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Pruning the Dead

(A Garden Squad Mystery #1)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  252 ratings  ·  80 reviews
Post-retirement aches and pains can't prevent sixty-five-year-old Lilly Jayne from keeping the most manicured garden in Goosebush, Massachusetts. But as a murder mystery blooms in the sleepy New England town, can a green thumb weed out a killer?

With hundreds flocking to her inaugural garden party, meticulous Lilly Jayne hasn't left a single petal out of place. But the pict
Paperback, 346 pages
Published January 29th 2019 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
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4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  252 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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Jan 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Pruning the Dead by Julia Henry is the first book of the cozy A Garden Squad Mystery series. As with most cozy series the story within will be a self contained one with the mystery being wrapped up in the one book and a new mystery in each additional book of the series. 

This series features an older leading lady in Lilly Jayne who is sixty five years young. Lilly Jayne hadn't realized she'd become bit withdrawn after her second husband had passed away two years before but when her friends give h
A nice debut featuring a protagonist and a secondary cast of older characters. Several neighbors band together to form The Garden Squad which secretly does good gardening, etc., deeds around town. I felt the plot was more character driven than focused on the murder mystery, however the story was certainly interesting enough to hold my attention. I’m looking forward to the next book!
Mark Baker
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2019
Lilly Jayne is opening up her garden for a garden party for the first time in years, a first step toward getting back into life in Goosebush, Massachusetts, after the death of her husband. Unfortunately, getting back into life in Goosebush includes dealing with her first husband's current wife. Merilee Frank goes looking for trouble and does a very good job of stirring it up. She makes several scenes at the party, but the real shock comes a few days later when Merilee turns up dead. With the pol ...more
Doward Wilson
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Aches and pains don't slow sixty-five year old Lilly Jayne down as she preps her show place gardens for their first viewing in a few years. Her palatial home, Windward, in Goosebush, Massachusetts has acres of gardens and Lily Jayne is throwing her first open garden tour since her beloved second husband passed away two years ago. As Lilly Jayne reinserts herself into Goosebush life, she is surprised to find what all she has missed out on during her husband's illness. Dealing with her ex-husband' ...more
Lisa Ks Book Reviews
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Author Julia Henry aka J. A. Hennrikus aka Julianne Holmes, sure knows how to pen a tale no matter what name she uses. If this first book in the Garden Squad Mysteries is any indication of what the rest of the series will be like, I need to clear my shelves for the next installments!

One of the things about PRUNING THE DEAD that will stand out to many readers is the protagonist, Lily Jayne and her cohorts are older than most series leads and besties. While I enjoy the thirty somethings starring
Elle's Book Blog
Release Date: January 29, 2019
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Actual Rating: 5 stars

Pruning the Dead is the first book in the Garden Squad Mystery series and it has become a top favorite of mine! This is the first cozy I have come across in a long time that felt more serious. I also think I learned quite a bit about gardening (my green thumb is horrible), so I may use some of the advise given at the end of the book and try my hand at it again. That being said, I really loved this book! Julia Henry not
This was a well-written and well-plotted starter for a new series and I really enjoyed my trip to Goosebush, Massachusetts. I may not be a fan of gardening as an activity, but I sure felt like the friends who made up the Garden Squad were good friends of mine by the end of the book.

There were a lot of secrets in the town not to mention the murder, but with the help of Lilly's Garden Squad friends, they all played a big part in bringing down the killer. I especially loved the showdown where Lill
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pruning the dead by Julia Henry is the first book in the Garden Squad Mystery series. Lilly Jayne holds a garden party after having isolated herself following the death of her husband 2 years previously. Unfortunately her exhusbands third wife Merilee causes trouble and then is found dead. I enjoyed this book very much after a slow start. I liked Lily and her friends that make up the garden squad and their kindness in secretly helping out others in their town of Goosebush. A nice introduction wh ...more
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, cozy-mystery, e-books
The first book in a new series Lilly Jayne mysteries and a new author for me. Lilly has been grieving for husband and at the urging of a friend has opened her spectacular garden. The party brought huge number residents to visit the garden. At the appearance of her first husband and his 3rd wife, Marilee Frank the mood of the party changed. Lilly is now aware of the negative aspects that are occurring in the town. She forms the Garden Squad to correct the problems. On the cleanup of the town's pa ...more
Gail C.
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pruning the Dead by Julia Henry is the first book in a promising new series featuring Lily Jayne, benevolent town matriarch of Goosebush, Massachusetts and a close band of friends who have dubbed themselves the Garden Squad. They have taken on the task of sprucing up the town which has been neglected over the past few years, but are soon interrupted by murder and the suspicion that the perpetrator is Lily’s ex-husband. Although divorced, she holds no ill will toward him, and doesn’t believe he ...more
Pruning the Dead is the debut novel in A Garden Squad Mystery series. I appreciated that the author took the time to establish the main character and her sidekicks who compose the Garden Squad. I like the town and most of the residents (there are always a few bad eggs). Lilly comes across as a do-gooder (I am surprised there is not a golden halo shining over her head). Goosebush is a small town that needs a little TLC. Lilly has not been paying attention the last four years as she dealt with her ...more
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery, arc
Pruning the Dead by Julia Henry is the first book in this new cozy series and I couldn't be happier.

Ms. Henry is a "new to me" author but I am thrilled to have found this book. She has written a well-crafted story with very likable characters. I especially enjoyed the fact that the protagonist and her best friend are in their mid-sixties which is quite a change from the usual characters in cozy mysteries lately. I found the characters to also be relatable as Ms. Henry developed their personaliti
Edith Maxwell
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Julia Henry's Garden Squad Mysteries debut digs deep into the lives of an older woman and her friends in a small coastal Massachusetts town. Lilly and gang solve a murder and cultivate civic beautification - but only under cover of darkness. Henry plants the seeds for a fast-growing series. Take the book to your garden or a public park and enjoy a perfect summer read.
Dawn Michelle
***Side note*** THIS took way longer than expected; because of a yucky file, I had to read this on my kindle [with the largest font] and that just take way longer than when I can read it on my computer. My eyes are killing me, but it just might have been worth it! ;-)

THIS was an excellent book - a very good mystery within the genre of the cozy mystery. I had never heard of this writer and I was reluctant to start a new series, but there was just something about the description that drew me in a
Nina Silva
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery
4.5/5 stars.

I read the blurb for this book and thought: nice setting, interesting main character and I could do with learning some more about gardening! I’m glad to say the mix of gardening, culprits, motives and sleuthing shenanigans worked well and made for a very enjoyable read.

Lilly is an absolute doll. She is 65 years young, just into her ‘later’ middle age she says, and ready to enjoy the rest of her life in Goosebush, as she’s just starting to take an interest in town activities once aga
Loved that Lilly and her friends are older, 50s and 60s. But the first chapter was pure info dump, the next few chapters were a mix of info dumps and stage setting. It was moving too slowly and I wasn't invested in the stories or characters. Also, the town has monthly town meetings? Seriously? The author, according to her bio, lives in MA, the setting for the book, so she should know better. Nope, not buying it.
Great first in series! Likable main characters and enough twists and turns to keep me guessing until the very end. I love the setting and the idea of the Garden Squad. I can't wait to find out what the squad gets into in the next book!!
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable debut book. A more comprehensive review will be on in the near future
Debra Belmudes
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4 1/2 stars
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries
I had the pleasure of reading this lovely book, the first in Julia Henry's new Garden Squad series, on a very cold January afternoon. In Pruning the Dead, the reader is introduced to Lilly Jayne - widow, master gardener, benefactress - and the town of Goosebush, Massachusetts. When Lilly's first husband's third wife (yep!!!) is found brutally stabbed during the cleanup of the town's park, Lilly and her merry Garden Squad work together to find the murderer, all while secretly, and under the cloak ...more
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A new series with a multigenerational, multiethnic, multi everything set of protagonists, lead by the seemingly unflappable Lilly Jayne. This wonderful new series follows Lilly and the rest of the Garden Squad through the picturesque town of Goosebush. See the classic New England town; the beautiful homes; the caring neighbors; the local shops; the dead body...wait that can't be right! Oh, but it is. While Lilly and residents meet to clean up a local park they find more than they bargained for-n ...more
RO G'ma
Pruning the Dead is the debut novel in Julia Henry’s Lilly Jayne Mysteries series. The storyline is well plotted, and the characters are well developed and likable. This book conveys a strong message about the importance of friendship, kindness, and environmental issues. The mystery is interesting, and there’s no shortage of suspects and motives.

Sixty-five-year-old Lillian “Lilly” Rose Jayne lives in the small town of Goosebush, Massachusetts has a green thumb, is an avid gardener with beautiful
Cozy Cat Reviews
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the debut book in the new series and it is delightful. The author has every aspect of the perfect cozy mystery in this wonderful mystery. I loved it and highly recommend this series. Well done to the author.

We meet our savvy smart new protagonist Lilly Jayne who I was thrilled to read is in her sixties. It is so rare that a author features senior women and so appreciated by this reader. We seniors appreciate a realistic protagonist for a welcome change to the world of cozies. . This is
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Pruning the Dead is the debut of the A Garden Squad Mystery series featuring Lillian "Lilly" Jayne and set in the coastal town of Goosebush, Massachusetts. Lilly is a sixty five year old retiree who has shut herself off from friends and neighbors for several years following the death of her second husband, Alan.

Deciding it was time to get reacquainted with life, Lilly elects to bring back her annual garden party at Windward, her ancestral home. With the help of Delia Greenway, Alan's brilliant r
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a great start for a new series!
It's a bit more complex than the average cozy and with a set of quirky and lovely characters.
I loved the gardening theme, gardening is one of my hobbies, and liked the Gardening Guerrilla part (that is when they go gardening at nighttime), an unusual theme for a cozy mystery.
The book is well written, I like how introduced the town and the characters and I like how the plot starts slowly and then accelerates.
The mystery is very good, full of twists and turns, a
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a well written, tight murder mystery. Lilly Jayne is the sleuth, a woman of a "certain age", who is only now coming out of her bereavement after the death of her husband. Many characters are introduced, and I assume they will also be in the other books in this new series. I hope so.
The reason for the murder, and the murderer are difficult to determine right off the bat, but the clues are there, and all makes good sense at the end. A very enjoyable mystery! I look forward to reading more
Jerri Cachero
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A mystery you'll love!

Lily Jayne is feisty, smart, dignified, stubborn, kind and lovable! A perfectly relatable new main character! I've been in the mood to read about main characters of a "certain age" (probably because I'm one too...LOL) and Lily, in her early 60's, fits the bill. Her maturity lends itself beautifully to the manner in which she goes about sleuthing.

The mystery kept me guessing until the very end. I was sad the book ended and look forward to the next gardening visit!

Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lilly Jane has not socialized much since her husband passed so when she decides to host her garden party again it seems like the whole town is in attendance. This party and the up and coming clean up of the park in town has sparked her decision to get involved again in the community’s issues. On the day of the park’s clean up the body of a woman is found in the shed that was set up to store the equipment they were using. Lilly Jane and her group of friends can’t help but get involved with the in ...more
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Widowed Lilly Jayne has been grieving for several years, and has rather lost touch with what's been happening in her quaint seaside hometown Goosebush. But when her first husband's third wife is killed during the park cleanup Lilly has instigated, he's one of the main suspects--and though he has his faults, Lilly is sure he isn't a murderer. This really should be 3 1/2 stars, but I rounded up--the lost fraction is because it's hard to believe nobody caught on to the villain before the murder.
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cozies
An amazing new series by an author I've always enjoyed reading. I'm looking forward to seeing it running for many years.
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