Friday, September 27, 2019



Literary caterer Letitia ‘Tish’ Tarragon is preparing her English Secret Garden-themed luncheon for Coleton Creek’s annual garden club awards, but when she is taken on a tour of some of the top contenders with the garden club’s president, Jim Ainsley, Tish is surprised at how seriously the residents take the awards – and how desperate they are to win.

Wealthy, retired businessman Sloane Shackleford has won the coveted best garden category five years in a row, but he and his Bichon Frise, Biscuit, are universally despised. When Sloane’s bludgeoned body is discovered in his pristine garden, Tish soon learns that he was disliked for reasons that go beyond his green fingers. Have the hotly contested awards brought out a competitive and murderous streak in one of the residents?

Book Details:

Title: The Garden Club Murder

Author: Amy Patricia Meade

Genre: cozy mystery

Series: A Tish Tarragon Mystery, book 2

Publisher: Severn House Publishers (September 1, 2019)

Print length: 208 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours


Strangely enough, my Tish Tarragon mystery series began, not as a culinary mystery, but as an answer to a call for a mystery featuring animals and a small town veterinary office.

My sample pages for the veterinary mystery were ultimately rejected, but my agent and I so loved the characters of Julian Jefferson Davis, Mary Jo Okensholt, Celestine Rufus, and the small town setting that they deserved their own series—a series that did not involve a veterinary office. But if not a veterinary office, then where?

During a flurry of pre-Christmas emails exchanged while I was visiting in Vermont, my agent finally asked: “Aside from writing, what are you passionate about?”

The answer was clear to anyone who’s even glanced at my social media accounts. Cooking.

After a few more emails, and probably a few glasses of holiday wine, we decided to replace the capable brunette Dr. Reed with the blonde cook, Tish Tarragon, and set the series at a literary café and catering business just outside Richmond, Virginia, as I was living in Williamsburg, Virginia at the time.

We also agreed to include more than a few terrible puns on the menu. Recharged and with tongue fully in cheek, I set to work on a synopsis and the sample pages immediately after Christmas. By May, I had secured a two-book publishing contract with Severn House Books.

I’ve been fortunate to be able to write about my passion for cooking in my preferred genre. With the publication of The Garden Club Murder, I’ve had the thrill of combining my passion for cooking with my passion for gardens.

I’m not going to lie. I’ve not had the best relationships with some of the plants in my keep. I don’t possess a black thumb, but it’s certainly not bright green either. Perhaps more a shade of olive.

However since moving out of snowy Vermont, I had become a great fan of visiting gardens and exploring new plants and flowers I had never seen. Spring and summer Saturday mornings in Williamsburg meant visiting Colonial Williamsburg marketplace for its weekly farmer’s market and then a wander through its many gardens. On each visit we’d mark the progression of daffodils and tulips as they poked their heads through the early March soil and were gradually replaced by peonies, roses, phlox, and, finally, asters.

When we left Williamsburg to settle in England, I was excited to explore our new home, but was sad to leave our garden jaunts behind. Little did I know that new garden wonders awaited. 

Agatha Christie’s holiday home of Greenway was to become a frequent spot for passing a lazy Sunday afternoon. There were garden walks to enjoy and the progression of blooms in the walled garden as well as the trails that follow the River Dart and wind up at The Battery and the boat house, the inspiration for Dame Agatha’s Dead Man’s Folly. And then there was the jewel of Devon, Coleton Fishacre, with its exotic gardens and subtropical climate. Winding paths that led through fields of bluebells in April and forests of blooming camelias in winter.

Armed with my newfound appreciation for all things green, I set about sharing my affection for the plant world in my second Tish Tarragon mystery, The Garden Club Murder, which takes place at a garden competition in the over-sixty community of Coleton Creek.

Paying homage not just to Coleton Fishacre, but to gardens on both sides of the pond, my novel depicts a four-square colonial garden filled with Sweet Williams, herbs, and other heirloom plants, a traditional rose-filled English cottage garden, a pastoral wildflower garden replete with pond, an evergreen garden filled with trees and shrubs of varying colors and textures, and finally a modern garden with a water feature I’d only heard about after my visit to Coleton: a rill, or stream.

Like each garden I’ve visited, the gardens in The Garden Club Murder have their own unique character and also reflect the people who built them. I hope you enjoy your visit with the gardens and residents of Hobson Glen and Coleton Creek.


 Author of the critically acclaimed Marjorie McClelland Mysteries, Amy Patricia Meade is a native of Long Island, New York where she cut her teeth on classic films and books featuring Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown.

After stints as an Operations Manager for a document imaging company and a freelance technical writer, Amy left the bright lights of New York City and headed north to pursue her creative writing career amidst the idyllic beauty of Vermont’s Green Mountains.

Now residing in Bristol, England, Amy spends her time writing mysteries with a humorous or historical bent. When not writing, Amy enjoys traveling, testing out new recipes, classic films, and exploring her new home.

Connect with Amy:
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