The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree (Darling Dahlias Series #1) [NOOK Book]

Overview

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.


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The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree (Darling Dahlias Series #1)

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Overview

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.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A small Southern town blooms into life in Albert's nostalgic first in a new Depression-era mystery series. Darling, Ala., is in the midst of financial upheaval surrounding the Darling Savings and Trust, though the ladies of the Darling Dahlias Garden Club are still excited about their clubhouse, an old estate recently inherited from Mrs. Dahlia Blackstone, whose garden includes a possibly haunted cucumber tree, which might shelter a buried treasure. Also distracting the members--especially widow and probate clerk Verna Tidwell; legal secretary and freelance journalist Elizabeth "Lizzy" Lacy, and Mayor Jed Taylor's wife, Ophelia Snow--are a prison break and the disappearance of drugstore clerk Eva Louise "Bunny" Scott, the town tart. After Bunny turns up dead in a wrecked stolen van, the ladies investigate. Veteran Albert (Holly Blues) combines great period detail with surefooted sleuthing that should satisfy fans and attract new ones. (July)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101188385
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/6/2010
  • Series: Darling Dahlias Series , #1
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 65,857
  • File size: 337 KB

Meet the Author

Susan Wittig Albert
Susan Wittig Albert grew up on a farm in Illinois and earned her Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley. A former professor of English and a university administrator and vice president, she is the author of the China Bayles Mysteries, the Darling Dahlias Mysteries, and the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. Some of her recent titles include Widow’s Tears, Cat’s Claw, The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose, and The Tale of Castle Cottage. She and her husband, Bill, coauthor a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries under the name Robin Paige, which includes such titles as Death at Glamis Castle and Death at Whitechapel.

Biography

Susan Wittig Albert grew up on a farm in Illinois and earned her Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley. A former professor of English and a university administrator and vice president, she now lives with her husband, Bill, in the country outside of Austin, Texas. In addition to the China Bayles mysteries, she writes the Victorian Mysteries series, along with her husband, under the pseudonym of Robin Paige.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Books, LTD.

Good To Know

In our exclusive interview with Albert, she revealed some fun facts about herself:

"My first job was selling ladies' undies at Woolworth's for 35 cents an hour in Danville, Illinois."

I learned to garden from my mother, who thought that the most important thing you did every spring was to plant the potatoes. I learned to read from my father, who never planted a potato in his life. Somehow, I managed to create a life and make a living between these two extremes. Happily, I haven't had to go back to selling undies. Not yet, anyway."

"I love living in the country with Bill, two black Labs, and a black cat. I'd rather read a book or write one than do just about anything else in the world, except maybe for gardening and sitting in a bathtub full of hot, hot water and bubbles. Or knitting, spinning, weaving, dyeing -- I'm a fiber-arts fanatic."

"You can find out what I'm doing today (or what I did yesterday) by checking out my web log, at susanalbert.typepad.com/lifescapes (but there's no web cam, so don't look for me in the bathtub)."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Robin Paige
    1. Date of Birth:
      1940
    2. Place of Birth:
      Danville, Illinois
    1. Education:
      Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 20, 2011

    a definite change

    Well, I love this author and yet the "Darling Dahlias" was really not my thing. It was quite cutesy and very far off track from the China Bayles books she has written. I think what I was so disappointed about was that this author seems so good at developing a character and the Darling Dahlias just weren't my type of character. And there are many new mysteries like this; the baking club, the gardening club, if it isn't one it is another. I want China back.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Set in the Spring of 1930, the garden club of Darling, Alabama i

    Set in the Spring of 1930, the garden club of Darling, Alabama is celebrating the life of the founding member, Mrs. Dahlia Blackstone, by renaming their club in her honor.” Henceforth and forever, the would now as the Darling Dahlias.”

    The club was also left the Blackstone home and gardens to use as their clubhouse. The home isn’t too large but the gardens have been written about in the Montgomery Advertiser and the Selma Times Journal. There is also a large cucumber tree in front and another in back of the house. Town librarian and Dahlia club member insists they be called by their proper Latin name, Magnolia acuminata, but they are now and will forever be cucumber trees to the people of Darling. Both the house and the gardens need work as Mrs. Blackstone health was failing she was unable to keep up with everything. Inheriting the home was totally unexpected by the group but they will do what they need to do to restore everything.

    Life in Darling isn’t all a garden party though. A convict has escaped from a nearby prison, a car is stolen, there are rumors started about the local bank being in trouble and a ghost has been sighted digging in the backyard of the Dahlias new home. The Dahlias start digging themselves for information to see if the can get to the root of all these mysteries.

    Dollycas’s Thoughts
    While reading this I was struck at how similar life is today with what was going on in 1930. We keep hearing that this economic downfall is as bad as the “great depression”. This story shines a light on the struggles being faced then and it is glaring in the similarities being faced by people today.

    The author has created wonderful characters that are each vastly different but come together through their love of gardening. They also come together to help each other when without the garden club they may not even be friends. We are introduced to each and learn how the fit together while they use their individual talents to solve a series of problems plaguing their beautiful town.

    A wonderful debut to what I am sure will be a wonderful series. Susan is a very talented author and I would expect no less. This is the perfect time of year to curl up with the Darling Dahlias and their mysteries.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2012

    great start to a new series

    This will keep you enthralled and guessing. The group of ladies is diverse and interesting. The setting is new as is the time period and it makes for a really enjoyable read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2012

    The Darling Dahlias will make your day.

    A delightful story set in the South during the Depression. The characters are engaging and the plot is well developed. Susan Wittig Albert is an excellent writer who style keeps you reading and asking for more.

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  • Posted May 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    excellent timely regional Depression Era amateur sleuth

    In May 1930 in Alabama, the ladies of Dahlia try to stay optimist during the Great Depression at a time when the local Darling Savings and Trust may go bust. Twelve of the women form the Darling Garden Club, use an estate inherited from the late Mrs. Dahlia Blackstone as their prime meeting locale. The club president Miss Elizabeth "Lizzy" Lacy writes a gardening column for The Darling Dispatch while the group welcomes anyone to join them; unlike their enemy the Sisters of Spade snobs.

    As they search for allegedly hidden booty under an apparent haunted cucumber tree on the estate, drugstore clerk Eva Louise "Bunny" Scott vanishes; at the same time a prison break occurs. When Bunny is found dead, most of the townsfolk assume the floozy picked the wrong hunk; probably one of the escaped convicts. Led by their three officers (Lizzy, probate clerk secretary widow Verna Tidwell and mayor's wife, Ophelia Snow), the Dahlia Darlings investigate Bunny's death even as they squabble amongst themselves over who owns the cache found under the cucumber tree.

    The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree is an excellent timely regional Depression Era amateur sleuth that brings to life the atmosphere of a period in which people are concerned over the economy that has left no chicken in almost any pot. The investigation cleverly interweaves within 1930 Alabama though the Dahlia Darlings as each in their way struggles with the surviving the Depression. Susan Wittig Albert, author of the modern day China Bayles and early twentieth century Beatrix Potter mysteries shows her talent as she writes a great period piece somewhat in between the settings of her two strong long-running series.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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