Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review and Giveaway: The Darling Dahlia's And the Eleven O'Clock Lady

The Darling Dahlias and the Eleven O'Clock Lady (Darling Dahlias - Book 6) by Susan Wittig Albert

Publication Date: 09/01/2015
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 320

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, itunes

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
6. The Darling Dahlias and the Eleven O'Clock Lady

Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.


New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert transports readers to the summer of 1934, when a sensational murder shakes up the small Southern town of Darling, Alabama—and pulls in the ladies of the Darling Dahlias’ garden club, who never let the grass grow under their feet when there’s a mystery to solve…

The eleven o’clock lady has always been one of garden club president Liz Lacy’s favorite spring wildflowers. The plant is so named because the white blossoms don’t open until the sun shines directly on them and wakes them up.

But another Eleven O’Clock Lady is never going to wake up again. Rona Jean Hancock—a telephone switchboard operator who earned her nickname because her shift ended at eleven, when her nightlife was just beginning—has been found strangled with her own silk stocking in a very unladylike position.

Gossip sprouts like weeds in a small town, and Rona Jean’s somewhat wild reputation is the topic of much speculation regarding who might have killed her. As the Darling Dahlias begin to sort through Rona Jean’s private affairs, it appears there may be a connection to some skullduggery at the local Civilian Conservation Corps camp. Working at the camp, garden club vice president Ophelia Snow digs around to expose the truth…before a killer pulls up stakes and gets away with murder.

Includes Southern-style Depression-era Recipes


Susan Wittig Albert brings readers another great book in the Darling Dahlias series with her latest, The Darling Dahlias and the Eleven O'Clock Lady. The title for this one says it all. As usual Albert makes a play on a flower by using the wildflower, the Eleven O'Clock Lady and pairing it with a woman who has a late night life that ends in her death. Albert once again excels at Southern charm and culture as the ladies from this garden club are on the case. Albert offers suspense with a nice up of sweet tea. A great addition to the series!

What I liked:

There has been a lot said about the South and Southern Bells and all of that down through the years and I think Susan Wittig Albert took it all to heart. The Darling Dahlias are the epitome of what Southern matrons are known for, hospitality, charm, and of course, gossip. That's what makes this group infinitely interesting. There is always some story or scandal that the Dahlias get mixed up in and it's usually a fun romp trying to figure it all out. Albert once again delivers with her latest book, The Darling Dahlias and the Eleven O'Clock Lady. It's full of that down home atmosphere with a little bit of murder thrown in just for kicks, LOL!

Rona Jean Hancock is known as the Eleven O'Clock Lady in Darling, Alabama. She finishes her shift as a telephone operator and then it's time to party. But her exploits seem to have ended her up in quite a pickle. In a car with a silk stocking around her throat. Now it's up to the Dahlias to piece it all together and find the killer. Albert gives readers an engaging story about a woman who was known for listening in on conversations, as well as, being a party animal. I thought the mystery was interesting and had a lot more intrigue and suspense than the last Darling Dahlias book. I was on the edge of my seat a couple of times. I settled into an idea of who I thought the killer was only to be completely surprised in the end. Another great whodunit, that brings Dahlia, Ophelia Snow to the forefront.

I always enjoy the fact that all of the Dahlias are involved in most of the mysteries, but there is generally one or two that stand out. This time it was Ophelia, the vice president of the club that takes center stage as she starts to investigate a few leads coming from the local Civil Conservation Corp camp. I liked learning new things about Ophelia and her connection to the other Dahlias. It's always nice to focus on a different member of the group. A nice touch for this one.

What I Didn't Like:

Sometimes I get a little confused by the voice in Susan Wittig Albert's books. It may be because I have read her other series, The China Bayles books. That series also has an herbal/plant theme. I find myself wondering what China would do in the situations that the Dahlias get into, because most of those books are more suspenseful than the Darling Dahlias books. I like a sense of urgency and though this book has more than the last book in the series, a little more tension and angst is never a bad thing. Certainly not a deal breaker. This was still a great book!

Bottom Line:

I love the Depression Era setting and the wonderful characters that Susan Wittig Albert has created in the Darling Dahlias series. I like the Southern charm and the historical significance of each book. The mysteries may not be quite as suspenseful as some cozies, but there is something about this group of ladies that is compelling and engaging. I want to know more about them and the messes they get themselves into. It is always a pleasure to return to Darling, Alabama!

The Darling Dahlias and the Eleven O'Clock Lady 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 New York Times bestselling author of the China Bayles Mysteries, the Darling Dahlias Mysteries, and the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. Some of her recent titles include Death Come Quickly, Widow’s Tears, The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush, 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 Castleand Death at Whitechapel.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of The Darling Dahlias and the Eleven O'Clock Lady by Susan Wittig Albert.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US Addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, September 15th.

1. Please leave a comment describing your favorite wildflower.

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holdenj said...

I know, I always have to do a double take when authors have multiple strong, good series!
My favorite wildflower is one that grows well here in my garden, the purple coneflower!

Unknown said...

The yellow star tulip: i love yellow and think it is so pretty and delicate.

Texas Book Lover said...

Being Texas I'm partial towards the bluebonnet. They are so vibriant!

Thanks so much!

Grandma Cootie said...

The red poppy.

Thanks for the giveaway.

bn100 said...

don't have a fav

Unknown said...

I love flowers period. My favorite one is hard to pin down but perhaps the oriental poppy would be top on the list. robeader53@yahoo.com

Nancy said...

Is the surprise lily a wild flower? I really enjoy those,

Rita Wray said...

I love all wild flowers. When they bloom it's like a blanket of color. So lovely.

Anonymous said...

My favorite wildflower is Queen Anne's Lace. I love how it looks. Especially if you can find the ones with the red dot of possible blood in them.

Angela - Bookaunt said...

I like sunflowers - I think they are bright and cheery

Linda said...

Definitely Texas bluebonnets or the Indian Paintbrush.

Brooke Showalter said...

I'm not sure what they're called, but there are some lovely purpleish-blue wildflowers that grow throughout the summer here in Ohio, especially along the highways and interstates. I love driving by them.

How in the world have I missed this series?! This sounds so good. :)

cyn209 said...

i enjoy seeing anything flowery growing along the sides of highways.....that always fascinates me.........

lag123 said...

Passion flower is my favorite.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

Elizabeth Schroedle said...

I like the Winecup wildflower. It's red and the petals form a cup.