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Perfect Poison by Joyce Lavene
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691264,577 (3.58)4
When a drowned body is found with an unusual plant wound through her hair, part-time forensic botanist Peggy Lee agrees to help with the investigation, but comes up empty-handed while digging for clues.



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Her first assignment as a police department forensic botanist brings Dr. Margaret “Peggy” Lee inside a murder investigation after a history of amateur sleuthing. It’s a puzzling case in which two separate drowning victims – apparently unrelated – are linked by a plant found in or on both their bodies. Dr. Lee becomes less than neutral in the case when police make it clear they believe a friend of hers is the primary suspect and they want her to find evidence to prove it. Peggy thinks the cops are totally off-base.

Meanwhile, our heroine copes with a business setback, wonders silently about the young woman her grown son is smitten with and ponders her relationship with Steve Newsome, veterinarian and Peggy’s live-in beau.

I was so stunned to read a cozy mystery in which the heroine was NOT dating a cop that Perfect Poison started out with a huge advantage with this reviewer from the get-go. But the book had so much else going for it that it didn’t need that extra boost. I especially like Dr. Lee – a feisty widow who exudes confidence in most area of her life, excluding only the romance department. Her beau Steve is well drawn and very non-cop-like. The plotting and pacing are cozy-perfect. Plus one of the gardening tips at the book’s end gave me a way to deal with the slugs eating holes in my hostas. What more could I wish?

By Diana. First published in the Cozy Library October 25, 2008. ( )
  NewsieQ | Oct 30, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lavene, Joyceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lavene, Jimmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Lavene, Joyce and Jimmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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"You will all die!" A few people attending the funeral service for Mayor Jim Garrett were jolted out of their sorrow and reverie with the preacher's avid declaration.
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While attending a funeral in nearby Badin, Peggy Lee (part-time forensic botanist, detective's widow, and owner of the Potting Shed) learns of the death of a diver performing routine work on the local dam. Then, days later, a woman's body is recovered from the swimming pool of a Charlotte home. When the bodies surface, so do the clues - including an unusual plant wound into the woman's hair. The police call forensic botanist Peggy Lee to the scene, but her findings only raise more questions. What do these two deaths have in common? And how did duckweed end up in a pool?
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