Corpse in the Carnations – Lovely Lethal Gardens Book 3 by Dale Mayer

Corpse in the Carnations
Lovely Lethal Gardens Book 3
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer


After getting involved in two murder cases in the short time she’s lived in picturesque Kelowna, divorcee and gardener Doreen Montgomery has developed a reputation almost as notorious as her Nan’s. The only way to stop people from speculating, is to live a life of unrelieved boredom until the media and the neighbors forget about her. And Doreen aims to do just that with a tour of Kelowna’s famed Carnation Gardens. Plants, more plants, and nothing whatsoever that anyone could object to.

But when she sees a fight between a beautiful young woman and her boyfriend, she can’t help but be concerned. Concerned enough that she follows the couple out of the parking lot and through town. And when gunshots interrupt the placid afternoon, it’s too late to worry about how her nemesis, Corporal Mack Moreau, will feel about her getting involved in yet another of his cases.

With bodies turning up in the carnations, and a connection to a cold case of a missing child from long ago, Doreen has her hands full, not least with trying to keep her involvement in the investigations a secret from her Nan, Mack Moreau, and especially the media. But someone’s keeping up with Doreen’s doings… and that someone can’t afford for her to find the answers to the questions she’s asking.

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These books just get better and better! Mack has been visiting more and more, whether to try to keep Doreen in line or just because is still in question.

Doreen has been getting by with the money she’s found stashed in pockets and pinned in the clothing her Nan left behind when she moved to assisted living. She really wants a job, and she really wants to clear some addition space in the home. So much furniture is cluttering the space, some antiques, so she needs to get someone to appraise the items.

Mack does have an idea for her to make money though and that is to bid on the flower bed around the town sign. The Town Council is taking bids as they prepare to replace the current sign.

This is a favorite scene. These two are priceless.

“I didn’t say a death was involved.”

“That would be even better,” she said. “Then I wouldn’t trip over any more bodies, at least not right away.”

“I’d be totally okay if you wouldn’t trip over any more anytime,” he said.

“Suits me,” she said. “I’m okay to not find dead bodies ever again.”

“Besides, it’s not a cold case I wanted to talk to you about. I’ll think about that first.”

“Damn.” She let out a heavy sigh. “So what is it then?”

“I was talking to the city council. They want to redo the big sign with the garden as you enter the city limits. You know the Welcome to Kelowna sign surrounded by flower beds?”

“Yeah, mostly begonias I think,” she said. “At least one of the rings around the sign are begonias.”

“Ugh,” he said. “I’d be happy not to see any more of those anytime soon.”

She nodded. “They’re nice to look after, and they don’t grow too crazy outside, so they don’t need a ton of maintenance. They’re easy for large gardens and make great borders or plots.” At the word plot she winced.

He chuckled. “I can see that having you around will be a constant reminder of dead things and everything associated with them.”

“Maybe. And what about the city council? What were you talking to them about?” Her mind zinged to her ever-dwindling pile of money, and she was deeply concerned about it. “Hope it’s important. And, if it involves money for me, the answer is yes.”

He chuckled. “You don’t even know what it could entail.”

“Doesn’t matter,” she said. “I’m about out of the money I found in Nan’s pockets before donating and trying to resell some of her unwanted clothes. Which means I’ll be diving into that little bit of savings I have.”

“And the gardening you did at my mom’s place? That’ll be a regular thing, if you’re okay with that.”

“I am absolutely okay with that,” she said. “What you pay me will put food on my table.”

“Speaking of food,” he said. “Did you turn on the new stove?”

She pivoted and walked out of the kitchen. “What stove?”

He sighed. “The stove you paid one hundred dollars to replace. A lot of people went to a lot of trouble to make sure you had something safe to cook on.”

“There’s the trick,” she said, “the word cook.”

“I’ll tell you what. How about this Sunday I bring over the fixings for something simple for breakfast or lunch, and I’ll show you how to cook it.”

“Simple would be, like, eggs,” she said, “and I highly doubt you want eggs for lunch, do you?”

“Not an issue for me. I love eggs anytime,” he said. “Don’t you know how to cook eggs?”

She pulled the cell from her ear so she could glare at the blank screen.

“Okay, okay, okay,” he said. “Stop glaring at me.”

She gasped. “How did you know I was glaring at you?”

“I could hear it in the heavy silence of the phone’s speaker,” he said drily. “And eggs are easy. How about we do omelets? They are a little more substantial than plain eggs.”

Her mind filled with the soft fluffy omelets her chef used to make for her. “With spinach and caviar and gruyere?”

Mack replied with that heavy silence again.

“Oh. Okay, so what do your omelets normally contain?” she asked.

“Well, spinach is one possible ingredient,” he said, “but anything I have on hand. Like bacon, ham, leftover meat. You can put veggies in it if you want.” His tone said he really didn’t see the point. “Meat and eggs are a perfect combo. … Plus cheese.”

“Well, ham and cheese omelets are good too,” she said. “Can we add mushrooms?”

“Sure,” he said. “We can sauté a few mushrooms. So are you up for a cooking lesson?”

“Yes,” she said slowly. But she needed to ask him something, and it was kind of embarrassing.

“Speak up,” he said in that long-drawn-out sighing way of his.

As if he knew she was making a big deal out of nothing but needed to get it out first. “Am I paying you for it?” she asked in a rush.

He laughed. “No, you’re not paying me for a cooking lesson. Not with money, not with gardening work, not with bartering or any other method.”

She beamed. “In that case, I’m looking forward to cooking lesson number one coming up. Omelets it is.”

“I’ll bring the ingredients. You’ll write down everything I do, okay?”


“And, on Tuesday, you’ll repeat the menu, on your own,” he said. “You’ll take a picture and send the final results to me, so I can see how you did.”

She chuckled. “Probably better if you come back and watch me make it the second time, and then you can taste the results.”

“Done,” he said.

She frowned suspiciously, wondering if he hadn’t planned on that in the first place. “So you need to bring ingredients for two meals,” she said swiftly.

He howled with laughter. “You know what? You might not know how to cook, but you sure know how to negotiate a deal.” And, on that note, he hung up.
Dale Mayer. Corpse in the Carnations (Kindle Locations 80-124). Valley Publishing.

Of course this wouldn’t be a murder mystery without a body so, yes she does manage to find one of those in a display of carnations by the Family Planning Center that was currently closed.

However, I found her other little investigation just as interesting and heartrending. That starts when Thaddeus finds a license plate buried by the creek.

Antiques, murder, a cold case, a break-in or two, her animals, her Nan, Mack and his team all will have you turning the pages.

I really think Mack is interested, we get a little clue in this one and he does give Doreen a kiss on the forehead.

Laughing, crying and holding my breath seem to be things I do while reading this series.

I wish it was April, because that’s when the next book in this series is scheduled to be released.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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Dale Mayer

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 to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!

To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.

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