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(Dirty Business Mystery #4)

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  262 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Anthony and Agatha Award-nominated Rosemary Harris is back with her fourth Dirty Business mystery, Slugfest, set at a legendary Northeast flower show where more than the plants are dying.

When Paula Holliday agrees to act as exhibit manager for a reclusive artist she’s expecting a laidback weekend picking up gardening tips. She doesn’t expect to be knee-deep in horticultura
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 12th 2011 by Minotaur Books (first published March 31st 2011)
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3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  262 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Landscaper, Paula Holliday, is hired in to sell a local artist’s yard art at a small garden show. A persistent gate crasher is chatting her up when the wails of a sabotaged entrant call all hands on deck. She’s left holding the bag (as in, the gate crasher’s backpack) and the plots begin to grow exponentially, thereafter.

The suspicious death of a longtime night maintenance worker sets things off on a run, shortly followed by that of said gate crasher. Fingers point at easy scapegoats, but of cou
Mar 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this series! This last one I didn't love quite as much as the first three, probably because it was set at a conference in New York and none of the supporting characters from the other novels were present, which made me feel vicariously lonely. But still an entertaining read!
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
happy to have found a new to me mystery series. Now I have to read the previous books.
Ellen Dark
Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it
It was okay, but the bad guy came out of the blue. I guess that means it was a good mystery?
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-cozy, harris

~Chestnut Hill Books
The nitty gritty of a flower show, August 24, 2012
By Ellen Rappaport (Florida)
This review is from: Slugfest (Paperback)
"Slugfest" proves once sand for all that Rosemary Harris knows how to write and write well. This 4th in her dirty business series with adventuress Paula Holliday pulled out all the stops. From the get go the excitement never let up. The characters both new and the regulars we've grown to expect worked together as a team in following and se
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Gardener and amateur sleuth Paula Holliday journeys to a New York flower show for what she thinks will be a restful weekend smiling at people and exhibiting the found art sculpture of a reclusive artist. Before the exhibition even opens, a security guard dies in an apparent tumble down an escalator. The next day, a young man who entrusted Paula with his backpack is found floating face down in the river.
Well, the more elaborate the garden, the more pests you have to overcome. This flower show h
Gerald Weaver
Oct 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Slugfest Romps in Fields of the Classic Detectives.

I grew up reading Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain and of course Arthur Conan Doyle. I was a bit of snob about not even being able to read Ross Macdonald, Ruth Rendell, Earl Stanley Gardner or even Agatha Christie. My crime and detective writers had to have an edge, a literary bent, and be a bit cynical. Now, I have to admit Rosemary Harris into my pantheon of detective writers, while asking, “Where has she been all my life?”
Ruth Hill
Sep 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Once in a while, I read a mystery book that just does not capture my attention and imagination the way I hoped it would. I never see it as the author's fault--I just see it as one of those things. Unfortunately, this is such a book. No doubt it is well-written and has a good mystery story to it, but I found myself and outsider and uninvolved. I just could not connect with the story nor the characters.

The first problem is possibly the setting. I have virtually no interest in flower shows, so mayb
Lisa Hura
Oct 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
It’s always a good thing to discover a new series that you really enjoy. A while back, I reviewed the third Dirty Business Mystery, Dead Head by Rosemary Harris, I immediately picked up the first book, Pushing Up Daisies and made sure to keep my eyes open for new installments in the Dirty Business series. I devoured Slugfest on my recent vacation.

Paula Holiday left New York City for the peace and quiet of small-town Connecticut. She opened a landscaping business and she’s getting by, making frie
Suspense Magazine
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Remember that old adage, “No good deed goes unpunished?” I wouldn’t blame Paula Holliday, the likeable protagonist in Rosemary Harris’ mystery, “Slugfest–The Flower Show Murders,” if she allowed that thought to fester in her brain for a while. Paula runs Dirty Business Garden Solutions in Springfield, Connecticut, and often hangs out at a local eatery called the Paradise Diner. As does an eccentric artist, Dunstan Primo who fashions imaginative garden sculptures out of leftover lawn furniture, a ...more
Jan 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozies, mystery
By: Rosemary Harris
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Copyright April 2011

Paula Holliday is doing a good deed. She’s agreed to help a friend by acting as Exhibit manager for a reclusive artist in her town. She’s headed for New York City and is expecting a laid back weekend, selling a few pieces of garden art at the show and maybe see some great sample garden displays while she has the chance.

Little did she know that she would be neck deep in horticultural sabotage, murder and something called The
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
#4 in the Dirty Business Mysteries. Series protagonist, Paula Holliday takes a break from her normal Connecticut milieau to exhibit in the Big Apple Flower Show, held at the Wagner Center (surely a fictional stand-in for the Javits Center)in New York City.
The series is an interesting concept but time will tell if it has legs; in any event, the logical change of venue can only add to the life of the series.

Dirty Business Mysteries - Takes Paula Holliday Manhattan for the Big Apple Flower Show. He
Allison Collins
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Rosemary Harris hits another one out of the ballpark with "Slugfest."

“Slugfest”, the fourth in the Dirty Business Mysteries, opens with Paula Holliday back in her old stomping grounds of New York City. She is there to help a friend and reclusive artist from Springfield, CT by selling his artwork at a legendary Northeast flower show. Little does she know that the next four days will involve murder, mayhem, The Javits Curse, and a cast of diverse and zany characters.

I have been a fan of Rosemary
Jun 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the 4th book in the Paula Holliday gardening series. I have read the previous books and enjoy this refreshing mystery series.

This entry takes the reader behind the scenes at a top flower show. We are introduced to quirky exhibitors, fun and multi-dimensional exhibit hall staff and quite possibly a new love interest for Paula. The story unwinds at a pleasing pace, the murder does not happen at the beginning of the book which allows the reader to enjoy Paula and the show scene. As more cha
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can you say a murder mystery is likeable, I wonder? Well, I guess I just did. This is the first Rosemary Harris I've read, and it does make me want to seek out her earlier novels. Brash, witty, and very fast paced, it is populated by an assortment of colorful characters. Since I do street outreach, the seeming runaway, his girlfriend, the kid trying to make good...well, they tugged at my heartstrings overmuch. And I think another mystery writer might have been more know the sort ...more
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Paula Holliday has gone to New York City to the Flower Show. Babe, the diner owner and dear friend, has convinced her to show a friend's recycled found garden sculpture. The town "eccentric" is too shy to go himself and since Paula is a New York native it seems the perfect set up ... until bodies start piling up and Paula is knee deep in another adventure.

Paula is staying at her friend Lucy's apartment and has many experiences with that ... a downstairs neighbor and a peeping tom that gives fash
Louise Pledge
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the fourth in the Dirty Business Mystery Series and has the same clever and witty dialogue as the others. Paula Holliday. the heroine in the series was formerly a NY media exec, who has now turned to gardening, opening a business called... you guessed it, "Dirty Business".

In Slugfest, She's serving as an exhibit mgr to help a friend out at a large garden show at NYC's Wagner Center. While she expected this to be a great vacation, this is Paula Holliday we're talking about. Death and mys
Jane C.
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
I couldn't really get into this one, maybe because there wasn't enough about the flower show & plants. (I've felt this way about so many cozy mysteries. There's just not enough content about its sub-genre, ie. garden mystery, bookstore mystery etc.) I skimmed so much of the book that I found myself not knowing what was going on. Backtracking didn't help.

I did really enjoy one exchange between two exhibitors. A Zen gardener tries to console a woman by saying 'Sometime plants die, it's a circl
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Slugfest (Dirty Business Mystery #4) by Rosemary Harris

I love a series and this one just keeps getting better. In Slugfest Paula Holliday is in NYC working a garden show for an artist friend of Babe’s. She doesn’t have her regular crew to help her when things start to go wrong. But she makes do with some new friends and Lucy. I suck at solving mysteries and this one was no exception. But it was fun watching Paula and pals figure it out.

I’ll definitely be looking for the next installment.
Jun 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Gardener Paula Holliday is back in New York, helping out a friend by selling his sculpture at the Big Apple Flower Show. Strange accidents seem to be plaguing the prestigious show, and Paula meets a number of people who are having problems with the show or with each other. There's a charming young man who's desperate to get a message to someone inside, a smart, tough security guard, a mobbed-up entrepreneur whose wife's veronicas died. Then the deaths start. The plot gets a little wonky at the e ...more
Dawn Cronk
I got the chance to read and review Rosemary Harris’s fourth book in the Dirty Business mystery series. I have to say this book was so fun, lots of silliness, and a cast of the most colorful characters ever. Paula Holliday returns to be in a flower show helping to man an exhibit booth. The shenanigans that happen are just hilarious. I had not read any of her previous books, but will be doing so very soon. I think this book would be a great read for the summer on the beach.
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
Jul 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Our gardening sleuth, Paula Holliday is helping her artist friends out by manning an exhibit booth at the annual Big Apple Flower Show in New York City.

From the first setting up day, when a body is found on the escalator, to the last thrilling scene at the ending of the show, you will be breathless following the trail (a slug trail?) behind Paula. Why behind? Because, Ms. Harris knows how to keep us readers one step behind.

This was a very colorful and interesting novel.
Becky H
May 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
I just finished this book. I love that it was set outside of her little town and we got to meet new and different characters. Its a fun and fast read. I was able to finish it in one sitting. I don't know when her next book in this series is coming out but I will continue to read these books because I really like the main character and enjoy learning new things about gardening even though I am totally not a gardner. Other than that it was a fun read, good mystery and fun characters.
Chi Dubinski
Jan 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
In the fourth "Dirty Business mystery," landscaper Paula Holliday is in NYC for the Big Apple Garden show. She's agreed to man a booth for a sculptor friend, but when some of the exhibits are vandalized, students from a local high school are blamed. Along the way she befriends a mob wife with than overprotective husband and a security guard whose mission is to keep miscreants out of the show. Funny!
May 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
I am clearly out of sync with the rest of the readers, but this entry in the series did not really do much for me. The mystery seemed a bit confused and did not capture my interest as well as the others. The extra characters were unusual and chuckle worthy. However, if this was my first exposure to A Dirty Business mystery I am not sure I would read more.
Sep 12, 2011 rated it liked it
I liked it. That pretty much sums it up. Paula is working a garden show for a friend we haven't met in previous books. It takes a long time to get to the mystery and realization that there has been foul play. So lots of build up of characters that were ok, not great, and nothing from my old favorites.
Jul 29, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a modern mystery set in New York City during a Garden expo, hence the slug pun. There are some very funny moments, and there are two dead bodies to account for. The intrigue is not fascinating, but the interactions between the friends, neighbors, and others is fun. Enjoy at the beach!
Mar 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
This series is really growing on me. Paula is working a booth at a big flower and garden expo in NYC. Vandalism is occuring and people are ending up dead too. Paula's right in the midle of it. I kind of like her away from her hometown and usual friends.
May 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love Rosemary Harris' Dirty Business mysteries! Paula is smart and funny and the situations in which she often finds herself are fascinating and sometimes dangerous. I always enjoy reading about these characters (and the gardening info) and hope that this series continues for a long, long time.
Debra Goldstein
Aug 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Who knew being an exhibitor (or working around) at a gardening show could be this deadly and delightful? Rosemary Harris, in her witty funny style, has given us another excellent Paula Holliday mystery. Fast paced with well-developed characterization, Slugfest is a must read.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

ROSEMARY HARRIS has worked in marketing for Crown Publishers and American Express Travel Related Services and as a producer for Disney/ABC and WNET. She lives in New York City and Connecticut.

* Dirty Business Mystery

Other books in the series

Dirty Business Mystery (4 books)
  • Pushing Up Daisies (Dirty Business, #1)
  • The Big Dirt Nap (Dirty Business, #2)
  • Dead Head (Dirty Business, #3)