Acts of Violets is the fifth book in Kate Collins’ Flower Shop Mystery series. Her protagonist, Abby Knight, runs Bloomers, a flower shop, by day and solves mysteries by night. This book finds Abby’s ex-cop, bar owner boyfriend, Marco Salvare, being investigated for murder. Of course, Abby is asked to investigate alongside the professionals to ensure Marco isn’t railroaded into a murder charge by the soon-to-convene grand jury.
In the mystery world, this is known as a Cozy Mystery (aka “cozies”). This genre has an amateur-sleuth protagonist bumbling around solving mysteries because the professionals are unable to. I think this is a hard genre to write in because it’s hard to balance the quirky, fun character with mystery. The rules for cozies are sketchy. But the biggies are: no violence, no sex, and no bad language. Cozy protagonists run the gamut from saints to sinner–with all the sinning being done behind the scenes.
An author has to work hard to make sure their protagonist is likeable, intelligent, and just amateur enough to get herself into a dangerous position before the mystery is solved and everyone lives happily ever-after. Recently I reviewed To Have and To Kill, another book from this genre, and wasn’t impressed with the super saintly protagonist.
I am impressed with Abby Knight. Somehow Collins makes her good without making her cloying or boring. She’s flawed. Has some lustful thoughts. Collins also works the business of running a floral shop smoothly into the plot of the story. I am always intrigued by the descriptions of Abby creating an arrangement for a customer.
I’ve read the first five books of the series and see I have some more to catch up on. I hope you’ll give these a read. It’s a fun, light romp in the life of a florist with a flare for mystery solving!