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Arsenic in the Azaleas

(Lovely Lethal Gardens #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,597 ratings  ·  221 reviews
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
Kindle Edition, 294 pages
Published January 22nd 2019 by Valley Publishing Ltd.
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 ·  1,597 ratings  ·  221 reviews

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Mar 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery, series, 2019
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
Apr 09, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: freebie
🎁 FREE on iBooks today (4/9/2019)! 🎁

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
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
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it
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 :-)
Jun 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 1-star
Started out okay, but I lost interest fast. Found myself skimming through some of the book.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Kat Lebo
May 13, 2019 rated it liked it
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
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
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jerri Cachero
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Kim Territo
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really liked the characters and look forward to reading the rest of this series.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
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 ...more
Evelyn Grabas
Apr 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Before we do anything, let's get a few things straight.
1. A husband CANNOT boot his wife out of the house. If he forcibly evicts her, she can get the Police and they will get her back in the house. If the husband does not wish to live with the wife, then he can leave, but, she has a right, as his wife, whether he likes it or not, to reside in the marital home.
2. Any woman, married to a rich man for 14 years, unless she is an idiot, brain-dead or has been living under a rock all of her life, is a
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: other-arcs
She’s a natural detective with a menagerie…

This is the first book in the Lovely Lethal Gardens series that can be read as a stand-alone.

Saying that Doreen Montgomery, a former trophy wife, is going through a bad period in life would be a serious understatement. Having signed divorce papers, not final for a year, and screwed by her divorce lawyer, now her ex’s fiancé, she’d be totally destitute if not for her grandmother ceding her house in the Canadian town of Kelowna over to her as she’d gone i
Char Davis
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it liked it
The main character, Doreen is a woman trying to realize who she is after a broken marriage and left penniless except for a old Honda and her dog Mugs. Luckily, her grandmother who had recently moved into a nearby retirement home left her old house to Doreen along with her two pets: a cat and a parrot. Doreen has no domestic skills since her wealthy soon to be ex husband had the means for Doreen to live a very sheltered life. Doreen doesn’t even know how to start her grandmother Nan’s gas stove. ...more
Shayla Markham
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more

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
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery
Well-written, fun read. On her first day back in her "home" town, or the place her grandmother lived, Doreen finds herself embroiled in a murder when her dog, Mugs, finds a finger in the back yard. When the police find the body, Doreen takes it upon herself to try to determine who killed the man and why as the police only have 2 suspects, her and her grandmother. Her 80 year grandmother and she, who just arrived in town a couple of hours before the body was found. Along with inheriting her grand ...more
D. Harley Jean
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was kindly provided this book as an ARC; in exchange for my honest review. If you’re a loyal reader of this authors books; I feel I must warn you that this book (a first in her new series) is VERY different from anything else she’s written before.

This book reminded me of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum mysteries. The book while dealing with some morbid events, was truly light hearted an comical in parts, but no hot-steamy love scenes, violence, or profanity. This book can be read by all-ages
I enjoyed this, but...

Yeah, there’s always a but, and it’s this - while Doreen is an interesting character, her mood swings were a little frustrating.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s recovering from a divorce (and being screwed over by a biased lawyer), and she’s now living in her Nan’s old house that needs some serious work. So her whining and almost panicked moments can be explained, but boy, are they annoying. Yet strangely, this also seems to be a positive for the character as she is discovering he
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Moving can be traumatic - so can finding a body!

A terrific read. Wonderful plot that didn't give the game away but answered all the questions at the end. Wonderful characters that grow with the storyline and get real by the end so that they feel as if you know them personally. However wish that she could get what she's owed from her unfaithful husband and her conniving (now his fiancee) lawyer.
Penniless she has packed all her belongs into her rust bucket of a car and together with her dog has ma
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great start to a new series by this author that had mystery, humour, and a bit of suspense near the end. Doreen has moved into her Nana’s house after her divorce, trying to get back on her feet and make a new life. Only after arriving to her new home, her dog happens to find something disturbing and soon the police are all up in her backyard and business. She then decides to find some answers and gets Mack, a corporal in the force, helping her out when she finds more mysteries in her home. Now ...more
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Quirky, funny, cozy mystery. Doreen has been traded in for a younger wife. She returns to Kelowna to live in the house Nan left her as she went into assisted living. Doreen has been stiffed by the ex, albeit almost ex and her divorcee lawyer and there was not a lot going down that path in this first cozy mystery, maybe in the future endeavors as I would love to see then both get their come up-pence. Doreen and Mugs (her basset)are just hours in to the move in when a bone is found, a human finger ...more
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It's a Dog's Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).

She honors the stories that come

Other books in the series

Lovely Lethal Gardens (9 books)
  • Bones in the Begonias (Lovely Lethal Gardens #2)
  • Corpse in the Carnations (Lovely Lethal Gardens #3)
  • Dagger in the Dahlias (Lovely Lethal Gardens #4)
  • Evidence in the Echinacea (Lovely Lethal Gardens #5)
  • Footprints in the Ferns (Lovely Lethal Gardens #6)
  • Gun in the Gardenias (Lovely Lethal Gardens #7)
  • Handcuffs in the Heather (Lovely Lethal Garden #8)
  • Icepick in the Ivy (Lovely Lethal Gardens #9)
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