The Plot Thickets (A Garden Squad Mystery #5) by Julia Henry

EXCERPT: ‘I haven’t been here in years,’ Lily said, getting out of the car with her new routine of gently unfolding herself, moving her hips and arching her back. She didn’t mind getting older. Most of the time. But the slight aches and pains that came along with the extra years – those she could live without. ‘I used to come here a lot when I was young.’

She was waiting for Delia to close her door before she hit the lock door button on her fob. Her final stretch done, she hit the button, but the door still wouldn’t lock. She looked over at Delia, who was staring at her, her door ajar.

‘What’s the matter, Delia?’

‘What do you mean, you used to love coming here when you were young?’ Delia said. ‘Sometimes you freak me out, you know that? This is a cemetery, Lily. Who hangs out at a cemetery?’

ABOUT ‘THE PLOT THICKETS’: Ever the quintessential New England town, Goosebush, Massachusetts, truly shines in springtime, but when an underhanded undertaker digs herself an early grave, only Lilly Jayne and her Garden Squad can unearth the cryptic killer . . .

With spring’s arrival in Goosebush, Lilly and the Beautification Committee turn their eyes to new projects. A cleanup of the historic Goosebush Cemetery may be in order, after Lilly and Delia find the plots there sorely neglected and inexplicably rearranged. Lilly soon discovers that Whitney Dunne-Bradford snapped up custodianship of the graveyard once she inherited Bradford Funeral Homes. But before Lilly can get to the bottom of the tombstone tampering, she stumbles upon Whitney’s body at the Jayne family mausoleum . . .

Though at first it appears Whitney died by suicide, Lilly has doubts, and apparently, so does Chief of Police Bash Haywood, who quickly opens a murder investigation. Plenty of folks in town had bones to pick with Whitney, including her stepdaughter, Sasha, and funeral home employee, Dewey Marsh–all three recently charged with illegal business practices. But when the homicide inquiry suddenly targets an old friend, Lilly and the Garden Squad must rally to exhume the truth before the real killer buries it forever . . .

MY THOUGHTS: I loved this story and it’s characters despite not having read any of the previous books in this series.

Goosebush, New England – I love the name of the town. I love the description. I love the sense of friendship and companionship that Lilly and her friends have. I loved the way they all muck in and support one another, both emotionally and practically. I loved all the gardening talk and work. And I adored that they were trying to beautify the old cemetery – there’s definitely food for thought there, as the old cemetery in our town definitely needs some TLC.

Much of the mystery centres around the Goosebush cemetery, and what better place for it? Lilly’s family has a mausoleum, and a marble seat (the bastard seat – a story on its own) outside, positioned to take in the view. It’s as she and Delia are planning what needs to be done that Lilly notices that somethings about the graves surrounding the mausoleum are not as she remembers them, and then that the bastard seat has been moved, which kicks her curiosity into gear. And then the deaths begin . . .

I do like Lilly. She’s kind, generous and empathetic, BUT when she’s nervous or ill at ease, she tends to become quite sarcastic. She does great sarcastic. She has opened her home to Delia, a student who came to help her husband Alan when he was dying and who has stayed on, and to Ernie, owner of the local hardware store whose husband has died and who is currently between houses. He bakes when he is stressed, and I swear I could smell his bread as I read. Roddy, Lilly’s new neighbour, makes up the last member of the core group.

There are several romances developing in The Plot Thickets, but they are realistic and don’t dominate the storyline.

I would have loved a plan of Lilly’s house – it absolutely fascinated me.

I really enjoyed The Plot Thickets. I was entertained, bamboozled, and educated. I will be reading more of this series.


#ThePlotThickets #NetGalley

I: @jhauthors @kensingtonbooks

T: @JHauthors @KensingtonBooks

#contemporaryfiction #cosymystery #friendship
#murdermystery #romance #smalltownfiction

THE AUTHOR: Julia Henry lives in Massachusetts, where she sets her mystery series. As Julianne Holmes she writes the Clock Shop Mystery Series, and as J.A. Hennrikus she writes theatre.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Kensington Books, Kensington Cozies, via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Plot Thickets by Julia Henry for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and


Author: sandysbookaday

I love good quality chocolate. I love the ocean and love to be in, on or beside it. I read any and every where. I am a proud mum and Nana. I like wine, gin, Southern Comfort, a cold Heineken on a hot day. I am very versatile like that. I cross stitch, do jigsaws, garden, and work on a farm. I am an occasional scribbler. I have far too many books I want to read to ever find the time to die. I am an active member of Goodreads as Sandy *the world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* and review on Amazon under the name Sandyj21. My Goodreads reviews are automatically linked to my Facebook page. Groups I belong to and participate in on Goodreads include: The Mystery, Crime and Thriller Group; Mysteries and Crime Thrillers; Psychological Thrillers; Reading for Pleasure; Crime Detective Mystery Thrillers; English Mysteries; Dead Good Crime; Kindle English Mystery, All About Books and NZ Readers. April 2016 I made the Top 1% of Goodreads reviewers (As follows) Hello Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*, In our community of readers, you stand out in a notable way: You're one of the top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads! With every rave and every pan, with every excited GIF and every critical assessment, you've helped the Goodreads community get closer to a very important milestone – the 50 Million Reviews mark!

6 thoughts on “The Plot Thickets (A Garden Squad Mystery #5) by Julia Henry”

  1. Great review, Sandy. I have read all the previous books in this series, but missed this one. Thanks for putting it on my radar. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Lilly is a great character for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

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