Apparently this was an interesting if not particularly difficult book for Ms. Penny to write. I am not sure if it was because of personal experience or just the subject matter but it is absolutely brilliant. If she is an artist and received a not so glowing review I say ‘whatever’! If you like it and it made you happy to paint it – go for it. This brings us to one of the topics of this fabulous mystery. Art has critics just like any other medium and sometimes this can be a make or break for said artist. I think most of us can still look relatively objectively at something and realize it isn’t the total sum of that person’s work but the artist can and often does have a fragile ego.
One of the heroines of the Penny stories is Clara who lives in Three Pines and has been knocking out art for over 20 years now. She has finally been recognized and has her own solo show. This doesn’t come as a surprise to those who know her but due to bad reviews years before she never really thinks her work is good enough. As a result of this self-deprecating thinking, Clara is physically sick about attending her own show. In fact if she didn’t have friends to literally hold her hand as she walks in, she thinks she would have gone home and missed the entire party. Suffice it to say, she makes it through, endures the false praise as well as the honest and is the guest of honour at a party in her home town afterwards. The next morning she is going over the previous evening and enjoying her garden when a body is found. The body is in her front garden and is a stranger to the town. The stranger is wearing a party dress but no one seems to remember her attending the party, or inviting her either. The more we learn about the victim the more interesting the story becomes. I really don’t want to give away a whole lot because this is such a fun book. There is the completely bitchy element of gallery owners who made bad choices, past relationships brought up as well as people who are doing their level best to change the way they have behaved in the past.
If you have read any of Ms. Penny’s previous books then the character development continues. We catch up with cantankerous Ruth, lovely Myrna as well as Gabri and Olivier at the bed and breakfast. There is a lot of forgiveness to give and take in this story as a result of previous books as well. It leaves you with almost a warm fuzzy. Enjoy!