nothing on it says coffee.” She felt his stare of surprise. He quietly said in a calm voice, “It says espresso.” She nodded. “I read that. I didn’t realize that was the same kind of coffee one could use to make coffee in a coffeemaker.”(p. 61). A socialite… who doesn’t know what espresso is??? [and editing - quietly calm is redundant] Her dog chews on a human finger so she calls the cops. Mack cleared his throat beside her. “We’ll be here every day until we have searched the whole place.” She stared at him. “Why?” “Because a dead body was found on your property.” (p. 70). Duh… the parrot is smarter than she is. And the cop has to point out to her that her Nan has moved out to give her the house. That’s it. I’m done. Did not finish at 25%

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kelley Allen

    Doreen leaves a life of luxury and no responsibilities due to a douche of a husband and heads for a fresh start. Little did she know moving into Nan's fully furnished, cluttered, antiquated home would lead to an interesting first week of murder and mayhem. Along with the house, she gets murder, mayhem, a hunky detective, a menagerie of unique critters, and a new look on life. From the minute I started reading, I could not put this book down. Loved it! I was hooked from page 1. I think I may have Doreen leaves a life of luxury and no responsibilities due to a douche of a husband and heads for a fresh start. Little did she know moving into Nan's fully furnished, cluttered, antiquated home would lead to an interesting first week of murder and mayhem. Along with the house, she gets murder, mayhem, a hunky detective, a menagerie of unique critters, and a new look on life. From the minute I started reading, I could not put this book down. Loved it! I was hooked from page 1. I think I may have found my next series to read. Bravo to Dale Mayer for an outstanding story!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    This is the first book in the Lovely Lethal Gardens series. When I first read about this book, I wasn’t very interested in reading it. I don’t really like the amateur sleuth genre. Since I love Dale Mayer’s other series I decided to give it a chance and I’m glad I did. Doreen was a trophy wife that never had to do anything for herself. After her separation, she needs to learn how to take care of herself. She moves into her grandmother’s house and finds that she has a cat and parrot in addition t This is the first book in the Lovely Lethal Gardens series. When I first read about this book, I wasn’t very interested in reading it. I don’t really like the amateur sleuth genre. Since I love Dale Mayer’s other series I decided to give it a chance and I’m glad I did. Doreen was a trophy wife that never had to do anything for herself. After her separation, she needs to learn how to take care of herself. She moves into her grandmother’s house and finds that she has a cat and parrot in addition to her dog. The animals provide humor, while the dog finds dead bodies, the parrot is always talking with lines that make you think he isn’t just mimicking what he hears. Doreen starts clearing out some of the clutter in the house and turns up clues to the murders. While driving Mack the RCMP investigator crazy, she actually helps to solve the murder or as it turns out 3 murders. This is another hit series and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gladys

    I found this book to be surprisingly fun, suspenseful and highly entertaining. A murder mystery read that is heavily spiced with humor will leave you chuckling as you try to figure out this whodunnit. I loved Doreen. I thought she was a charming combination of sassy and clueless. This left you either cheering her on or smacking your forehead at her many "Duh Moments". Her interactions with poor Corporal Mack Moreau will leave you in stiches and sending him your sympathies. I think I feel a spark I found this book to be surprisingly fun, suspenseful and highly entertaining. A murder mystery read that is heavily spiced with humor will leave you chuckling as you try to figure out this whodunnit. I loved Doreen. I thought she was a charming combination of sassy and clueless. This left you either cheering her on or smacking your forehead at her many "Duh Moments". Her interactions with poor Corporal Mack Moreau will leave you in stiches and sending him your sympathies. I think I feel a spark of chemistry there and hope it develops over the series. The addition of the scene stealing Mugs, Goliath and Thaddeus is truly the icing on the cake! A great book and a wonderful start to this series that will leave you eager for the next book. I'm freely posting a frank review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jerri Cachero

    A real life heroine who isn't perfect, whose family consists of a spirited grandmother, a lovable dog, huge cat and a smart parrot...and I loved them all! When former rich wife Doreen finds herself divorced and broke, she takes her grandmother Nan's offer to live in her home since Nan is moving to a nearby retirement community. Doreen and Mugs, her much loved dog, get more than she planned when she inherits Goliath the cat and Thaddeus the parrot and a body in the front yard! Doreen is a complicat A real life heroine who isn't perfect, whose family consists of a spirited grandmother, a lovable dog, huge cat and a smart parrot...and I loved them all! When former rich wife Doreen finds herself divorced and broke, she takes her grandmother Nan's offer to live in her home since Nan is moving to a nearby retirement community. Doreen and Mugs, her much loved dog, get more than she planned when she inherits Goliath the cat and Thaddeus the parrot and a body in the front yard! Doreen is a complicated and sometimes not so likable heroine, but you grow to love her as she tries to make a new life. I think that's why I like her - she's always trying! Add in a handsome detective, Doreen's talent as a gardener (which gets her into trouble), nosy & quirky neighbors, a grandmother who runs betting pools and a neighborhood full of mystery and you have the beginning of a fun new series! I've already started reading the second book, Bones in the Begonias and can't wait to see what Doreen and the crew find next!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kim Territo

    I really liked the characters and look forward to reading the rest of this series.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kellene

    A quirky start to a new series. Decent but there were a few issues for me. The bird was irritating as all get out. Doreen's obsession with how horrid her life was now although it sounded like her prior life wasn't all that great, even with all of her hubby's money. The fact that she refused to ask someone how to use ANYTHING! The mystery was fairly solid, if I hadn't gotten caught up in the irritations. We'll see if I go any further with the series. A quirky start to a new series. Decent but there were a few issues for me. The bird was irritating as all get out. Doreen's obsession with how horrid her life was now although it sounded like her prior life wasn't all that great, even with all of her hubby's money. The fact that she refused to ask someone how to use ANYTHING! The mystery was fairly solid, if I hadn't gotten caught up in the irritations. We'll see if I go any further with the series.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    This is 2.5 rated up because it's a first in a new series and, hopefully, will get better. This is 2.5 rated up because it's a first in a new series and, hopefully, will get better.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Trish Goodgame

    Riches to Rags - a great twist A refreshing change from so many books that are rags to riches stories. In this start to the Lovely Lethal Gardens series, ex-socialite Doreen is soon to be divorced from her rich philandering husband, now with Doreen's younger female divorce lawyer, who made sure Doreen was left with nothing except her old car to her name. (I'm sure there is something seriously wrong with this scenario). She moves into her Nan's house and on the first day discovers a body with the h Riches to Rags - a great twist A refreshing change from so many books that are rags to riches stories. In this start to the Lovely Lethal Gardens series, ex-socialite Doreen is soon to be divorced from her rich philandering husband, now with Doreen's younger female divorce lawyer, who made sure Doreen was left with nothing except her old car to her name. (I'm sure there is something seriously wrong with this scenario). She moves into her Nan's house and on the first day discovers a body with the help of her menagerie - her dog Mugs and the large cat and African parrot that she inherited with the house. At times I was annoyed with her character as she was forever butting in to the police investigation, frustrating handsome Mac, the detective assigned to the case. She was also so inept at everything, but could use her computer to look up people, so why couldn't she look up how to make coffee, light the stove or cook, for example? I kept wishing she would chill a bit more as she could be very "snippy", although her relationship with her Nan was a saving grace. More bodies & mysteries ensue, with quite funny moments from the animals and her Nan, who is in a retirement home nearby, and is quite the character as well. In a close knit small community, everyone knows Nan & her cat Goliath and Parrot Thaddeus, but Doreen has a hard time being welcomed by the neighbours after finding a body the first day. I do hope in further episodes of this series, Doreen starts to chill a little more & use "Google". Warning - ends on a cliffhanger, which means you need to read the next book, which I dislike, especially if the book costs more than I am willing to pay when I don't love the main character. Despite my dislikes, I did enjoy the story.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Darlene

    Just who is the most intuitive crime fighter in this series?? I started reading this and I wasn't sure what to expect but oh WOW!! I’ve read all of Dale Mayer’s Military/Seals and Psychic Vision series...I've just found a new book series to love and continue. ... Doreen makes me want to cry and laugh at the same time... I love her sassiness, her outlook and the realism of life in not knowing what to do but making the best of any given situation that comes her way. Still trying even if mistakes and Just who is the most intuitive crime fighter in this series?? I started reading this and I wasn't sure what to expect but oh WOW!! I’ve read all of Dale Mayer’s Military/Seals and Psychic Vision series...I've just found a new book series to love and continue. ... Doreen makes me want to cry and laugh at the same time... I love her sassiness, her outlook and the realism of life in not knowing what to do but making the best of any given situation that comes her way. Still trying even if mistakes and bumbles are made. She is definitely finding herself... the animals… OMGooshness they are hilarious, highly intuitive, laugh out loud family pets… and boy they make for better crime scene investigators!! This is a book that delivers fun, hilarity even when your facing some of your toughest moments, when life has drastically changed, you don’t know where your next dollar is coming from and don’t mention the bodies in the garden… yet through all the angst you remain upbeat, finding out who you really are as a woman of strength and courage. 

ARSENIC IN THE AZAELA’S is the captivating series starter in the Lovely Lethal Gardens series. It’s just the beginning for Doreen and her menagerie of pets. It offers readers serious but loads of fun and hilarity to lighten those serious aspects of life. A wonderful weekend page-turning story to brighten your day. I highly recommend this new series. If you love mysteries and humour this book delivers…
I look forward to seeing the next adventures that Doreen faces…

  26. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    With Arsenic in the Azaleas Dale Mayer proves once again to be an eclectic and very creative author. A humorous mystery novel, the book features a variety of bright characters with unusual and very peculiar personalities, complemented by a group of delectable and brilliant pets. The novel is easy and entertaining; the story flows effortlessly, immersed in the beauty of the Canadian countryside. The rhythm is steady, with there are plenty of twists and turns that make the reader enjoy every page. Do With Arsenic in the Azaleas Dale Mayer proves once again to be an eclectic and very creative author. A humorous mystery novel, the book features a variety of bright characters with unusual and very peculiar personalities, complemented by a group of delectable and brilliant pets. The novel is easy and entertaining; the story flows effortlessly, immersed in the beauty of the Canadian countryside. The rhythm is steady, with there are plenty of twists and turns that make the reader enjoy every page. Doreen, the protagonist, is a charming character. Intelligent and witty, she faces the new circumstances of her life with determination, practicality and a good sense of humor, She is very creative and has a heart of gold, captivating the reader. Her counterparts, her grand mother “Nan” and Corporal Mark Moreau, are vivid, bright characters that give life to witty dialogues and a slate of hilarious cameo scenes. All the secondary characters have well defined, specific personalities and play a substantial role in the story. Last but not least, the three non human protagonists, a cat, a dog and a parrot, are full fledged co-stars. They populate almost every scene of the book, giving them a touch of irony and cuteness. Finally, Arsenic in the Azaleas is hard to categorise. More complex than your average Cozy mystery, it is a clean and entreating book that enlightens the spirit and warms the heart. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book. Opinions and comments are solely my own.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Char Davis

    This is a sweet funny lighthearted suspense filled mystery story.Although different that Dales usual genre it's a really good book.When socialite wife becomes discarded for a younger woman.Doreen spent fourteen miserable years helping build her husband's business.Now her attorney told her to sign away everything she didn't know her attorney was her husband's new fiance.So as for her Ban steps up once more.She gives her house to Doreen and moves into a retirement community. When Doreen and her do This is a sweet funny lighthearted suspense filled mystery story.Although different that Dales usual genre it's a really good book.When socialite wife becomes discarded for a younger woman.Doreen spent fourteen miserable years helping build her husband's business.Now her attorney told her to sign away everything she didn't know her attorney was her husband's new fiance.So as for her Ban steps up once more.She gives her house to Doreen and moves into a retirement community. When Doreen and her dog Mugs move in she finds that Man left a very talkative Afican Grey Parrot.naked Thaddeus who is such a character you'll love him right away.Then there is a huge car that Doreen calls Goliath.He's a real character also.When she sees Mugs crunching on what looks like a bone she gets a treat and takes away the bone which turns out to be a human finger.Doreen calls the cops.When the rest of the body is found in Nana garden things don't look good for Nan.That's when Doreen and her animal group start snooping to try and clear Mans name.There are so many twists and turns to this story will keep you riveted until the very last page and leave you beggng for more. I love the way this amazing author brings the characters to life before your eyes.I can hardly wait to see what's next by this multi talented author.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shayla Markham

    Arsenic in the Azaleas (Lovely Lethal Gardens Book 1) by Dale Mayer Doreen Montgomery leaves her wealthy, controlling husband and 14-year marriage behind to move to a lovely community in British Columbia to start over. She is new owner of her grandmother Nan's old house that needs plenty of TLC. Nan takes up residence in assisted living just a few blocks away (where she continues her secret hobby! ). Doreen's Bassett Hound, Mugs, right away becomes friends with Nan's two intelligent pets Thaddeus Arsenic in the Azaleas (Lovely Lethal Gardens Book 1) by Dale Mayer Doreen Montgomery leaves her wealthy, controlling husband and 14-year marriage behind to move to a lovely community in British Columbia to start over. She is new owner of her grandmother Nan's old house that needs plenty of TLC. Nan takes up residence in assisted living just a few blocks away (where she continues her secret hobby! ). Doreen's Bassett Hound, Mugs, right away becomes friends with Nan's two intelligent pets Thaddeus, the vocal parrot, and Goliath, the big Maine Coon cat. Doreen's love of gardening has her checking the grounds upon her arrival when Mugs brings her a shocking "gift"; a dirty human finger bone. Let the fun begin!! Doreen's first day in her new home soon involves crowds of neighbors watching while police investigate and dig up her garden/yard looking for the body that belongs with the finger! As the story continues, Doreen becomes interested in investigation herself, much to the annoyance of handsome Detective Mark Moreau. I really enjoyed this novel with it's wonderful characters/including ntelligent pets, and sudden twists (and then there is Nan's "hobby"!)! Can't wait to read the rest of this series! Highly recommended!!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    I'm surprised at many of the other reviews as I found Arsenic in the Azaleas to be a wonderfully funny, witty, page-turner of a novel where the surprises just keep on coming, and I absolutely adore Thaddeus, the African blue-gray parrot; Goliath, the monster-size Maine coon cat; and Mugs, the beloved basset hound. The main character, Doreen moves to her grandmother Nan's house after a ruinous 14-year marriage where her only jobs were to be arm candy and a glorified trophy wife to her very contro I'm surprised at many of the other reviews as I found Arsenic in the Azaleas to be a wonderfully funny, witty, page-turner of a novel where the surprises just keep on coming, and I absolutely adore Thaddeus, the African blue-gray parrot; Goliath, the monster-size Maine coon cat; and Mugs, the beloved basset hound. The main character, Doreen moves to her grandmother Nan's house after a ruinous 14-year marriage where her only jobs were to be arm candy and a glorified trophy wife to her very controlling husband. When she arrives at her new home, she has no clue how to do anything virtually for herself, and her grandmother Nan has left her home to her because Nan has had to move into a retirement settlement and can no longer care for her property. The mysteries start to occur on day one, and Doreen immediately comes to know the police force on a first-name basis. As she works more closely with Corporal Mack Moreau to justify her innocence, as well as that of her aunt, more bodies begin appearing and more folks from the small Missions neighborhood are sucked into the mix of those who may be possible suspects. I would very much like to read the remaining books in this series and would definitely recommend them to anyone who loves a lively, clean, and fun read!

  30. 4 out of 5

    MJ

    2.5 She was a bit annoying and rarely activated her brain in anything but the 'now I'm going to come up with some random thought or connection about the crime'. Lots of fumbling around being an ex barbie wife who never learnt to do anything but be a barbie wife (WHO, ever, anywhere, would have walked away from a 14 year marriage believing that she got absolutely NOTHING from it!!! There at the least should have been a Google search, but no, she just nodded at her lawyer and took the clapped out c 2.5 She was a bit annoying and rarely activated her brain in anything but the 'now I'm going to come up with some random thought or connection about the crime'. Lots of fumbling around being an ex barbie wife who never learnt to do anything but be a barbie wife (WHO, ever, anywhere, would have walked away from a 14 year marriage believing that she got absolutely NOTHING from it!!! There at the least should have been a Google search, but no, she just nodded at her lawyer and took the clapped out car she had when the marriage started... characters need some brains somewhere, even the too naive to live ones)... mean while, she's really hurting for money, but actually makes no outright attempt to get a job because she's so focused on these murders, AND then she mentions at the end how her hit would hurt cause SHES STILL WEARING HER WEDDING RINGS!!! A. TAKE THEM OFF! B. SELL THEM FOR THIS DESPERATE MONEY NEED (and the guy was a 'picture perfect' ass, so they wouldn't have been small or cheap - and that's if he didn't actually make her hand them over in the divorce!) The garden idea was only barely written into the story IMO. It could easily have a few word changes to come up with cooking or sewing being the 'plot' device. 0419

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