Till Dirt Do Us Part


Sometimes to solve a murder you have to get your hands dirty! Not everything stays buried. When Betsy, a notorious brown thumb gets roped into a gardening contest sponsored by the Pecan Bayou Gazette, she finds herself digging up more than weeds. She is ridiculed by the garden club ladies, and now her heart breaks for a newly single mom whose world has just collapsed. The Happy Hinter is back so take some time to revisit the cozy little town Pecan Bayou, Texas. Grab a glass of sweet tea before you turn the dirt in the garden and sit a spell with all your favorite characters who dole out heartfelt caring and compassion with a side of humor. Till Dirt Do Us Part includes bonus recipes and helpful hints from Betsy’s column!



“Betsy, darlin’, I don’t know how you get yourself into these messes.” Aunt Maggie stood in the bright sunshine as a parade of ants made their way up the sidewalk.

My yard held the charms of glorious red oak trees and a nice patch of grass. My family’s addition to the outdoor area included a yellow-and-blue swing set and a little red wagon with our sons’ bikes precariously leaned against it. From today on, we would look at this green space differently. Now my yard held a brand-new garden. I pulled my chestnut-brown hair back into a ponytail. I was overdue for a cut, but there just never seemed to be time to get down to the Best Little Hairhouse in Texas.

“I think it can be surmised in one word and one word only. Rocky.”


Rocky Whitson was my boss and a major pain in the asparagus at the Pecan Bayou Gazette. Our little paper covered all the news in our tiny Texas town, and when there wasn’t any news, Rocky made an effort to create some. His latest idea was to have the “Best Garden in Pecan Bayou” contest. Of course, he decided that in my position as the Happy Hinter, the writer of the local helpful hints column, I too should participate and give him reports “in the field.” I just wished I didn’t have to be in an actual field.

My job would be to turn in weekly reports highlighting the ups and downs of being an amateur gardener. Amateur being the operative word. Was I a gardener? Did I anxiously await the fresh crinkle of seed catalogs every January? Did I love the sound of bees buzzing in the morning? No. I was notorious for killing plants. It was so bad that my children gave me fake flowers on Mother’s Day. Still, here I was in the backyard of my home with a brand-new set of planter boxes and the entire shelf of gardening books from the Pecan Bayou library, including the official Texas gardening manual. I clumsily tried to turn the pages of the manual with my new green plastic-coated gardening gloves. I picked them because they had vegetables printed in the soft cotton material of the gloves. Maybe I could cause the brightly colored carrots and broccoli to somehow encourage the real plants I would try to grow.

“According to the manual, we should put the tomatoes over there in the bright sun.”

Aunt Maggie held her hand up to her eyes as she surveyed the patch of the yard we were now calling the garden. “Well, your boxes look good. Leo and Judd did a great job putting them together. All you need now is plenty of sunshine, water, and maybe a little fertilizer now and again. You can’t have the beauty without a little poo-ty. It should be lovely, dear.”

My new planter boxes gave off the scent of fresh wood from the lumber store and had only cost us a little too much money to build. Now I had another problem: I needed at least fifteen inches of dirt in each box. Luckily at the suggestion of Maggie, I called up our local garden store, Sprouts, and ordered dirt to be delivered to our home.

“How much garden dirt did you need there, Betsy?” Joe Phillips, the owner, asked as the ring of the cash register echoed in the background.

“I guess I’m going to need a lot. I have ten planter boxes that I need to fill. How much would that be?”

“Don’t rightly know. It depends on how big your planter boxes are. Did you want a bed full?” That sounded simple. It had to be like a cord of wood—a pickup truck full.

“Yes. That’s how much I want.” I was pleased it had been as simple as that. Need to add to your garden? Pick up the phone, and you can fill your garden with glorious, healthy dirt.

Reviews:~Laura’s Interests wrote:

A wonderful cozy read with lots more going on than just a murder investigation.

~I Read What You Write wrote:

This book is why I read cozies. It is full of great character driven story. It is not so hung up on the mystery that it forgets to be about the people.

~Bookworm Cafe wrote:

This was a quick, enjoyable read. The characters are likable and well developed.

~Bab’s Book Bistro wrote:

A great read you will find yourself turning the pages faster and faster.

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