When I think of exotic flowers my mind goes directly to orchids. There seems to be so many different types of orchids and so many different sizes, not to mention a mystique about them. Perhaps that is why so many mystery authors have used orchids in their stories... here are a few of my favorites.
by Rex Stout
Is there any character more associated with orchids than Nero Wolfe? I don’t think so. Nero Wolfe comes out of his beloved brownstone to see a very rare black orchid at a flower show. A murder happens and Mr. Wolfe’s sidekick Archie Goodwin is implicated. Orchids, New York City, the '40s — what could be better?
by Cynthia Riggs
Martha’s Vineyard native Victoria Trumbull is a naturalist, a deputy police officer and poet. And guess what? She’s also 92 years young. Victoria’s neighbor, Phoebe Eldridge, sells 200 gorgeous acres of her land to a land developer to keep the land out of the hands of her obnoxious family. The conservation trust asks Victoria to search the land for any rare plant to forestall the development of the land because it is against the law in Massachusetts to develop rare plant habitats. Victoria stumbles upon a dead body as well as a patch of the endangered Cranefly Orchid. Follow plucky Victoria and her young assistant as they trail a killer while also trying to save an endangered species.
by Michelle Wan
This finely detailed mystery is set in the Dordogne section of France. The Dordogne is a horticulturalist's dream: loaded with gorgeous flora and fauna, it's known for its wild orchids. A woman is backpacking through the woods and discovers a patch of wild orchids and in this patch is a rare species that has never been seen in the area before. She photographs the orchid and she is never heard from again. Nineteen years later, Bedie (the missing woman's twin sister) enlists the aid of orchidologist Julian Wood to help her solve the mystery of the disappearance of her sister. This book is filled with quirky characters, lots of orchid lore and two very interesting main characters.
by Ann Ripley
Our protagonist, Louise Eldridge, is host of a PBS gardening show, "Gardening with Nature." In this outing the show takes Louise to Hawaii to attend a botanical conference. The tropical paradise’s relaxing atmosphere comes to an abrupt halt when Louise discovers a body of one of the conference speakers on the beach. This mystery has loaded with gardening and Hawaii lore.
by Nathan Walpow
Joe Portugal is an actor and sometimes-sleuth. He's actually more of a cactus person than he is an orchid person, but he gets involved in trying to find out who killed a member of the local orchid society. This is a fun, fast-paced mystery loaded with fun characters and a good plot.
by Carolyn Keene
Nancy and her best buds George and Bess are going to Key Largo, Florida to visit with an old friend who is a marine biologist. It appears that someone has been poaching rare butterfly orchids from the local state park. Nice story with lots of local Florida lore.
Recommending books so good, they'll keep you up past your bedtime. more...
About Leah Smith
Leah lives near Washington D.C. and is an obsessive list maker. She loves lists so much that she creates topical bibliographies -- for fun. She also collects volvelles, nutcrackers, unusual names and map hankies. She talks about books and many other things on her blog, Fig Newtons and Scotch.
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