The Trouble with Tulip by Mindy Starns Clark is the first in the Smart Chick Mysteries series, which I read the third (and final, I think) installment of (Elementary, My Dear Watkins) in June.
Disclaimer: I don’t enjoy reading books out of order. I’d gotten in at a garage sale, and I couldn’t not read it. Immediately.
I really enjoyed that third book, my first ever encounter with Clark, so I was eager to read the rest of the series. Once I learned the library had the second and third (but not the first) books in the trilogy, I knew I needed this one.
So now, I’ve read it.
The Trouble with Tulip stars Jo Tulip, a 28-year-old woman who lives in small-town Pennsylvania. Across the back fence from the house she inherited from her grandparents (along with her household hints newspaper column, Tips from Tulip) lives her best friend, Danny Watkins, a photographer who dreams of shooting covers for National Geographic and the like while he languishes in the photography trenches of baby pictures and prom. As the book opens, Jo is scheduled to get married in less than 24 hours. It’s not a normal wedding day, though, when she’s called to a crime scene to explain some of the scene’s quirks. The book has elements of a romance and a mystery.
I was disappointed by this book. I’m now curious what my reaction to this series would have been if I’d started with the first book, instead of with the third. This book felt typical, rather than the notch above I perceived in the third. It was an OK read, but I had higher expectations based on my out-of-order reading.
I’ll still read the final (for me) book in the trilogy, though.
Clark’s website includes book club questions for several of her books, including this one.