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Reviewed by Mike Dixon for Readers' Favorite
A body is found in the Arboretum of Cold Creek College and Faculty Sleuth Dr Sheridan Hendley swings into action. The victim died of bullet wounds to the head and the local police charge a college gardener with murder. Sheridan is horrified. The evidence is circumstantial and the accused man is not the sort who goes around killing people. To make matters worse, this is the second murder the college has experienced in recent years. Its reputation as a safe place for respectable, middle-class Americans to send their children is at stake. Sheridan mounts an investigation and discovers that nothing is what it appears to be. There is an element of sleaze in the ostentatious show of respectability that permeates Cold Creek and its posh suburbs. She is determined to expose it and clear the gardener’s name.
Murder in the Arboretum by Christa Nardi is a cozy mystery. The violence is subdued and never graphic. You can sit back and relax as Sheridan goes about her work. Clues slowly accumulate like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Fitting them together to form a coherent picture requires judgement and good luck. Vital pieces of information are missing. Fortunately, Sheridan has a nose for sniffing them out. Enthusiasts for British TV series such as Rosemary and Thyme and Midsomer Murders will recognize similarities with the plot and selection of characters. If you are one, I recommend that you take a look at Christa Nardi’s Murder in the Arboretum and see what an American author can do with this genre.