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Dead in the Garden

(Grasmere Cottage Mystery #1)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  180 ratings  ·  60 reviews
A Romantic Cosy Mystery.

Join bestselling author Dahlia Donovan on a cosy mystery adventure in Grasmere Cottage Mystery book one. With love, wit, and a murder to solve, life for Valor and Bishan is about to get bloomin' complicated in this sweet gay romance.>

Dead body in the garden? Check.

Mystery to solve? Check.

Police focused on the wrong person? Not good.

All grown
Kindle Edition, 128 pages
Published October 6th 2018 by Hot Tree Publishing
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Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  180 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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See review on volume 3 for my thoughts on the completed story:

+5 for autistic partner
-2 for that partner being off page most of the "book"
+4 for good supporting cast
-1 for being too twee, especially in the beginning.
-2 for Valor's family issues
-2 for a cat
-5 for bullshit marketing
-10 for not actually being a complete book.

First off 2 items regarding the marketing copy for this "book":

1) Right in the first paragraph: "sweet gay
Jason Bradley
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: m-m, ebook, mystery
This cozy mystery was awesome! I love the characters! Just be sure to have the second one queued up when this one ends!
Don Bradshaw
I got totally lost in this sweet murder mystery. I love the way the characters interacted with each other. Be warned though that the murder is carried over into book two so buy the series. You will not want to wait. No sex in the book which was fine as it was a character driven story with no need for fluff.
3.5 Stars

No heat, and the mystery isn't solved in this installment. But it was interesting and I'm going to give the second one a try - if for no other reason than to figure out the culprit! (Also, I kinda love Bish.)

(Never read a "Cozy Mystery" before...looks like a good one to cut my teeth on.) <--- It was!
4-25-19: Currently FREE on Amazon US - this sounds super cute and good ratings. I think I will try to squeeze this one in soon. :)
Oct 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
Valor and Bishan, who is autistic.... and did we mention he's autistic... and just in case you forgot, don't worry, the author will remind you time and time again that Bish is autistic. Not always by coming right out and saying that he is autistic (though it does plenty enough), but it is constantly mentioned that Bish has tendencies that just make him super unique. And it's hard to have any feelings for Bish because he spends most of the book in jail, so all he really comes off as is a sum of h ...more
This cozy little mystery was exactly what I needed. I was in a reading slump and this picked me right back out of it.

I absolutely love Valor and Bishan. They are such a cute couple! I love that they met at boarding school and found themselves in a long-term relationship. I also love that Bishan is a functioning adult with autism. It shows a different side to the spectrum that is not portrayed very often. All of this mixed together with family complications and amazing friends creates a cozy plot
Spunky N Sassy
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Spunky N Sassy Rating: 4.0

~~~~~~~~~~Lindsey's ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review~~~~~~~~~~

This is the type of book that is easy to curl up with. I never knew what was going to happen next and I can’t wait for book two.
Joyfully Jay
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.5 stars

I feel compelled to mention that the Grasmere Triology feels less like three independent titles that string together one larger story arc and more like one story that’s been haphazardly cut up into three chunks. Yes, Valor narrates book 1 (he has to, Bishan spends virtually all of that book in jail and is given only a few token appearances) and Bishan takes up narration for book 2, but all the drama in all three books is driven by the same murderer. Book 1, for ex
Nerdy Dirty & Flirty
An interesting mystery with a great cast of characters. I’m enjoying the beginning of this series. Valor and his friends are wonderful and I’m loving the relationship between him and Bishan.
Donovan is setting the stage, dropping some clues and getting us invested in the outcome. The more we read, the more serious this mystery becomes. It is clear Valor and Bishan are smack dab in the middle of things and I’m eager to see how everything will play out.

I read cozy mysteries quite often but this one
Kendra T
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an enjoyable cozy mystery with two lovable characters. Valor and Bishan have been together for years, and are now being targeted as someone is framing Bish for murder. Bish has autism, so the struggles he faces as he is arrested causes disruption to his routine and is very concerning for Valor, who is Bish's #1 fan. Bish comes from an amazingly supportive family. Valor, on the other hand, has a horrible family unit. They get through the first book proving that Bish is innocent, but the ...more
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked this book. Its the first in a teilogy and really as I think books one and two end on a bit of a cliffhanger, you need all three books so you can binge read them.
Val and Bish live a quiet life i Grasmere when Bish is accused of murder.
Val the turns into something of a Poirot. A great cast of secondary characters really bring this book to life.
Oct 19, 2018 rated it liked it
When I saw this book and found out it was a cozy mystery with a gay couple as main characters I immediately knew I had to read this one. I am pretty sure this is the first cozy mystery I heard of with a gay couple and the story sounded pretty interesting too. I would categorize it more as a cozy mystery first and a romance second as the romance doesn't get as much focus due to certain events.

Dead in the Garden is a pretty unique cozy mystery. The set-up doesn't follow the common pattern of a coz
Heather Martin
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
**Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie from Give Me Books Promotions for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.**

Dead in the Garden is the first book in a trilogy by Dahlia Donovan. All three books are connected and continue the same story and mystery so I’d recommend that if you’re going to read this you have the other two books already. This book and book 2 both end with a cliffhanger, so you’ve been forewarned. I am one of those people who hate clif
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very well written and entertaining story.

I loved Valour, and I'm sure I'm going to love Bish once I really get to know him. The rest of the cast all seem very real and at the same time entertaining.

It's kind of funny that this was for me a lovely romance when the two main characters spent so much of the book apart. Yet the emotions were very real for me and I loved how Val made me aware of his love.

I failed to notice going in that this was not just a series but a single story told in 3 parts.
Feb 05, 2020 rated it did not like it
This book is SO awfully written, I almost can't believe I actually read it at all.
Not to mention that I actually read all three books, because I have to admit that the murder(s) and main characters were somewhat interesting, and I at least wanted to find out the ending. - I regret the time I lost reading them, though. I could have read a good book instead! (Not to speak of the money I spend on them!)
Kristine (A Cozy Booknook)
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cozy-mystery, 2018
This is a great start to this series. It’s full of great, interesting, and diverse characters. I didn’t want to the book down. There is a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of the book, I’m eager to read what happens next.
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Super cute! Normally I’m not a huge fan of mysteries but I couldn’t put this down. I look forward to the next two
Jan 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: m-m, mystery
Will post a review after I have completed all three books.
Apr 23, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: freebie
🎁 FREE on iBooks today (4/23/2019)! 🎁
books are love
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was short, sweet,endearing and entertaining. Dahlia Donovan does a great job in giving us a story that has you entertained and loving the characters while keeping you guessing as to what is going on and why.We have so many suspects and plots going on. And who would want to hurt Bish? That is the sweetest man. He is autistic but shows us that it doesn’t have to be a hindrance. Bish is a great musician, a wonderful person and has found an amazing partner and love in Valor.

Valor is just as ad
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, m-m
So if you want to write a cozy mystery about Harrow? 1) you have to set it at Harrow, and 2) you have to have all the suspects around. That is how cozy mysteries work.

Also, it's nice that the author wanted to show a neurodiverse character in the MC's boyfriend, but omg, not every sentence about him needs to remind us in a horribly clunky way that he's autistic.

Note: the story ends on a cliff-hanger; there is no resolution.
Helen Oakes
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
*arc received in exchange for an honest review*

This was such a refreshing read! Diverse characters with great moments together. A mystery that has you sat wondering who could it actually be as well as really just enjoying the people altogether. This was a great first novel to the series and I can’t wait for the second one!
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Review

For Books 1 through 3

Rating 5 stars out of 5

For the full review visit
From that Review: "The stories appear together under one cover in paperback format at Hot Tree Publishing, also separately in all eBook formats wherein lies the rub for me.  See, I was lucky to read it as one story (still not sure how the author and publisher gave me the paperback version in e format).  Cal them.  Because read in one flowing story?  The best th
Valor and Bishan have a good life in Grasmere. They run a successful business and Bishan has his music. So why is there a dead body in their garden, and why do the police think Bish did it?

A step away from Ms Donovan's usual fair, but thoroughly enjoyable one!

After the discovery of the body in the garden, Valor takes it upon himself to try to figure out who is out to get him and Bish, especially after Bish is arrested. Valor speaks with old Harrow school pals and teachers, trying to channel is i
Jun 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: m-m
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daniel Beliveau
Oct 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this but...

Where to start? I did enjoy the writing and the story, but am disappointed that the author didn't deliver on the promise of solving the mystery by the end of the book. I feel cheated.
That being said, the cast of characters it's entertaining and the relationship between Valor & Bishan is sweet. Valor seemed a little overly dependant on needing Bishan around when it was Bishan who is the autistic, but that can be put down to his having to coddle his boyfriend because of this d
Arlene Mullen
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just loved this book so much! A lot of romance mysteries are to much of one or the other. This one was able to balance everything so well. You have Valor the son of an earl who was disowned for his life choices. He is sarcastic and funny and so caring. Then you have his partner Bishan who has this loving family, he paints and plays music and is autistic. They both went to school together and are just a realistic amazing couple. They wake one day and find a dead body in their garden. And if tha ...more
Mari  Cardenas
4.25 Stars!

Dead in the Garden is book 1 in the Grassmere Cottage Mystery Trilogy and it (and book 2, which releases next week) end in a cliffhanger, so if you don't like those, the good news is that the last book will be released in two weeks, so there's not that much of a wait.

Valor and Bishan are great, lovable characters. The story is told from Valor's POV, so we get to know him better, but he shows us enough of Bishan to see how perfect they are for each other. They've been together for a lo
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dead in the Garden: The Grassmere Cottage Mystery Trilogy (Book I)
By: Dahlia Donavan
I was asked by the author or publisher to give an honest review of this book.
I give this one 5 tiaras:

I really like this book—I read it very quickly! I love the couple Valor and Bishan! Not only do they overcome being a gay, loving couple but Bishan is Indian, Autistic, and Valor loves him for all of it! I love that they are a true couple with real problems.
I was intrigued from the very beginning as the fir
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Dahlia Donovan wrote her first romance series after a crazy dream about shifters and damsels in distress. She prefers irreverent humour and unconventional characters. An autistic and occasional hermit, her life wouldn’t be complete without her husband and her massive collection of books and video games.

Other books in the series

Grasmere Cottage Mystery (3 books)
  • Dead in the Pond (Grasmere Cottage Mystery #2)
  • Dead in the Shop (Grasmere Cottage Mystery #3)

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