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Flowerbed of State (White House Gardener Mystery Series #1)

Flowerbed of State (White House Gardener Mystery Series #1)

3.8 20
by Dorothy St. James

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Cassandra "Casey" Calhoun's passion for gardening has carried her to President's Park on which sits the White House. But when she finds a dead body in a trash can, Casey has to root out a killer before she ends up planted herself.


Cassandra "Casey" Calhoun's passion for gardening has carried her to President's Park on which sits the White House. But when she finds a dead body in a trash can, Casey has to root out a killer before she ends up planted herself.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
St. James's breezy debut introduces Cassandra "Casey" Calhoun, a new member of the White House gardening staff who has the First Lady's approval "to transform the White House gardens into the White House organic gardens." While preparing for the annual Easter Egg Roll, Casey notices an invasion of weeds in some of the newly blossoming tulips. As she pulls the intruders, someone knocks her on the head. When she regains consciousness, she's lying in a flowerbed next to a dead body. The Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies investigate, taking the reader to places in the White House not on the usual tours. Credible characters, a fast-paced plot, and a light look at political life in Washington, D.C., will delight cozy fans. St. James is also the author of Birds in Paradise, a mystery short story available only as an e-book. (May)
Library Journal
Cassandra (Casey) Calhoun hasn't been working at the White House for very long, so she's anxious to please and works exceptionally hard. Unfortunately, while gardening in the predawn hours, Casey is mugged. Once she's out of the tulips, she realizes there's a dead woman in a nearby trash can. Secret Service agents converge, and Casey begins to puzzle out why a pretty bank auditor would die this way. Her own inner turmoil helps explain her dogged determination to help solve this case despite her itty-bitty physical presence. Think Reese Witherspoon at the White House. VERDICT This spunky new romantic suspense series is an obvious pick for readers who enjoy Julie Hyzy's "White House Chef" series (Buffalo West Wing), but also think of gardening mystery series such as Rosemary Harris's (Slugfest). Margaret Truman fans might also try. Gardening tips included.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
White House Gardener Mystery Series , #1
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Sales rank:
File size:
384 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Dorothy St. James lives a charmed life at the beach just outside Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband, two slightly needy dogs, and a contemplative cat. She earned her bachelor of science in aquaculture, fisheries, and wildlife biology from Clemson University’s School of Agriculture, graduating at the top of her class. She went on to receive a master of public administration from the University of Charleston with an emphasis on environmental urban planning.

From the Paperback edition.

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Flowerbed of State 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Casey Calhoun is not your typical assistant gardener at the White House. She was brought in by the First Lady to make the gardening at the White House more organic, more earth friendly. Casey is also very organized, observant and detail oriented. While getting the grounds ready for the annual Easter Egg Roll she is also developing a plan to present to the Grounds Committee for implementing her new organic ideas. Fighting back a case of the nerves about her presentation she ventures out to weed one of the park's gardens. While there she is attacked from behind and ends up face down in the garden. As she comes to and is explaining what happened to a Secret Service Agent, she notices some broken limbs on a tree. When she works her way over to the damage, it leads both her and the agent to make a shocking discovery. A dead woman that has been stuffed into a trash can. Casey can't help herself from digging into case and trying to root out the killer. Doing so she puts herself not only in danger from the assailant but also may lose her job before she even has a chance to bloom. A wonderful start to a new series!! Casey Calhoun is a gutsy, full of life character, who is not afraid to get her hands dirty. Her character develops perfectly throughout this story. You couldn't have a more perfect setting and the plot is entertaining and fast paced. A friendship that may bloom into love is also planted that I cannot wait to see flower in future editions. Flowerbed of State is the perfect Springtime read. It also includes information on how to keep our yards and gardens blooming in more earth friendly ways as Casey prepares her presentation and fights for at least gradual change. I can't wait for the next book in this series to see where Casey takes us. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Berkley Prime Crime, A Division of Penguin Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
NoraAdrienne More than 1 year ago
Flowerbed of State By Dorothy St. James Copyright May 2011 Publisher Berkeley Prime Crime Casey's passion for organic gardening and eye for detail have carried her into the most important patch of land in America-President's Park, on which site the most important home in America: the White House. But while she's readying the final touches on an innovative cultivation program for the First Lady to inspect, she's attacked from behind by an unknown assailant who then disappears. When she comes to, she notices some damaged foliage that leads her and the Secret Service to a dead woman in a trash can. With the biggest opportunity of her life ready to bloom, and all the President's men plowing up her perfect plans, Casey has to dig in and root out a killer before she ends up planted herself. Casey's job as an assistant White House Gardener is everything she could wish for. She's even working with the First Lady to design a new garden area that will utilize the new no chemical fertilizer techniques. Coming to work the day of her presentation she dressed in a suit to show a more professional appearance. Wouldn't you know that she spots some damaged foliage that "calls" to her for immediate attention. And that is where she should have left well enough alone and just sent one of the workers to handle it. While out there pulling at the offending plants she is attacked from behind and knocked out briefly. When she wakes up she finds herself being watched by a Secret Service member and then a dead body in a trash can. This is the first book in Dorothy St. James' new White House Gardener Mysteries and I'm thrilled with her main character Casey and the crew of associates that were designed as her co-workers and foils for each of her new ideas. I'm looking forward to book two and beyond and think this is going to be a long running and very popular series. FTC Full Disclosure: This ARC was sent to me by the author in the hope that I would consider reviewing it.
harstan More than 1 year ago
It is every American gardener's dream to have the position that Cassandra "Casey" Calhoun occupies. After seeing her work in Charleston, South Carolina, the First Lady hires her as an assistant gardener at President's Park where the White House is located. The First Lady felt she and Casey shared similar views that are radical to the old guard status quo. Casey finds herself face down in the mud and soon realizes someone tried to strangle her. A man looking like a black commando comes out of nowhere. She assumes he is her attacker coming to finish the job so she pepper sprats him. She is horrified to realize she injured Special Agent Jake Turner, an elite member of a military (CAT) arm of the Secret service. They soon follow a blood trail on damaged greenery, which leads to the corpse of Pauline Bonde, a Treasury Department accountant who was auditing the books of some powerful folks. Casey believes that the bankers who are visiting the President to talk him out of new oversight regulations and protestors who believe the First family is in bed with the bankers are linked to the murder. She investigates but almost gets killed with Turner always seemingly around to rescue her. Part of the fascination with the first White House Gardener Mystery is the insight into how the support staff operates though that is similar to Julie Hyzy's White House Chef Mystery. Flowerbed of State focuses on the people who care for the gardens; an eccentric group who take pride in their work. Although a deep childhood psychological trauma propels Casey to search for the killer, it remains over the top of the Washington Monument that she could carry out a professional investigation while Turner seems to be going nowhere with experience and support in his corner. Still fans who ignore the plausibility will enjoy an entertaining whodunit. Harriet Klausner
RonnaL More than 1 year ago
I enjoy books about the workings within the White House, and cozy mysteries.  In this new series, Casey Calhoun has just joined the gardening staff with the White House team because the President's wife wants to begin implementing organic gardening for ornamentals and for vegetables.  Casey is all prepared to give her first important presentation to the committee that will OK her proposals, when she is knocked out while sprucing up a flower bed  in the park across from the White House.  Worse yet, when the Secret Service is checking out her injuries, there is a dead woman found in a near by trash can.   While the murder investigation is going on, preparations are also going on for the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn, and the Rosé Garden is getting it's spring planting in preparation for a huge banking summit.  Casey becomes involved in everything, while being guarded by a bothersome but definitely hunky security guard.  She wants to find answers to the murder, and for who seems to want her out of the picture too.  Is this something related to the upcoming banking bill, or just a romance gone wrong? This is a great new series.  Lots of action, and information about the White House gardens.  Casey is a fun and complex new character.  I'm looking forward to reading lots more in this series!
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ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Anne B. for Readers Favorite Fans of Dorothy St. James will be thrilled with "Flowerbed of State", the first book in her new 'White House Gardener Series'. New readers will definitely want to come back for more. In this series we meet Cassandra (Casey) Calhoun, an assistant gardener at the White House. She was hired by the First Lady in an effort to make the White House gardens more organic. While she is preparing the grounds for the annual Easter Egg Hunt she is attacked and strangled from behind. She pepper sprays the Special Agent Jake Turner, a member of the Secret Service, thinking he was her attacker. Casey quickly realizes her mistake and on the way to the White House for debriefing she notices several broken limbs on a tree with blood on the foliage. The trail leads Casey and Jake to the discovery of the body of Pauline Bonde, a Treasury Department accountant, stuffed in a trash can. Casey begins her own investigation of the murder leading to danger. It is a good thing that Jake Turner is always around to rescue her. I love this new series. Readers will love the lead character, Casey. The setting for the plot is unique and piqued my interest. Jake and Casey play their roles well. The characters exhibit snarky acerbity, and the kind of tension that leads to passionate romance in the future. Dorothy St. James is a talented author. I found this book entertaining, suspenseful and humorous. There is great potential for a successful series. I hope the author will provide a few gardening tips in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mysteriesformeCA More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderfully crafted mystery, so well written and plotted. I can't wait for the next book in the series! The author leaves us wondering what happened with Casey's family, will Turner be an on-going part of her life? This book gives us glimpses into bits of the history of the White House, and for gardener lovers and those who enjoy the beauty of flowers there are wonderful descriptions of the White House gardens. This is really a winner and hopefully will be a long series!
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Michael Turnage More than 1 year ago
Fast paced
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