oak and daggerOak and Dagger by Dorothy St. James is the third book in the “White House Gardener” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, April 2013

When it comes to gardening, Cassandra “Casey” Calhoun isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. But when it comes to murder, she’s not the kind of gal to let any killer get away clean.

Despite cooler fall temperatures in Washington, D.C., tempers flare at the White House when important historical documents go missing from the curator’s office and the gardeners are blamed. As if that isn’t bad enough, Casey has started receiving death threats, the president’s pooch is digging unsightly holes all over the South Lawn, and the curator has been found dead. All evidence for the murder points to Gordon Sims, the chief gardener. His fingerprints are on the murder weapon, and witnesses saw him arguing with the curator shortly before her death.

With the help of Special Agent Jack Turner, her reluctant sidekick and new flame, Casey works to clear Gordon’s name. Along the way she finds herself in a deadly race against time to discover if there’s a link between the stolen papers, the dog’s holes in the South Lawn, and a rumored two-hundred-year-old treasure—before the killer strikes again.

It all started with a shovel that lands Casey into another case of intrigue and suspense. But this time it’s more personal and Casey will pull out all the stops to save her beloved friend. With help from some unexpected sources, the case unfolds with some new discoveries and new beginnings.

This is a very enjoyable read that I could not put down with all that was going on from a treasure hunt to relationships all woven into an endearing and nicely done drama. The author did a good job in the development of this story and I loved how each chapter flowed from one to the next, never letting me missed any important facts that was necessary to identifying the culprit. Casey is a delightful heroine surrounded by a great cast of characters from Jack, to Gordon and even to Milo. I would love to see more of her Rosebrook family in future stories. Again, an entertaining read and I look forward to more exciting adventures with the White House gardeners.

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