The Accidental Florist: A Jane Jeffry Mystery

The Accidental Florist: A Jane Jeffry Mystery

by Jill Churchill


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060528454
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/27/2007
Series: Jane Jeffry Series , #16
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.86(d)

About the Author

Jill Churchill has won the Agatha and Macavity Mystery Readers awards and was nominated for an Anthony Award for her bestselling Jane Jeffry series. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed Grace and Favor mysteries and lives in the Midwest.

Read an Excerpt

The Accidental Florist

A Jane Jeffry Mystery
By Jill Churchill

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Jill Churchill
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780060528454

Chapter One

Jane pulled into her driveway. She'd just driven to Kansas City and back to drop off Katie at a culinary school at a junior college and get her set up in an apartment with two other girls. Jane had made a quick stop at a liquor store to buy a bottle of champagne on the way home.

She was mixing it with orange juice from the fridge when Shelley knocked at her kitchen door. As Jane opened the door, she said, "You carry the pitcher and I'll bring the glasses. We can sit out on the patio and catch up."

They settled in with Jane's favorite champagne flutes and Jane said, "The trip was easy and rather pretty. So much is blooming along the highways in late May."

"You didn't get lost?"

"Of course we got lost. Several times. But Katie's turned out to be a pretty good map reader. I got her settled into a little apartment close to the junior college. She has two very nice roommates who are taking the same classes and it's within walking distance."

"She'll do well, I know. Is she still hoping to use the experience to apply to the CIA?"

"Don't call it that!" Jane said with a shudder. "It's the Culinary Institute of America in New York up the Hudson River from the city. And yes, she is. She felt that withthe experience of taking summer classes, she'd be better qualified to apply there."

"But she'll miss her senior prom from high school," Shelley said with a laugh.

"She will. It will save me from having to attend another dreadful prom night."

"You've raised good kids," Shelley said, pouring herself a second glass of mimosa.

"So have you, Shelley. Denise is going to go far and so is John. They're both good students and ambitious."

"Ambitious to get out of the house, you mean?"

"Aren't you anxious for that, too?"

"Sort of. But I have longer to wait than you do. My John is a year younger than your Todd. And what is Todd doing this summer?"

"He's looking into colleges on the Internet. He'll only be a junior this fall, but wants to go somewhere where they teach higher mathematics. He's also moved his bed and desk into Mike's room because it faces the street and has better light. He's still working on breaking the code on prime numbers."

"Prime numbers? I've heard of that. But what are they?" Shelley asked.

"The ones that aren't divisible by anything. One, five, seven, eleven, thirteen, seventeen, nineteen, twenty-three, and so forth. He has a fancy grid program and put in numbers up to twenty¬ ¬thousand; he left all the ones that can be divided by two in black, and highlighted the ones in red that can't be divided by three, five, seven, and so on."

"So what's his conclusion?"

Jane sighed. "He doesn't have one yet. But the higher the numbers the less frequent they are. He's trying them out on all sorts of different grids to see if he can find a pattern. So far he hasn't."

"He's a dogged kid, isn't he? I remember when he was obsessed with building the biggest thing possible with Legos."

"But, Shelley, that cost me the earth and created huge storage problems. This costs me nothing and if he ever finds out the secret to prime numbers, he'll become rich and famous," Jane said with her fingers crossed and wearing a big grin.

"So Katie's gone, Todd's obsessed, and Mike's in graduate school in Indiana for the summer. It must be a lot quieter at your house. I envy you."

"Thank you. I can't remember you ever saying that," Jane said, still smiling. "I'm also a better driver than you, but you'd never admit that."

"You're just a slower driver," Shelley said, watching Jane's two now-elderly cats, Max and Meow, heading for the field behind their two houses. "Do they ever catch anything back there anymore?"

"Not anymore. And you notice they clawed their way over the fence instead of bounding over it like jackrabbits the way they used to."

Shelley laughed. "Wouldn't we both do that if we were as old as they are in cat years?"

Jane had just taken a sip of her drink and had almost snorted it out her nose. "I hope we'd have a little more dignity than the cats though," she said when she quit coughing.

Jane poured herself a second mimosa. The goblets were tall but narrow and one wasn't enough. Besides, the pitcher would lose its bubbles if any were left over.

"We have to finish this pitcher," Jane said. "It won't keep fuzzy and tickle our noses."

"Might as well. Neither of us are going anywhere tonight, are we?"

By dusk, when the cats climbed back over the fence, Meow limping a little, both Jane and Shelley were tiddly. Jane stood up to call the cats in and almost lost her balance.

"Jane, you're drunk."

"No, I'm not. I drove all day long and then sat out in the setting sun drinking diluted champagne. That's all. Let's see how you find your own way home."

"I just live next door, Jane," Shelley said, standing and waving her arm, nearly tumbling over her chair.

"Coffee," Shelley pleaded. "Strong coffee. I'm not sure I can get home without crawling across both our driveways."

Holding on to each other, with the cats wreathing around their ankles, they made their way to Jane's kitchen. "I have to feed the cats first or they won't leave us alone."

Jane spilled a third of the cat food on the floor. She looked down and giggled. "They'll eat it anyway."

Shelley had also spilled some of the coffee mix on the counter. They sat down at the kitchen table, listening to the cats crunching their food and smelling the coffee brewing. Every now and then, one or the other of them laughed softly at nothing.


Excerpted from The Accidental Florist by Jill Churchill Copyright © 2007 by Jill Churchill. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Accidental Florist: A Jane Jeffry Mystery 1.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
ReadingRocksCA More than 1 year ago
This book was not quite as bad as Bell, Book, and Scandal; but it came close. Jill Churchill -- what is going on? This is your second lousy book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Despite what the cover states, this isn't a mystery, it's a daily diary of a suburban mom. Midway through the book, someone gets killed. Periodically, she asks her boyfriend, the policeman, how the case is going. And that's the extent of hef involvement. Basically, someone gets killed. A police officer suspects XYZ. The police track down XYZ. The police arrest XYZ. About 50 sentences are deovted to 'mystery,' (without any involvement by the supposed heroine,) spread sparsely throughout the book. The bulk of the story is devoted to descriptions of lunches, shopping for clothes, taking her son to fast food restaurants, and her upcoming wedding. Even when you think a turn of events will lead to something -- a pet dying, a former mother-in-law making threats, buidling an addition on a house, nothing comes of it. It's one long Christmas letter -- and a boring one at that. If you call a book a mystery, you ought to provide one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This title makes absolutely no sense. What did the florist in this book have to do with the murder. All the florist did was arrange flowers for Jane's wedding. There was absolutely no information about the victim, her background, why she was teaching the classes and living in Chicago. There were so many unresolved issues. Why did her children want to kill her? What was their motive? The characters in the book did not listen to each other. Jane mentioned that she did not want gifts at the wedding and Mel agreed. When she mentioned it later, he acted like he never heard it before. The oldest son wanted to be a doctor in previous books and now he is studying law in this book. Also when Jane told him about the wedding and pushing up the date, first Mike mentioned his job and asking his boss about getting time off and then in the later chaper mentioned talking to his professor about taking time off. Why did she have to push up her wedding because her parents were coming to Chicago sooner than expected without even consulting them to see if they could stay in Chicago for the additional three weeks. When she picked them up they told her they were moving to Chicago permanently. But didn't her father have vacation time. She pushed her wedding date up without considering her children's schedules. She could have kept the original date and it would have been more convenient. Her mother-in-law was terrible, but she was good to all of Jane's kids. The kids acted as if they lost a pet frog they weren't that crazy about. Mel's mother may have also been terrible, but they acted like her wanting to give them a wedding was the most terrible thing anyone could do to them. Mel said he didn't think he would ever see his mother again after the wedding and acted as if he didn't care. I can't believe that everyone can reject their mothers without any regret or sad feelings as Jill Churchill depicted in this book. Jane was also so rude. She didn't try to communicate with Mel's mother. A real wedding with only her family and a fake wedding as she called it for his family and friends?????? I was so disappointed with this book. Other people state in their reviews that they hope it is the last book and perhaps Churchill wanted to end the series, but I wish she could have ended Jane on a high note. One small point Jane's kitchen was always in the rear and in this book it is in the front??????? The editor should have told Jill Churchill to start over again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is hard to fathom how this book was ever allowed to be published. Surely there are standards that must be met. An aspiring author who submitted this manuscript would be red-lined into oblivion. How a seasoned and award-winning author could write this drivel and have it published is the real mystery here. The dialog in Churchill's earliest Jane Jeffrey books rang true, the characters were believable and likeable. There was a plot. None of this is found in her newest book. In addition to the poor writing, Churchill puts in a shameless plug to her other series smack in the middle of this book. All in all, this was not the breezy summer read I have come to expect from this series. I can only hope that the author is finished with the Jane Jeffrey books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book just didn't seem like it was from the same series as the rest of the Jane Jeffry books. The words and phrasing were odd: 'chow down', 'sweating like pigs', 'Swell!'. The attention to detail wasn't there either, almost like there were too many themes for any of them to be more than surface. The wedding happened the self-defense class happened the murder happened the kids showed up but didn't act like themselves. Maybe this was the last in the series and it was just meant to tie up loose ends. Whatever, it was disppointing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I, too, was EXTREMELY disappointed with this latest addition to the Jane Jeffry series. It's hard to believe that this book was authored by the same person who wrote the previous books. This book appears to be written by a depressed and unfocused author. The book certainly had no true rhythm or flow to it and the writing was flat and stiff and bland. The murder was almost a 'sideline'.........almost an afterthought. The books in this series are usually about Jane's and Shelley's rollicking adventures as they attempt to solve a murder and this time they were not involved in the murder investigation at all. The focus was entirely on Jane's upcoming wedding and it was written in a most boring manner! There was none of the usual hilarity that often occurs in the Jeffry household. The subplots involving the two 'wicked mothers-in-law' were redundant, continuity was often lacking or in error, and Jane herself just did not act like the Jane we're used to. And what was with the constant mentioning of the rolls of quarters? Jane told her parking ticket story to EVERYONE she encountered..........I kept waiting to see if some big story was going to develop concerning it.......but nothing untoward happened. The kids weren't much involved in this book.........the dog died.......the cats are indeed seems like Churchill was perhaps trying to 'wind up' the Jane Jeffry series. If so, it was done in a most distressing and pitiful manner. YES..........whoever edited this book was sleeping while reading it. I cannot believe that a professional would let a book like this actually get to the publisher without extensive revisions. This book may not have been quite as bad as the most recent 'Cat Who........' book (60 Whiskers), but I'm sad to say it's a close second! I'm on a limited budget and feel badly that I wasted my 'book allowance' on this insipid, lifeless piece of writing. I am sooooooooo disappointed and if there IS another Jane Jeffry book, I'll have to think twice about purchasing it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the biggest book disappointment I've had in a long time - I eagerly await each Jane Jeffry mystery by Jill Churchill, but this book was terrible! There were several storylines going on, but all of them had inconsistencies, the murder was not the main part of the book - just an afterthought, it seemed. Also, it seemed as if it were written for an audience with about a 3rd grade reading level. This was definitely not up to par and I won't bother to see what Jane is up to in the next installment, if there is one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was sorely disappointed in this book. It felt like Ms. Churchill dashed it off the week before it was due at the publisher. There's no plot, there's no mystery, there's no charm. The earlier books were terrific, but this series has been going downhill with the last few books, and this book is rock-bottom. Ms. Churchill is clearly bored with the series, and she's boring her readers as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am generally a big fan of Jill Churchill's Jane Jeffrey mysteries. But this one doesn't even really classify as a mystery it is almost entirely about the planning of her 2nd wedding [BORING]. The murder was obviously just tacked on to be able to say it is a mystery & to sell to Ms. Churchill's fans. There is very little info about the murder or suspects. In fact, no motive is ever given & there are so many inconsistencies & major contradictions that listing them all would take up too much space. One glaring error is that the murder takes place in the unnamed Chicago suburb where Jane lives. But, when the victim's children who reputedly committed the murder, are found living near by in a rented house, they are returned to Australia to be charged with murder! Huh?!?!?! Since when is one charged in the country where they are citizens rather in the venue where the crime occurred? This is just one glaring inconsistency. There is not even the slightest hint as to WHY the children would want to kill their mother, or why they would contact a reporter when their passport photos are published in the NY Times. I feel very ripped off for having purchased this book & will not likely be buying any Jill Churchill books in the future. It is so obvious that this book was just thrown together slap dash with no care for quality. IF Ms. Churchill has an editor, s/he was asleep at the wheel this time [if s/he even glanced at this book which seems questionable]. Shame on you, Jill Churchill, for exploiting your fans like this! This is not just a case of someone not quite executing their idea well - it is crystal clear that no effort was expended in the creation of this book, the author is relying on fans of her previous books to buy this without waiting for reviews. Why would an author exploit her most loyal fans like that?
juglicerr on LibraryThing 11 months ago
This is a departure for this series. The story has a transitional quality that makes me wonder if Jill Churchill wants to keep her character, but change the nature of the stories. I wonder if Jill Churchill wants to make Jane's life as a writer the focus of her adventures, and leave most of the mystery solving to Mel. Personally, I like the characters enough to continue even if the series does change, but some readers may be distressed.The mystery is a subplot in this volume. While Jane does make a useful suggestions to her detective boyfriend, she doesn't solve the mystery, and it is definitely secondary to Jane's personal life. The main plot is that Jane has agreed to marry Mel, and the upcoming wedding(s) create serious strains with certain relatives and test Janes' growing assertiveness. Her mother-in-law Thelma takes the opportunity to challenge Jane's ownership in the family business. Her prospective mother-in-law wants to run the wedding, and Jane has her work cut out keeping her in line. Jane is definitely not as hapless as in many of the earlier volumes.Meanwhile, Jane has sold her first two novels and mumber one is about to be released. She has also decided to add on to her house. Her two oldest children are now out of the house, and her pets are getting elderly.The book also has features of being Advice from Aunt Jill, with tips on various safety measures for women, inside information on writing, and a look at the importance of setting boundries.I enjoyed it, but I can understand why some readers are rather upset at the changes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed it alot and I highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Is this the end of the series? The murder victim, for once not discovered by Jane, is incidental to the story. Jane's dealings with her odious former mother-in-law and mother-in-law to be are repetitive. Nice to see Jane and Mel tie the knot, but with Mike in law school, Katie at culinary school, the youngest looking into colleges with strong math programs, and Thelma dead, it looks like Churchill is tying up the loose ends and concluding the series rather than writing a new addition to the the series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was very disappointed with this installment from Jill Churchill. Definitely not up to snuff. I had been waiting for the next Jane and Shelley story and if this is how she's going to write them now, I won't bother with anymore. Try the earlier ones if you'd like a good, fun mystery.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read all of Jill Churchill's books and this is by far the worst. It is not a mystery at all, but a story about planning a wedding. I don't think anyone bothered to re-read this book before publication. There are some glaring mistakes. On one page, Jane mentions that she is glad she changed the cat litter before bringing the architect to the basement. A few pages later, she goes on and on about having to go to the pet store to buy a box and cat litter. She says her cats have been outdoor cats for years and she is afraid they won't even remember how to use a box. She mentions how nice her new room looks now that the windows (except for one that had been arrived damaged) have been installed. Chapters later, she is proud to announce that all the windows are finally being installed in the new room. Early on, a character named Sara is killed by her boyfriend. Shortly after, they are talking about the man who killed his wife, Sara. The mistakes go on and on. The phrase 'cost the earth' is used three times in the first 47 pages. One one page, she mentions three times that someone gave her their business card! Some things are explained repeatedly for no apparent reason. This seemed like a first attempt at a novel, not the novel of a seasoned writer. Oh, and by the way, the florist has nothing to do with the story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have enjoyed Churchhill's books in the past but this one was a terrible disappointment. The plot (if you can say there was one) seemed quite disjointed and had lots of poor wording. Too much unecessary repeating of words. Thank goodness this wasn't the first book of hers I've read or I'd read no more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Truly one of the most unimpressive tales ever told. Zero character or plot development- the murder is definitely a sideline and an afterthought as who done it and why doesn't even merit a thought. This book should have been titled 'The Longest Day' or something along those lines. Chronicling the everyday list of things that need to be done before getting married, one wonders if this was meant as a ' how to' book. I've read and enjoyed this author before but this was so appallingly bad, I've decided life's too short. There have to be books more deserving of my time.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Chicago, police officer Mel VanDyne persuades his girlfriend Jane Jeffry and her pal Shelley Nowack to attend a self-defense seminar after the pair¿s latest harrowing escapade (see A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S SCREAM). However, before they complete the class, someone kills instructor Miss Welbourne with a lethal blow to her head.-------------------- Meanwhile Jane and Mel agree to marry. Though they prefer a quiet dignified ceremony, his mom plans the social event of the season while her mom plans a different social event of the season. Knowing that she holds the cards (just not the invitations), Jane fosters the war of the moms so she and Mel can somewhat get the ceremony they want though that begins to prove a dangerous strategy as strange bedfellows begin to emerge. Jane and Shelley, unable to heed Mel¿s advice to stay out of the homicide investigation, make tentative inquiries into who killed the women¿s safety expert while the culprit observes their every move just in case a groom needs to be widowed before he says I do.----------------- The in-law war is amusing and fun to follow especially when someone else is caught in the middle as Jane¿s strategy seems so effective initially until the battling mommas begin to realize they are being played watch out what happens to Jane once they know. The amateur sleuth investigation is never fully developed as it takes a back seat to the nuptials even as the bride and groom start their honeymoon on the case. Fans of the series will enjoy the sixteenth tale more for the wedding march than for the whodunit.---------------- Harriet Klausner