In Dearly Depotted, the third book in Kate Collins's Flower Shop Mystery saga (Mum's the Word, Slay It with Flowers), Abby Knight -- the new owner of Bloomers florists -- is having a Fourth of July from Hell. A reluctant bridesmaid in her drama queen cousin's wedding, Abby must do the flowers for the pretentious gala, wear a dress that makes her look like a clown, babysit a wandering grandma...and find out who murdered a wedding crasher!
Abby's flighty cousin Jillian has jilted four men at the altar already -- so, as the wedding approaches, stress levels are understandably high for everyone involved. For Abby this is especially true: Not only is she forced to wear a hideous dress and work overtime as emergency analyst for the would-be runaway bride; her "weasel of an ex-fiancé" is the best man. But, against the odds, Jillian makes it to the altar, and the wedding goes off without a hitch. That is, until Abby finds the body of Jack Snyder, an ex-con mysteriously dressed in a waiter's uniform, behind the minister's platform in the gazebo. With the help of hunky restaurateur Marco Salvare and her assistants Grace and Lottie, Abby tries to weed out the real killer from a multitude of thorny suspects.
Collins's Dearly Depotted is everything a good mystery should be: a compelling narrative with an interesting cast of characters (and suspects!) and a lovable protagonist whom readers can empathize with -- all with a shocker of a conclusion guaranteed to wow. Paul Goat Allen