Category Archives: Lavene, Jim and Joyce

Joyce and Jim Lavene. Last Dance. New York: Avalon Books, 1999.

It definitely isn’t Stephen King, but the plot of Jim and Joyce Lavene’s Last Dance does feature a girl named Carrie whose prom experience is less than stellar. In fact, Carrie Sommers, prom queen of Diamond Springs High School, is murdered in the school’s parking lot. Sheriff Sharyn Howard believes that the case is similar enough to a prom-night murder that her father investigated 10 years ago that she reopens the old case. With the original murder suspect on death row, local and state politicians getting involved, and her mother worried about damage to her father’s reputation, Sharyn has her hands full in this book, the first of the Sharyn Howard Mysteries set in the fictional Uwharrie Mountain town of Diamond Springs.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library Catalog.

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1999, Lavene, Jim and Joyce, Montgomery, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont

Joyce and Jim Lavene. Fruit of the Poisoned Tree. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2006.

When lawyer Park Lamonte dies after his car plummets off an overpass, the police first suspect that he committed suicide. Then attention shifts to his wife Beth and the accusations against her grow louder after Park’s mother is also killed. Charlotte-based botanist and garden shop owner Peggy Lee doesn’t think Beth is guilty and uses her experience and expertise with plants to try to free the widow from police custody. The story includes winter gardening tips and discussions of environmental topics, and features characters from the previous Peggy Lee stories, including Peggy’s boyfriend Steve, her online chess partner Nightflyer, and her unruly dog Shakespeare.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library Catalog.

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Filed under 2006, Lavene, Jim and Joyce, Mecklenburg, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont

Joyce and Jim Lavene. Poisoned Petals. New York: Berkley, 2007.

In Poisoned Petals, the third of the Peggy Lee Garden Mysteries, botanist Peggy’s Spring is a busy one. She is juggling teaching responsibilities, work at The Potting Shed, and her romance with boyfriend Steve. When the “accidental” death of an old friend–and a fellow botanist–is followed by his brother’s mysterious death only a few weeks later, Peggy adds more to her plate and starts poking around in both cases. Plant-based clues and the fact that both men were tied to the same charity add more fuel to the mystery, and hints dropped by Peggy’s online chess partner and sometime-informant, Nightflyer, help her on her quest for the truth.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library Catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Lavene, Jim and Joyce, Mecklenburg, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont

Joyce and Jim Lavene. Perfect Poison. New York: Berkley, 2008.

Mild-mannered garden-shop owner Peggy Lee often finds herself investigating mysteries, but at least in Perfect Poison she’s now a contractor for the Charlotte Police and will get paid for her troubles! Peggy starts her day at a funeral and ends up using her new forensic training at the scene of a seemingly-accidental drowning. She gets her second case a few days later, and this one seems hinky from the start. Why would a woman who drowned in a Charlotte-area swimming pool have wild, lake-growing plants on her body? As accusations cast suspicions on a friend and clues reveal similarities in the two deaths, Peggy tries to solve both cases and struggles to keep her shop open. Fans of the previous Peggy Lee Garden Mysteries will recognize familiar characters in this fourth book, including Peggy’s boyfriend Steve, son Paul, and the mysterious Nightflyer.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library Catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Lavene, Jim and Joyce, Mecklenburg, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Stanly

Joyce and Jim Lavene. Last Fires Burning. New York: Avalon Books, 2003.

In Last Fires Burning, the seventh mystery in this series, Sharyn Howard finds herself busily fighting fires–both literal and figurative. While her (fictional) Uwharrie Mountain town of Diamond Springs is threatened by wildfires, Sheriff Howard faces a tough reelection campaign and has two fire-related murders to solve. And her problems are not just professional; she is also dealing with ongoing disagreements with her mother, a new romance that she’s trying to keep out of the local press, and a deputy who’s in love with her.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC Library Catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2003, Lavene, Jim and Joyce, Montgomery, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont

Joyce and Jim Lavene. The Peggy Lee Garden Mysteries.

Peggy Lee is the owner of The Potting Shed, a gardening shop in center-city Charlotte. She also happens to be a botanist with a particular interest in poisonous plants and a penchant for getting involved in murder investigations. In each of these cozy mysteries, Peggy lends her expertise to the Charlotte Police Department during a different growing season and the authors include plant information and a gardening journal in each book.

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Filed under Lavene, Jim and Joyce, Mecklenburg, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Series

Joyce Lavene and Jim Lavene. Pretty Poison. New York: Penguin, 2005.

Peggy Lee, a botanist and owner of a garden shop in Charlotte, N.C., comes to work one day to find one of the richest men in town sprawled across her plants with his head bashed in. The police nab a homeless man for the crime, but Peggy doesn’t think he did it. The problem is, if she finds evidence to free the current suspect, then the next most likely killer is one of Peggy’s employees, whom she’s sure had nothing to do with the murder. Peggy dives into the investigation, digging through the dead man’s past in search of a possible killer. As she combs through the evidence, she’s assisted by a younger man who may prove to be more than a friend.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC Library Catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2005, Lavene, Jim and Joyce, Mecklenburg, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont

Joyce Lavene and Jim Lavene. The Sharyn Howard Mysteries.

Sharyn Howard is the sheriff in fictional Diamond Springs, N.C., a picturesque town in the Uwharrie Mountains. In each novel, Sharyn is on the case of a local murder that bears an eerie resemblance to, and usually proves to be connected to, a long-unsolved crime.

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Filed under Lavene, Jim and Joyce, Montgomery, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Series