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The Accidental Florist Mass Market Paperback – Nov 27 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
At the start of Agatha-winner Churchill's middling 16th cozy to feature Chicago-area amateur sleuth Jane Jeffry (after 2004's A Midsummer Night's Scream), Jane and her best friend, Shelley, decide to take a class on women's safety at the urging of Jane's long-time beau, Mel. Before the course is concluded, their teacher, Miss Welbourne, is murdered by a blow to the head. Jane's personal life overshadows the search for the killer: she and Mel decide to get married, so there's a wedding to plan, a house addition to design and an annoying almost-mother-in-law to handle. The domestic escapades make for enjoyable reading, and the safety tips Jane and Shelley learn are also helpful to the reader. But the plot is a little thin and much of the dialogue rings a false note. The book's most literary aspect is the wordplay of the title. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Jill Churchill has won the Agatha and Macavity Mystery Readers awards and was nominated for an Anthony Award for her bestselling Jane Jeffry series. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed Grace and Favor mysteries and lives in the Midwest.
Top Customer Reviews
I wonder, though: Does this type of breakout appeal to me only because I've written novels, which allows me to identify with Churchill's creeping beyond containers of her craft, especially when making the first cracks in a long revered egg shell incorporates more of her author life into established appeals of Jane and Shelley? This time, the daily-life-and-work-of-an-author was inserted into the story with bravo perfection, in my copy of the book with a lusciously-fluffy, lemon-souffle aura, cat and bouquet included.
It's true that the author is expanding a recent trend in this series, a trend which has placed the murder and its resolution by amateur sleuth-hood on the back burners of subplot stews, so far back, in fact, that the murder and its investigation didn't take its usual active space in the story. Somewhat because of that fact, I enjoyed THE ACCIDENTAL FLORIST even more than I've enjoyed each of the prior 15 books.
Churchill is such a subtle genius at flowing undercurrents of cultural issues, that she's able to keep me above those undertows, at a level of an easy-flowing, craved type of reading entertainment. She accomplishes this through a narrative style of such natural grace that I doubt even Santa Clause could see the insights intended, until the final page is turned and cerebral spotlights are surged, and lighten up the cerebellum-gestalt of plot machinations.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This "mystery" doesn't seem to be a mystery at all, but rather a mindless list of how to add a room to your house, pick the right fabric swatch for a wedding and change cat litter pans. Even worse than this boring grocery list of pointless actions, there are glaring contradictions in the story. First Jane is glad she changed the litter pans when the architect comes over and then, five pages later, she's buying litter pans becasue the cats have been "outside " cats that have forgotten how to use them.
I sincerely hope this is the last installment of the series because it was terrible. It makes me very sad to see what once was a delightful series slide into such junk. It makes me sad also to see an author, with an established name and publishing career, submit a book like this to the marketplace and actually take people's money for it. I would rather imagine Jane and Shelly somewhere actually solving a mystery than to see the characters turned into boring ninnies. If the author can do no better than this, I hope she will do the ethical thing, put down the pen and stop preying on those of us who have been faithful readers over the years.
This latest Jane Jeffrey mystery reads like the last installment in the series, and I, for one, rather hope that it is. As other reviewers have already mentioned there isn't any mystery to speak off. Mel convinces Jane and Shelly to attend some safety causes (which actually has some useful info but came across more as an exercise in scaring the living daylights out of women). Their instructor is found dead, but neither Jane nor Shelley ever get involved in figuring out why the woman was murdered and by whom. That whole mystery gets solved "off-stage" by Mel (Jane's fiancee and a police detective) and his assistant. Jane and Shelley, in "The Accidental Florist" never really get involved in the case at all. No, Jane and Shelley spend most of the book consulting over fabric swatches, and discussing how awful Mel's mother is. Why exactly are we expected to pay $23.95 for this?
The Jane Jeffrey series used to be something I really looked forward to reading; unfortunately, the last few installments have been sad disappointments, and "The Accidental Florist" really takes the cake. I couldn't even figure out why this book was entitled so. All in all, this was a sad, sorry read, and I'd advise anyone who hasn't already bought or borrowed the book to believe all of us reviewers so far and steer clear of this book!
The author, the editor and the publisher should all be ashamed that this amateur effort made it into print. I started flagging all the contradictions and errors in the text - and ran out of slips of paper. For example, on p. 37, Jane says "Thank G*d I just cleaned out the kitty litter boxes this morning." and then on page 57, Jane dashes out to buy kitty litter bins and tells us far, far more than we want to know about kitty litter.
There is NO MURDER MYSTERY in this book - Jane's cop finance has a case and solves it mostly off-stage. So what? We never meet the "perps" and have no understanding at all of how the case was relevant to the book. Instead, we get more kitty litter details, contradictions, and, worst crime of all, Jill Churchill uses this book to pimp for her other series of books (which is also going downhill rapidly).
Jane and cohort Shelley come across as petty-minded, long-winded airheads in this book; who wants to read about such people? Jane repeatly boasts about her wealth, and both speak in semi-archaic, high-flalutin' language that pretty much turned my stomach.
Thousands of unnecessary adjectives padded this book out to measely 209 pages. Properly edited, it would have been a short story.
Please boycott this book, and send the message to William Morrow that they should have the courage to tell some writers when it is time to quit.
While I used to enjoy Jill Churchill's Jane Jeffrey series, it's gone down hill the last few books and "The Accidental florist" is no better. The writing is clunky and the dialogue awkward. One example of this is when Churchill has Jane, who has been dating Mel for years, tell Mel exactly how much money she has and how her husband died, something she should have told him years ago. There are continuity errors like when Mel says he is taking the day off to attend a meeting with Jane and a few pages later Jane checks to make sure he has the next day off to attend the meeting. Later on Churchill has Jane running out to buy litter boxes for her cats saying she didn't have any, even though in an earlier chapter Jane had cleaned their litter boxes! Ironically enough, Churchill stresses how carefully Jane researches her books before writing them, perhaps Churchill should do the same. While I found some of the advice Jane and Shelley got during their safety class to be useful, after a while it felt like filler for the book as did the many details of the building of Mel's office. The mystery plot line is poorly done and written - Mel does all the investigating (and most of that is off-page) instead of Jane and Shelley. And the recurring gag of Shelley's husband not being seen in the books wears too thin in this book when he misses Jane and Mel's wedding for the flimsiest of excuses.
"The Accidental Florist" has some touches that reminded me of what I used to like about the series - little things like Jane's sneaking a cigarette when she felt stressed; a touching moment involving her dog; interesting glimpses into the world of book writing, publishing, and promotion; and Mel and Jane's decision to forego wedding gifts and having money sent to various charities instead (one of the few times in the book that Jane was likable). But these were only brief glimpses that make it even sadder to realize how good the series used to be and how much it's gone down hill.