Publication Date: 09/02/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound
Susan Wittig Albert on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads
Books in the series:
The Darling Dahlias
1. The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree
2. The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies
3. The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose
4. The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star
5. The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush
Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.
Audio Excerpt from, The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush, courtesy of the Amazon Listen feature.
National bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert takes readers back in time to small-town Darling, Alabama, in the 1930s—where the Darling Savings and Trust has just closed and the women of the Darling Dahlias’ garden club are betting their bottom dollar there’s going to be trouble…
It’s the spring of 1933 and times are tough all over. The only businessman not struggling is moonshiner Mickey LeDoux, though he still has to steer clear of federal agents. But banks are closing all over the country, and the small town of Darling is no exception. Folks are suddenly caught short on cash and everyone is in a panic.
Desperate to avoid disaster, several town leaders—including Alvin Duffy, the bank’s new vice president—hatch a plan to print Darling Dollars on newspaperman Charlie Dickens’ printing press. The “funny money” can serve as temporary currency so the town can function. But when the first printing of the scrip disappears, the Darling Dahlias set out to discover who made an unauthorized withdrawal.
Meanwhile County Treasurer Verna Tidwell questions whether she can trust Alvin Duffy—and the feelings he stirs up inside her. And Liz Lacy learns her longtime beau may be forced into a shotgun wedding. Seems other troubles don’t just go away when there’s a crisis. There’ll be no pennies from heaven, but if anyone can balance things out, folks can bank on the Darling Dahlias…
Susan Wittig Albert takes readers back to the small town of Darling, Alabama in the 1930's in her latest book, The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush. Albert gives readers a delightful set of characters that are both eccentric and daring in their own way. This a cozy mystery with tons of historical background, as well as, and intriguing mystery that has the Dahlias scrambling to find out what happened to a batch of homemade money! A great addition to the series!
What I liked:
Susan Wittig Albert is an author that understands characterization. She does such a wonderful job of making the people in her stories come alive. The reader will find themselves becoming very involved in the daily life of these characters. They will experience the ups and downs of life in a small depression era Southern town in Darling Dahlias books. Each character is so distinct and different from the next. Though there are several ladies in the group, each one has her own set of problems and ways to go about solving them. Each one is unmistakably unique. I loved that about this series. Albert did a great job in The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush of showing how the banking crisis effected each one of the Dahlias. Her characters are real and dealt with real issues and did a bit of sleuthing on the side.
The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush has so much historical background. I have enjoyed reading each of the books in this series because of the fact that they deal with different aspects of the depression as well as providing a top notch mystery to be solved. In this one, readers get to see what it might have been like to experience that time in history when money became practically impossible to come by. I loved seeing the people of Darling come together to try to solve their problems by making 'scrip' money to keep their economy going. I thought Albert did a fantastic of job of showing the realism of what these people went through. Really great job on that part of the book.
What I didn't like:
As with any good mystery, there needs to be a bit of suspense. A reason that this mystery has to be solved right now. It has to carry a bit of tension to make the mystery aspects of the book work. In The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush, that sense of urgency was a bit understated. Though the historical aspects of the book carry the story, it was missing that punch that was needed to make it grab the reader. The pace was somewhat slower than in past books in the series and it was based more on the mayhem of economic disaster than on murder.
I liked this book a lot because I am a former history major. As usual, I loved the characters and Albert's individualistic approach to writing them. I loved the way the residents of Darling came together to save their town, but the actual mystery was not as mysterious as I had hoped. It just didn't pack the punch needed to make this one great.
The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
Susan Wittig Albert grew up on a farm in Illinois and earned her Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley. A former professor of English and a university administrator and vice president, she is the author of the China Bayles Mysteries, the Darling Dahlias Mysteries, and the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. Some of her recent titles include Widow’s Tears, Cat’s Claw, The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star, and The Tale of Castle Cottage. She and her husband, Bill, coauthor a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries under the name Robin Paige, which includes such titles as Death at Glamis Castle and Death at Whitechapel.
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