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The Garden Plot

(Potting Shed Mystery #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  988 ratings  ·  181 reviews
In an entirely appealing mystery debut, Marty Wingate introduces readers to a curious Texas ex-pat whose English gardening expertise on occasion leads her to unearth murderous goings-on.

Pru Parke always dreamed of living in England. And after the Dallas native follows an impulse and moves to London, she can't imagine ever leaving--though she has yet to find a plum position
Kindle Edition, 267 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Alibi
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  988 ratings  ·  181 reviews

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Judy Lesley
Feb 15, 2014 rated it liked it
When a book combines England, gardening, and mystery it hits on three of my favorite subjects. Pru Parke gave up her job in Dallas, Texas and gave herself a year to live in England and find a permanent job as head gardener at a private estate so she would have a way to support herself and remain in England permanently. Pru had always felt as if she belonged in England and the death of her mother left her alone in the States, with the freedom to pursue her dream. Literally falling over a dead bod ...more
Grace J Reviewerlady
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love a good cosy mystery, and this was definitely a cut above. Pru, a professional gardener, born in the states to an English mother had always felt a little out of place and so had given herself a year to land a head gardener's position in England or she would return home. Despite all the rejection letters she had kept her spirits up with lots of small gardening jobs at different homes. Unfortunately, whilst attending to one garden she trips over - literally - a dead body. There is, naturally ...more
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this novel and thought it very good for a first in the series. (I didn't care as much for the first in her other series so I was very pleasantly surprised). I immediately liked Pru and all the disappointment she faced really made me sad for her. I loved all her knowledge of various gardens; it was interesting without getting to bogged down. I hope we see even more of this in future books. The characters were fun, though I couldn't get much of a feel for them (even Christoper con ...more
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Marty Wingate has written a delightfully "English" novel, that just happens to also be a mystery. Pru Parke is an extremely sympathetic character. She has become an expert in English gardens. She knows plants and bothhistorical and contemporary English gardens. And she loves everything English. After her mother died, she took her mother's English maiden name. Now after living and working in Texas for nearly 50 years, she is living her dream in England as a gardener. Actually, she is doing garden ...more
Carla Johnson-Hicks
This is the first book in the Potting Shed Mystery. I had read the others in this series, but missed the first one so went back and listened to this one. Pru Parke wanted to find out if she had any family in England, so she gave up her job in Dallas, Texas and gave herself a year to live in England and find a permanent job as head gardener at a private estate, Her hope was to be able to stay in England permanently. When her mother died, she had no family left in the U.S. so felt that England was ...more
Susan in NC
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Fun, combines England, gardening and mysteries - what’s not to like? I liked the middle-aged heroine, Pru Parke, and the sweet portrayal her budding romance with the DCI investigating the dead body she finds in a garden shed on a job.

About 3/4 into the book, though, Pru’s naïveté became a bit of a problem for me and I skimmed to the end; it was pretty obvious who the culprits were, and I get frustrated with heroines putting themselves in danger unnecessarily, common rookie plot mistake that it i
Stormi (BMReviewsohmy)
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
If you want to know anything about English Gardens then just read this mystery novel.

Pru is an American living in London and she really want's a head gardening position. She has given herself one year and her year is almost up, so she is trying really hard to find work. She sublets a house from a couple who are vacationing, but when they come back she will not have a place to say. An older lady as Pru to help her surprise her husband by starting a garden in the backyard.

One day when Pru goes ba
Linda Baker
Feb 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, netgalley
Pru Parke grew up in Dallas, Texas, only child of an English mother and American father. Pru is a professional gardener and landscape designer with a perfectly good career. But when her mother dies Pru decides to follow her dream and move to England. She gives herself one year to get a position at one of the many historical English gardens. So far, she has had no luck but has gotten several jobs in private homes. When Pru stumbles over a dead body at one of those homes she finds herself drawn in ...more
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is one of those cases where I would say “don’t judge a book by the cover”. From the cover, you would expect a cute, lighthearted cozy read, but The Garden Plot has much more to offer than that! I was really impressed by this and I only picked it up on a whim. The character of Pru is an interesting complex single expat American living in England. She has returned to England after her mother’s death to make a new start and perhaps find the last remaining family that she has. She is a trained ...more
The Garden Plot is a modern version of the cozy British mystery—complete with the hidden treasure, the by-the-rules detective, the breaking-the-rules amateur detective, and an array of colorful, potential suspects. Pru, short for Prunella, is an American gardener searching for a permanent gardening position on a grand English estate but, instead of finding a steady job, Pru discovers an ancient Roman mosaic and a dead body.

The mystery unravels at a leisurely pace, a pace that allows the reader t
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, kindle
The Garden Plot was a pleasant surprise. I'm not usually one for straight cozy mysteries, but I found myself really liking the main character Pru and her adventure. There was also a sweet surprise romance in the book that made it that much better. Pru is a transplant from Texas. Her mother was from England and she decided to move to England to start a new life. She gave herself a deadline of a year to find a permanent head gardener position before she heads back home. When the story begins, it i ...more
Bubble Bath Books
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Sissy says " All the while reading The Garden Plot I was pulling for Pru to get a job so that she could stay in England, where her heart was. I though it was very clever how Marty Wingate puts a rejection letter from prospective employers at the beginning of every chapter. One of my new British friends I have met through my son has told me she is trying to get rid of his American accent and turn him into a proper English gentleman. Speaking of which, Pru meets a lovely one, and the ensuing roma ...more
It was interesting initially, what with Pru seeming sensible. But she quickly loses that edge, because the plot requires her to make some foolish decisions, slips, omissions and leaps of logic. I'm not sure Wingate can write suspense, because it's very hard to miss where the book is going towards. Pru's bad decisions stick out like a sore thumb. I mean, there are only so many completely oblivious mentions of mice rearranging furniture I can take from a fifty year old woman.

I also felt really ti
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: "Cozy" buffs
~This review is of the ARC as provided by the publisher and Netgalley~

The Garden Plot is an engaging little murder mystery and fish-out-of-water tale. The action begins when Pru Parke, an American gardener desirous of a permanent position in England, takes on the job of clearing out a neglected London landscape. When she stumbles upon a dead body along with the dead vines, a series of complications ensues. Pru becomes fully entangled in the case as well as with the lives of the people involved,
Susan Foulkes
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a thoroughly entertaining read with an engaging heroine who, for once, was nearer my age with experiences I could relate to and a believable love interest.

The plot had enough twists to satisfy a lifelong mystery reader, although I did guess "whodunnit" about three quarters of the way through the book.

I am not a gardener but I found the discussions, descriptions and history of plants and important British gardens fascinating.

I particularly liked the tongue in cheek tone of Prue's rejecti
Feb 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Pru, an American with 2 passports due to her mother's English citizenship, has moved to England. As she is looking for a position as a head gardner of an estate or something similar, she gets embroiled in a murder having (quite literally) stumbled onto the body. There is intrigue as she sticks her nose into places she probably shouldn't and against the wishes of the Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) working the case. There was an archeological component to this which I appreciated. The author enga ...more
Jan 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Garden Plot was a perfect cozy mystery. Set in England, the characters were well-drawn and likable. The mystery keeps you guessing and the story moves along at just the right pace. A little romance is thrown in and in cozy tradition, you are sure all will be well by the last page. I enjoyed this story very much and hope to read more from this author.
Fungi From Yuggoth
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Patrice Hoffman
Lovely to find a middle-aged heroine, one experiencing nearly dire straits as she makes an eventful career and life change. Strong in character and perseverance, Pru soldiers on as her temporary stay in London, and her intent to become a head gardener, are repeatedly thwarted. Fast-paced, cosy mystery.
Loved this first book in the Potting Shed series by author Marty Wingate. Just the right balance of mystery, gardening, romance, England - the perfect cozy mystery! A+
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
My ARC courtesy of NetGalley/Random House. Much thanks!

A fun little read.

For a further review: .
Pru (Prunella) Parke has made the move to live
in England after the death of her mother and the
end of a long term relationship. She decides
she will stay for a year hoping to find a gardening
position on one of the large English estates.
Meanwhile she works a variety of part time gardening
jobs and maintenance. One of these jobs takes her
to Chelsea to a job that requires immediate attention
to make the garden presentable before the lady of
the house scheduled party occurs.
What a surprise when Pru d
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
The American Pru has been in England for almost a year in which she has been looking for work as a gardener in The Garden Plot by Marty Wingate. Turned down by everyone to whom she applies, Pru is on the verge of returning to Texas when she gets a small local job cleaning up the garden of the Wilsons. After a day of dealing with vines, Pru gets into the garden shed, only to do some digging within the shed and find hints that a mosaic of a Roman horse might be buried there. This really excites Mr ...more
A 50 year-old who shakes up her life

As with all Marty Wingate books I seem to like the secondary characters better than the MC.

Pru Parke has given herself one year to make it in her mom's home country of England. Her goal, become a head gardener at an English manor house.
She finds a small job fixing a garden for a garden party with the promise of a complete redo. When she finds a body in the potting shed all plans are put on hold.
When her employer is the perfect suspect Pru decides to investigat
Jun 09, 2017 rated it liked it
A fun cozy mystery. I particularly enjoyed the gardening and archeological aspects of the story. I will definitely look for the next one in the series.
May 14, 2019 rated it liked it
It took me quite awhile to get into this book. Pru Park, from Texas, moves to England - her mother's birthplace. She gives herself a year to establish herself - find a job as a head gardener and set up her new life. Lots of job application rejections discourages her - but she is finding smaller jobs to hold her over. As she's clearing a garden, she stumbles upon two discoveries in the shed: a Roman mosaic buried in the shed and a body. Lots of suspects abound and a budding romance with the Chief ...more
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Originally published at Reading Reality

The title is a play on words; the main character is a gardener who specializes in creating new and unique gardens, and there is a plot in one particular garden that leads to murder.

Pru Parke makes for a very different heroine, not because she’s 50, but because she has chosen that point in her life to pull up stakes, move to another country, and finds romance while she’s creating a fresh start.

For a middle-aged private female to get involved in a murder inve
Jun 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: clean-cozy
American Pru Parke leaves her home in Texas and relocates in London to live out her dream of being a gardener in England. She has given herself one year to find a permanent position and although she has the skills and the training has so far only been able to find temporary gardening jobs. While on a job for Vernona and Harry Wilson, Pru makes an exciting discovery in a potting shed, but then later literally stumbles across a dead body in the same shed. The handsome DCI Christopher Pearse wants ...more
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Garden Plot by Marty Wingate is a mystery that reminds me of an M. M. Kaye mystery. A story about a normal woman who gets herself mixed up in all sorts of trouble, where the love story takes a back seat to the mystery. A very good mystery that is a little slow at times but always entertaining. My only complaint is more of a question and that is just how old is Pru supposed to be? It seems like she is middle aged at times and other times she just seems very young and I spent most of the book ...more
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, cozy, 4-star
I constantly complain about cozy mysteries – and I keep on reading them. Anyone wanting to bring up the "definition of insanity" quote can just pipe down, thank you.

And see, this book is why I keep trying them. I was cautious at first, and only downloaded a sample at first – but I liked it. And then I spent more than I really expected to to buy the complete book (I tend to resent any Kindle book that costs more than about five dollars), but … I liked it. (Insert very old Life Cereal commercial h
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pru is living out her life long dream of living and working in England – her Mother’s country of birth. She didn’t realize how hard it was going to be trying to find a job as an estate gardener. As the rejection letters keep coming – Pru picks up odd jobs around London helping out friends of clients fix up their gardens, take away the rubbish and string up lights to pretty up their spaces.

She has no idea taking the job with the Wilson’s would throw the last few weeks of her year in England into
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Marty Wingate is a Seattle-based mystery writer who also lectures about gardens and travel. She is the author of the Potting Shed mysteries from Random House/Alibi, about Pru Parke, middle-aged American gardener who moves to England and digs up more than weeds. Her second cozy series, Birds of a Feather, follows the adventures of Julia Lanchester, daughter of a celebrity ornithologist and manager ...more

Other books in the series

Potting Shed Mystery (7 books)
  • The Red Book of Primrose House (Potting Shed Mystery, #2)
  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Potting Shed Mystery, #3)
  • The Skeleton Garden: (Potting Shed Mystery, #4)
  • The Bluebonnet Betrayal (Potting Shed Mystery, #5)
  • Best-Laid Plants (Potting Shed Mystery #6)
  • Midsummer Mayhem (Potting Shed Mystery, #7)