Meet Paula Holliday, a transplanted media exec who trades her stilettos for garden clogs when she makes the move from the big city to the suburbs to start a gardening business. Paula can handle deer, slugs, and the occasional human pest---but she’s not prepared for the mummified body she finds while restoring the gardens at Halcyon, a local landmark. Casual snooping turns serious when a body is impaled on a garden tool and one of Paula’s friends is arrested for the crime. Aided by the still-hot aging rocker who owns the neighborhood greasy spoon, a wise-cracking former colleague, and a sexy Mexican laborer with a few secrets of his own, Paula digs for the truth and unearths more dirty business the town has kept buried for years.
Paula is working hard to establish her gardening and landscaping restoration business and takes on the major chore of restoring the gardens at Halcyon. She tackles one section to start and uncovers the remains of a baby. That leads to a number of questions regarding the sisters who lived in the house and whose baby this might be. While trying to get some answers, she discovers a girl went missing many years and has to wonder if the two are connected. Paula, her friends Lucy and Babe, and Sergeant Mike O'Malley (who happens to cook) set to work to solve two forty-year-old mysteries, only to end up with another murder on their hands. Unfortunately, Paula's landscaper is the prime suspect. This only spurs on her involvement. If you can ignore some of the inconsistencies and "poetic license", this is an interesting story and the major characters are likable and well developed. Those who enjoy gardening will enjoy the descriptions of the gardens.
This is the first in the series and I hope that Paula, "MOM", and Lucy at least return in the THE BIG DIRT NAP (Dirty Business Mystery Series #2). The third in the series is DEAD HEAD, the fourth, SLUGFEST.