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Directed by: Simon Langton, Brian Farnham
Writers: Clive Exton, Stephen Gallagher
Produced by Brian Eastman: Carnival Films

Starring: Felicity Kendal, Pam Ferris

MPAA Rating: NR
Run time: 398 minutes (8 episodes/3 DVDs)

Genre: British mystery/crime/gardening

Available through Acorn Meida

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Thankfully, the third series is now available on DVD! The gardening and sleuthing duo of Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme are back and just in time for the spring gardening season.

I find this series delightful! I prefer the lovely English gardens to the overseas or European adventures the two get up to, but that's just a minor quibble of mine and doesn't prevent me from watching each episode with enthusiasm. Murder is murder and crime is crime, no matter where you stumble across it!

Rosemary and Laura are both middle-aged, earthy, and fun characters to watch. I absolutely love how Rosemary's snoring keeps Laura awake into the wee hours of the morning and how they sometimes "forget" to give all of the pertinent clues and evidence to the investigating police officers.

Although they are technically amateur sleuths, they are not without experience. They've solved quite a few murders during the run of the program, plus Laura Thyme has a background in police work, having been a WPC at one time. She was also married to a cop and has a grown son who's a cop. Rosemary Boxer is the classically trained plant person. She used to lecture on plant biology at the university. She still has former students and friends on the faculty who are able to assist her when she needs a bit more botanical information than she can recall, off hand.

In series #3, the two struggle to restore an ancient herb garden before the scheduled visit of the Queen, while trying to solve the murder of a young girl ("In a Monastery Garden"). They take on the task of organizing a famous botanist's seed collection and tidying up the garden before the house is to be sold, but murder intrudes ("Seeds of Time). More death is confronted while the two travel to southern Spain to create a Moorish garden for a former beau of Rosemary's ("Agua Cadaver"). One of my favorites ("Three Legs Good") features a three-legged dog who is the "witness" to a killing in historic Regent's Park as Laura and Rosemary ponder who is stealing their newly planted flowers. Rosemary finds an abandoned baby in the woods ("The Gooseberry Bush"), they corner a killer in a bullring in sunny Spain ("Racquet Espanol"), Laura loses interest in gardening when she takes up acting ("Enter Two Gardeners"), and eradicating weeds choking an English vineyard keeps the duo busy until a wine columnist meets a mysterious death while a guest at the winery's hotel ("The Cup of Silence").

You don't have to be a gardener to enjoy this series and you don't have to worry about not being able to follow the characters if you haven't yet seen the previous episodes in Series #1 and #2. As with the previous episodes, viewers may find they enjoy some episodes more than others. I'm not sure if that's because the writing is uneven, or if, in my case, my personal preferences get in the way. As I said, for me, I prefer the settings to be in Britain. I found the two episodes set in Spain to be less interesting, partly because the surrounding countryside, although beautiful, didn't evoke that closed-in, "we're on our own to solve this" feeling that I enjoy with the stories set in smaller, British gardens. If that makes sense. Still, I highly recommend this series to fans of cozy mysteries and those who like their sleuths down-to-earth, plucky, and well-seasoned. Age wise. After all, this is a gardening show, not a cooking show!

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