I opened the Trouble with Tulip feeling both excitement and trepidation. Callie Webber, the lead character in Mindy Starns Clark’s Million Dollar Mystery Series, was so fresh and life-like she kept us intrigued through a full, five book series. Could Clark ever create another character as likeable, or another story as interesting?
The answer to both questions is a definite yes.
In the opening pages of The Trouble with Tulip, we meet helpful hints columnist Josephine “Jo” Tulip. Its 11:48 P.M. on the night before her wedding, and Jo is seriously stressed. Not just because she’s more uncertain than she’ll admit about marrying her fiancé, Bradford, but because Bradford’s wild relatives have transformed Jo’s well-organized, peaceful house into a war zone.
When the going gets tough, Jo goes walking. She decides a midnight stroll is in order to calm her prenuptial jitters. But much more than night air hovers beneath the blanket of darkness in the small town of Mulberry Glen. Edna Pratt, an ardent fan of Jo’s Tips from Tulip column, is lying dead just blocks away.
Oblivious to Edna’s fate, and disturbed by an encounter with a speeding car, Jo returns home. She falls into a troubled sleep, only to be awakened by a police visit a few hours later. They don’t care that it’s the morning of her wedding. They just want her to explain the peculiar circumstances of Edna Pratt’s demise.
Tomato juice in the deceased’s hair, Styrofoam packing noodles between her toes, unburned cigarettes in an ashtray, a lamp turned on inside a cabinet, and shower caps at the bases of all the plants in the house, are just a few of the strange things found at the scene of death.
Was Edna Pratt insane? Did she die from a deadly beauty regimen? Or was she the victim of a twisted crime? Only Jo knows. And it’s up to her to prove her suspicions, and still make it to church on time to marry the man her controlling parents have handpicked for her.
Of course, if Jo’s handsome friend Danny has anything to say about it, Jo won’t marry Bradford at all. And if Bradford has anything to say about it, Jo might just find herself… well, I’ll let you read that part for yourself.
In addition to a host of fun and quirky characters, Clark offers a mystery in The Trouble with Tulip, that’s sure to tie your brain in knots. Newspaper clippings, taken from past Tips from Tulip columns and included between chapters, are an informative and hilarious bonus. Pet lovers should be sure to check out the tip on page 73.
Bottom line? Mindy Starns Clark has whipped together another delightful tale, and fans of the Million Dollar Mysteries have a new character to cheer for: Go Jo!
Click here to buy The Trouble with Tulip by Mindy Starns Clark