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9780451473455WARNING: HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH. Do not swallow berries. If you do, call the poison control center immediately.

Not exactly what I wanted to read while I was buying shrubs for my home, but it was exactly what I needed to plant the seed of an idea for YEWS WITH CAUTION – pardon the pun.

I always need an inspiration for my mysteries, usually subjects with which I have a personal connection.  Last year, I was reading up on various shrubs for my home landscaping and learned enough about yews to be intrigued. For instance, they’ve been cultivated for thousands of years, are among the oldest living trees, and some specimens still used today are over 3,000 years old. They are also dioecious, meaning they have separate male and female plants. If there’s a male plant nearby, the female plant will produce red berries.

But this is what really caught my attention. All parts of the shrub (or tree), including the bark, the leaves and the seeds, whether fresh or dried, are poisonous to people and pets if they ingest them or get them in an open wound, yet don’t bother deer or birds.  And, as it so happened, I was needing to find a plot for my story. So my two main characters Abby and Marco, who had moved into their first home in the last book, MOSS HYSTERIA, were ready to start their landscaping, too.

At that point I start to play the “what if” game.  What if Abby and Marco planted a yew and one of them started to show symptoms of poisoning soon thereafter? What if someone else in town came down with a mysterious ailment after planting a shrub that came from the same all natural landscape center? Had they somehow ingested part of the plant, gotten it into their blood streams — or was something nefarious going on at that landscape center?

As with all my mysteries, YEWS WITH CAUTION is a fast-paced nail-biter that will stun you with its powerful, dynamic conclusion. I know you’ll enjoy this, the 19th book in the FLOWER SHOP MYSTERIES.

Kate Collins is the New York Times bestselling author of the Flower Shop Mystery series, now a series on the Hallmark Mystery Movie channel. Book #19 in the series, YEWS WITH CAUTION, was slated to be released May 30, 2017. All of Kate’s mysteries are available in print, digital, and large-print editions. The first three books are available on audio. Kate’s historical romances and children’s anthologies are also available in digital format through her website: http://www.katecollinsbooks.com. Facebook page: www.facebook.com/katecollinsmysteryauthor.