Seed No Evil (Flower Shop)
by Kate Collins
Review by Mel Jacob
Signet Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451415493
Date: 06 August 2013 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
In Seed No Evil, the fourteenth Flower Shop Mystery from Kate Collins, the murder of Bev Powers, the director of Protecting Animal Rights, PAR, leaves police suspecting Abby Knight's mother. Abby is about to marry Marco Salvare, owner of Down the Hatch, a bar and restaurant and part-time private investigator. Her florist shop is in trouble with too few orders. Her niece is desperate to save a three-legged dog. In addition to all of that, the final straw is Marco won't tell her why he's so upset and always busy.
Abby's mom is unable to create her usual artworks. Regularly, she brings things to sell in gift shop associated with Abby's florist shop and café. Most are so awful no one wants them. Now, she is so upset by the murder she can't create. Furious that anyone could consider her mother a murder, Abby and Marco set out to investigate.
Protecting Animal Rights maintains a no-kill animal shelter. Plans are afoot to change that. Abby can't believe anyone would kill Bev when she was against a policy change. Bev was somehow locked in the exercise yard with two vicious dogs. It appears she tried to climb the chain link fence and fell, breaking her neck.
The police want to know who could have locked Bev in the yard. Abby's mom found the dead woman and called the police. They believe she was the last to see the victim alive.
Abby and Marco put together a list of people with keys to the shelter and others who might have a grudge against Bev. They soon learn things are not what they appear. They suspect one or more of the potential suspects is lying. Proving it is not easy. The list is long: Stacy Shaw, Bev's sister; Stacy's ex husband Justin; Emma Hard who might have been taking PAR money; and Dayton Blaine, Chairman of PAR.
Because of Marco's distraction, Abby ends up interviewing some of the possible suspects, including Dayton Blaine, head of Blaine Manufacturing and one of the chief sources of funding for PAR. Intimidating, Blaine is a no-nonsense person and refuses to see Abby. Eventually, Abby waylays her in the company parking lot and gets her attention.
Kate Collins keeps the reader guessing until the end about the motive and the killer's identity. However, at times Abby's worry about Marco and her business become repetitive. Overall, the characters are likable and the mystery satisfying.