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The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree

(The Darling Dahlias #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  2,732 ratings  ·  443 reviews
The good old ladies of Darling, Alabama, are determined to keep their town beautiful. The Darling Dahlias garden club is off to a good start until rumors of trouble at a bank, an escaped convict, and a ghost digging around their tree surface. If anyone can get to the root of these mysteries, it's the Darling Dahlias. ...more
Hardcover, 290 pages
Published July 6th 2010 by Berkley Pub Group
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  2,732 ratings  ·  443 reviews

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This was a delightful read. Entertaining, light, relaxing and informative with a wicket curl in the tail.

Loved it.
Ginny Messina
Oct 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
I love Susan Wittig Albert. First, there is something rather endearing about her author photo; she's kind of unglamorous and apparently doesn’t give a hoot about it.

And second, she’s made me realize that I may, after all, be a person who likes “cozy mysteries.” I had no idea! I picked this up from my library’s new book shelf and brought it home--despite the fact that it’s a mystery-- because it takes place during the Depression and in a small southern town and involves ladies who garden. I didn
Jul 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery

Usually I like Albert’s cozies but this one just didn’t do it for me. I hate giving up on books and I did this one. It’s not in my book count for the year. This was just so incredibly slow. I think some of it was intentional, to give it that slow southern feel. The basic plot, it’s 1930, the Dahlias, a gardening club, just got a house bequeathed to them (much to the consternation of the nephew who was expecting his aunt to give it to him). I figure he’ll end up dead or cause them problems or som
Joy Gerbode
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
VERY good read! I admit, in the beginning I thought "what a lot of gossip" ... but very quickly learned to laugh at all the gossip as it truly is just like that in small towns around the country. Each character is well developed, and well introduced so I feel I know them, though there are quite a few and it's hard to keep them straight. (I'm sure a few more books will remedy that!) I know people just like many of these ladies. The historic references to the Civil War, the depression, the run on ...more
The Dahlia garden club has decided to do their own sleuthing when their local femme fatale is found dead, of a presumed car crash. Each lady has their own niche to assist in their investigation and oh, the clues they do find. Seems the lady of (bad) luck is the Kevin Bacon of yore. But they get the results they sought and save a few perils in their doing so. So many goings on in this little town, set shortly after the end of slavery. The period vocabulary was fun to read, the customs and general ...more
Dawn Michelle
THIS was a very good read; I am so happy I "accidentally" got the 7th book in the series through NetGalley and now have to read all of the ones leading up to that one!!

There are quite a few characters, but many are just peripheral and you only have to really keep track of 4, which isn't too bad. Set in 1930 in the South, when everything was hard for everyone, this book shows the resilience that was America back then and how people kept it together in the face of adversity. And murder. Because
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sweet Escape

If you like getting to meet new characters, like the historical time of the 1930’s, and love to see the good guys win, you’ll like this book. It’s a cozy mystery that takes place in a fictional town of Darling, AL. I fell in love with the strong , independent women and the town of Darling. There’s some recipes at the end of the book of the food that was mentioned throughout the story. I’m looking forward to trying one!
Stacie  Haden
Steel Magnolias without the drama. :)

I love the Darling Dahlia's, the sense of time and place (Alabama 1930) and a good simpler times, southern cozy mystery. I'll continue with this series!

Ps. I also enjoy her other series, starting with "Death at Bishop's Keep" under the pseudonym Robin Paige (Victorian era mystery set in England)
Oct 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Not for everyone but I enjoyed this glimpse of the old south and a ladies' garden club. ...more
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a delight to listen to in the car!
Nov 28, 2017 rated it liked it
It started out a bit slow but the characters were being introduced to us.

Then the storyline picked up.

It is a book set in the south during the Depression. So the storyline is a bit slower than some others but still enjoyable.

Barbara Cromer
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Nice easy read. Better than her "China Bayles" books. ...more
I was trawling around the mystery section of the library, as one is wont to do, and I came across these books. The author, Susan Wittig Albert, has written a lot of books in a lot of different series, but what attracted me to these were the covers (and the clever titles).

I have to admit, I was a little hesitant. Set in Depression-era southern Alabama, with a huge warning in the front of the book for possibly offensive language when referring to the black characters, I nearly put it back. But aft
Mary Ronan Drew
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Susan Wittig Albert is well-known for her cozy mystery series featuring China Bayles with titles such as Thyme of Death and Rosemary Remembered. She also writes a Victorian series with her husband, Bill Albert, under the pseudonym Robin Paige. If you are a cozy fan and have read any of these you will be delighted to know she has started a new series, taking place during the depression, in a fictional town in Alabama (probably based on Monroeville) called Darling, "which has 4 churches, 907 good ...more
Sep 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
If you enjoy Susan Wittig Albert's books, you will probably enjoy this one. Somewhere between her China Bayles series and her Beatrix Potter series, this one is a fairly light hearted romp into a different world and time.
The Dahlias are a gardening club in the small (fictional) town of Darling, Alabama. When a friend of two of the members is discovered dead, they decide to investigate the unusual circumstances surrounding it- and the funny goings-on at the bank at the same time.
The book is well
C.J. Prince
Jun 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
You probably know by now that I have a thing about titles. I want to remember them and this one also falls into the category of forgettable.

However, if you've ever read Susan Wittig Albert, you always want to read Susan Wittig Albert. And a new series. How could I resist.

The story begins with a slow pace, lots of wonderful description (she does incredible research on all her historical novels), in Darling, Alabama in May 1930. Post depression in the south combines with the women's gardening clu
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a bit of a slow start because there are so many characters and this had 4 mysteries to solve. I fell in love with the Dahlia's. They remind me of a women's group I am a member of. They are a warm loving group of women who are each very interesting and independent personalities. They accept ( but don't like) the attitudes of the males with whom they come in contact. Since the time of this novel is in the 30's South, chauvinism is rampant.They choose not to buck the system. When they solv ...more
Jul 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010-books-read
I really enjoyed this first book in Susan Wittig Albert's new cozy mystery series. The Dahlias are members of the Darling, Alabama gardening club. It's 1930, just at the beginning of the Depression, and there is a great deal of worry that the town's only bank may be failing. The rather wild young woman who works the cosmetic counter at the local pharmacy, has been discovered shot to death in a wrecked car. There has been an escape from the local prison farm, and is Ophelia Snow's husband having ...more
Aug 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This is a new series by one of my favorite authors, set in 1930. Just the fact that it was set so long ago in a very racist area should mean that I wouldn't like it, but I really liked it. And not only because one of the characters is named Ophelia Snow!!

The Dahlias are women comprising a gardening club in Darling, Alabama. I really enjoyed reading this, and found that I was really immersed in the book and it was somewhat of a culture shock when I quit reading and came back to the "real world."

Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
First book in series. The Darling Dahlias are the gardening club of Darling, Alabama. The book begins in May, 1930 with the garden club being the beneficiary of a home and some land of a recently deceased member. For me, the book started a bit slowly but picked up about half-way through.. That is longer than I give most books but I have heard so many good things about Ms. Albert's books so I stayed the course. I am very glad I did because the rest of book was much better and easier to read. A my ...more
This was a fun book to read. I really enjoyed the characters and the setting. I liked learning about the times of the 1930s and the location of the state of Alabama from the book. The mystery was a simple one yet entertaining and the way it was told reminded me of Rita Mae Brown's works. I've really enjoyed Albert's other series featuring China Bayles and the way she wrote this book seemed a different style from that series, but it was still an enjoyable one. I look forward to reading more about ...more
Judy Iliff
Jul 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Susan has done it again! This is the first book of a new series set in a small town in Alabama in the 1930s. Even though I was born in the late 40's and raised in the Black Hills of South Dakota, so many, many descriptions Albert included in the book took me back to my childhood. There are great descriptions of gardening and plants, some of which I knew and many that I did not. I had never heard of a Cucumber Tree. While a mystery, the story is character-driven and, to me, those are the best. It ...more
Megan Mccann
Feb 02, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a fun series, not high literature, but enjoyable. I do like that the author does not sugarcoat the fact that this is set in the post-confederate South. We may not like some of the actions and words of the characters, but it is true to the time frame it is set in. Fact is, it was a lot worse at the time than she depicts -- but race has little to do with her plots, so I forgive her that. As a Southern woman, I feel it is important we never forget where we were, to remind us how far we have ...more
Nancy Ellis
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
A thoroughly enjoyable "light" read about a garden club (the Dahlias) in small-town Alabama in 1930. Yes, there are a couple of mysteries in the plot, but nothing too intellectually demanding, and there are plenty of fun characters! It's entertaining and also interesting to read about life back then.....makes you realize how many "things" we take for granted now and can't imagine doing without! I'm looking forward to reading more of her books. ...more
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Don't read it for the mystery. Read it for the 1930s Alabama small town ambiance. The ladies of the Darling, AL gardening club, called the Dahlias, stand by each other in thick and thin. They find a murderer, an embezzler, an escaped convict, and someone who is just a darn fool. A handful of foods mentioned have recipes at the end. Anyone up for trying peanut butter meringue pie? My teeth ache just at the thought, but I'd give it a try. ...more
Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I think this is my new favorite Susan Wittig Albert series! The series is set in 1930s Alabama and it feels real. I liked the characters, the dialogue, and the mysteries. Yep, there's more than one big mystery, rather there are several small ones to go with the main mystery. Definitely a good one to read or listen to. Can highly recommend it. ...more
Susan Tweit
Sep 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This first book in Susan Albert's newest mystery series is a charming read, with well-drawn characters and beautiful sense of place and history. It's a great book to pick up when you want to immerse yourself in a small town and its era, and just enjoy the story unfolding. It's also quietly subversive. In sum: a real delight! ...more
Kelsey Hanson
Jul 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
I definitely liked the great depression backdrop. It was very interesting to see how average families were able to get by. The actual mystery (mysteries) is kinda convoluted. Some of them are very interesting while others are just kinda confusing. The characters themselves are kinda bland and perhaps a bit too sweet at times, I kept confusing them. Still, not a bad quick mystery.
Jul 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Picked up my copy yesterday and read it last night. It is great love the darling dahlias, such a wide range of characters and a multi layered mysteries You did it again Susan. I am ready for the next one.
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I absolutely love these Darling Dahlia Stories. I like to think back on times when life was simpler. In some respects that is. Putting the wash through the wringer and hanging it out to dry is not that appealing. But the stories are nice.
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Susan is the author/co-author of biographical/historical fiction, mysteries, and nonfiction. Now in her 80s and continuing to write, she says that retirement is not (yet) an option. She publishes under her own imprint. Here are her latest books.

A PLAIN VANILLA MURDER, #27 in the long-running China Bayles/Pecan Springs series.

Two Pecan Springs novella trilogies: The Crystal Cave Trilogy (featuring

Other books in the series

The Darling Dahlias (9 books)
  • The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies (The Darling Dahlias #2)
  • Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose (Darling Dahlias #3)
  • The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star (The Darling Dahlias, #4)
  • The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush (The Darling Dahlias, #5)
  • The Darling Dahlias and the Eleven O'Clock Lady (The Darling Dahlias, #6)
  • The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover (The Darling Dahlias, #7)
  • The Darling Dahlias and the Poinsettia Puzzle (The Darling Dahlias, #8)
  • The Darling Dahlias And The Voodoo Lily

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