Three Dirty Women and the Bitter Brewby Julie Wray Herman
One day while Julie Wray Herman and two of her neighbors were
sprucing up a flower bed, they got to talking about life in general, and
people who had upset them in particular. That, combined with a chance comment
about an all female landscaping company, sparked the idea for Three Dirty
Women. While Julie hasn't actually buried anyone in her garden, she has
always found gardening to be a good way to work off frustration, anxiety, and
chocolate chip cookies.
Julie was raised in Louisville by a Southern mother and a book-loving father. She currently lives outside Houston, Texas with her husband, two children, and -- at last count -- one dog, three cats, a horse, a turtle and one fish. When Julie has time, she plans to take the "All Strays Apply Here" sign down from her front porch.
The proud owner of an overactive imagination, she puts it to good use in her premier mystery, Three Dirty Women and the Garden of Death. This series features an all-female landscaping company, Three Dirty Women, Inc. The women turn up more than they bargained for when they unearth the body of a philandering husband in a flower border.
Julie is a founding member and past-president of the Gulf Coast Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and a member of MWA.
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“You handcuffed the woman on your first date?” Korine exclaimed.
“It was the only way I could go home in one piece. She was a people piranha, just like your roommate.”
“I don’t think Dodie Halloran would sit still long enough for me to put handcuffs on her. She hates me enough already, I just wish I knew why,” Korine McFaile answered.
The two sat skulking behind the potted palms in the lobby of the Savannah Hilliard Hotel. Korine and Janey Bascom, two-thirds of the partnership of Three Dirty Women Landscaping, Inc., were attending the twelfth annual Southern Small Landscaper’s Conference. So far, barely an hour into the opening cocktail party, Korine had almost forgotten that she prided herself on being a tolerant person.
Janey came around the corner with a plate of food for J.J. The slim woman slid in behind the swaying fronds and sat next to her husband on the overstuffed couch. J.J. put an arm around Janey and tucked his wife in next to him. Janey’s smooth café-au-lait coloring and J.J.’s weathered good looks made them a striking couple. Opposites only in their looks, the two of them complemented each other’s lives in all the ways that counted.
Originally, Janey and Korine were going to room together Then J.J. had the bright idea to come along and keep Janey company. After the grueling hour she’d spent in her room with Dodie, Korine almost wished he’d stayed home to take care of business as Pine Grove’s chief of police. Their third partner, Amilou Whittier, had not been able to convince her probation officer that going to Savannah, Georgia didn’t violate the terms of her sentence The previous summer, following the murder of Amilou’s husband, Judge Carrolton had saddled Amilou with what some critics were calling a very light sentence for her crimes. To hear Amilou, the sentence was entirely too strict, given the extenuating circumstances. Korine privately agreed with those who criticized the Judge in the case. Amilou still didn’t seem to realize the magnitude of what she had done.
“If I didn’t think it would take measures that would cost me my job,” J.J. kidded, “I’d offer to convince Dodie that she shouldn’t bother you any more.”
“That’s not necessary,” Korine smiled in spite of herself at the vision of Dodie handcuffed to a chair somewhere while Korine was free to attend the conference in peace. “If all else fails, I’ll just move in with you two.”
The silent exchange of panicked looks between her two friends made Korine laugh outright. “Never mind, I’ll make it through the weekend in one piece. I just wish I‘d taken the trouble to find my own roommate, instead of relying on Sharon. She’s got more than enough on her plate organizing all this without having to run a roommate matching service at the same time.”
She regarded J.J. and Janey with something approaching her usual humor. Thank goodness she had friends like the two of them. Even though J.j. had inadvertently caused the problem, the pair of them were also the saving grace of the weekend. Her son, Chaz, had moved to Savannah not too long before, and would proved a much-needed distraction when he picked her up the next day for a sight-seeing tour of the city. Still, Korine knew that she’d have gone absolutely insane if Janey and J.J. weren’t there to help her regain a proper perspective on things.
From the minute Korine walked into their room, Dodie had started complaining about anything and everything - almost as if she was trying deliberately to ruin Korine’s weekend. Korine hadn’t even been able to unpack her clothes without being treated to Dodie’s helpful criticisms.
Janey held up the conference program and asked, “Have you decided what sessions you’re interested in yet?”
“There’s one on Soils,” Korine said, plunging her hand deep within the blue canvas tote bag they’d given her when she checked in. Korine first pulled out a handful of advertisements, making enough room for her questing fingers to find the slick surface of the program. She opened it and thumbed through. “They’ve got Steve Bender from Southern Living doing, ‘Dishing up Good Dirt’. Soil is the underpinning of all good gardens.”
When J.J. groaned, Korine gave him a quick grin of appreciateion for his having caught her drift. “I love his column so much, I can’t miss that.” She turned the page. “There’s another one first thing in the morning, Bill Welch on antique roses.”
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