"Bittersweet Herbs" by Marty Wingate: Review/Giveaway

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

Ferns & Felonies

Pru Parke, ex-pat and Texas native, is a highly sought after professional gardener and also, not something she advertises, is known for her success uncovering details of several suspicious deaths. She and her husband of three years, DI Christopher Pearse, is also her partner in crime fighting. They live at Greenoak, a manor house with a marvelous garden she and her brother Simon lovingly tend together. Pru recently was approached by editor Nate Crispin to write an article for his new magazine, Designs On Your Garden. At first, he suggested the title “Death in the Garden” that awkwardly seems to indicate he might be more interested in her incidental career of investigating murders. She wasn’t interested, but with further negotiations, it was decided that she could have complete control over the articles topic. That turned out to be less a relief and more problematic since nothing sparked her interest, until…an invitation arrived and “planted” the perfect idea…a medieval herb garden.

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Bittersweet Herbs
Earns 5/5 Herbal Concoctions…Delightfully Fun!

“The Medieval Garden Society cordially invites you…” to an evening lecture on The Medieval Garden by self-taught expert Acantha Morris. The event includes goblets of mead and a buffet of Tart in Ymber Day, Payn Puff, Frumenty, Gingerbread, and…Compost? Yes, “Compost,” an “old English recipe with roasted fruits and vegetables pickled in vinegar and wine.” The proceeds are earmarked for an ambitious project at the Hospital of St. Cross and Almshouse of Nobel Poverty: recreating an authentic medieval herb garden. Pru’s husband had a previous commitment, so she invited her sister-in-law Polly and good friend and vicar Bernadette to join her. Pru is immediately inspired by the lecture and the plans for the garden and volunteers her participation, but she’s reticent about accepting the invitation to be a member on the board for the Society. But, it all takes a dark turn when one of the society members, one who pledged a seven-figure donation, is found dead. Suicide or murder is the question…Pru sees murder.

A Pinch of Flavorful Fun! I am a big fan of Marty Wingate’s work, and although I lack a green thumb, I greatly enjoy the well “planted” elements in her work. This eighth book in the series offers an engaging murder mystery with twists in the drama, obvious secrets to expose, and several suspects to explore. The issues of jealousy and long-held animosities are raised, but is it enough to incite murder? Marty’s writing style is always entertaining with lovely descriptions, informative gardening details, and well-developed characters, varying in personality. The dynamic between Pru and her detective husband is loving and supportive and adding family and friends makes the series always fun for readers, like me. The element of a medieval herb garden was unique with fascinating insights into medieval plants and their medicinal or murderous usages—I’m a camomile fan! I highly recommend this book, and thank goodness, no ‘green thumb’ required.

Be a Big Marty Wingate Fan!

USA Today best-selling author Marty Wingate incorporates her love of Britain in her three mystery series. The Potting Shed Mysteries brings to life the Cotswolds as Pru Parker plants gardens and digs up murder. The Birds of a Feather Mysteries, also set in England, follow Julia Lancaster who manages a tourist information center and noses herself into murder investigations. Marty treats readers to delightful and informative insights into the local flora and fauna, but in her First Edition Library mysteries, set in the lovely town of Bath, Hayley Burke is the curator of a collection of books from the Golden Age of Mystery. Something for everyone!

Facebook – Marty Wingate Author

Website — Marty Wingate Mystery Author

To enter to win either an ebook or print copy of Bittersweet Herbs(winner's choice), simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "bittersweet,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 27, 2021. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. BE SURE TO STATE IF YOU WANT PRINT OR EBOOK. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new Christmas episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Don't do a lot of gardening any more.
    But it's interesting to read about plants
    and their uses. Print copy please.
    thanks. txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  2. I will have to add this to my TBR list.

  3. This is a new one for me. Would like to read a print copy.

  4. New series to me. Would really like to read. I prefer a print copy.

  5. A new series for me! tWarner419@aol.com

  6. Marty is fantastic and (as an early reader of early pages) I can say that this book will meet all expectations of her fans!

  7. I would love to win a print copy of this book as she is new to me and the book sounds like something I would enjoy. 3labsmom(at)gmail(dot)com.

  8. I would love a chance to start this series in print! Claire.denning.11@gmail.com


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