Reviewed by Darcie Gudger
The Trouble with Tulip by Mindy Starns Clark
"The Trouble with Tulip introduces a cast of loveable characters in an Agatha Christie or Higgins Clark style plot."
Edna Pratt is dead. Sprawled on her living room floor with packing peanuts between her toes, socks on her hands and tomato juice in her hair, Edna poses a problem for police. Jo Tulip, a household hints columnist and bride to be is called upon to explain the bizarre appearance of the corpse. Alongside the body is a bucket of ammonia and chlorine bleach. Police are determined to label the death accidental, but Jo knows better. Edna’s house is brimming with Tips from Tulip. Jo knows devoted fans would never make such a fatal error.
To complicate matters even more, Jo is left standing alone at the altar when the groom says “I don’t”, speeding away in his sports car. Jo spends what would have been her honeymoon trying to prove the Mullberry Glenn police wrong. She enlists the help of her childhood buddy and professional photographer, Danny Watkins to track down an elusive killer.
Hired to clean Edna’s house and settle the estate, Jo uncovers odd photographs hidden in a trap door underneath the claw-footed tub. From this point on Starns-Clark keeps the reader guessing along with Jo as clues reveal themselves one at a time.
The Trouble with Tulip introduces a cast of loveable characters in an Agatha Christie or Higgins-Clark style plot. Jo’s wit and knowledge of obscure cleaning methods gave me the urge to try them for myself. While Jo tries to ignore her pain through sleuthing, the romantic tension between her and Danny grows thicker by the chapter. Starns-Clark breathes so much life into Danny’s feelings, you can’t help but want to shake Jo for her ignorance of it all. Jo and Danny are Christians, but the faith elements feel rather forced and preachy. Starns-Clark could do a better job of showing rather than telling about faith in a sequel, because the ending of this book leaves the reader wishing for a sequel.
Trouble will appeal most to cozy lovers. It’s got the humor, romance, female heroine and twisty plot. Go put on a cup of coffee, grab a soft blanket and jump into Jo’s crazy life!
Darcie Gudger is a freelance writer currently working on a young adult novel while trying to solve all the mysteries of motherhood with her adopted son, Kyle. In her spare time, she coaches the 2A Colorado State Champion Sheridan High School colorguard, judged equipment for the Rocky Mountain Colorguard Association and sings for the Bear Valley church choir and worship team. An adventure-seeker who lives and writes in the shadow of the Rocky mountains, Darcie loves hiking, camping, cycling, photography and keeping her husband guessing. Visit Darcie online at her blog, Joy in the Litterbox.