Canale’s wife, Suzie, who’s penned several children’s books including, “The Land of Chocolate Cosmos” and “The Popcorn Hydrangea of Poppingtom,” has imagined something decidedly more adult in “A Flower to Die By.”
The 17-page short story tells the tale of Mr. Crench, a malevolent flower shop owner (“he makes Stalin seem like a pussycat,” Suzie Canale writes) who cheats on his wife, stiffs his wholesaler, sabotages his competitor, fights with customers and treats his staff with utter contempt. Mr. Crench’s demise comes when he drinks a cup of coffee that’s been poisoned with some Foxglove. As practically everyone who’s ever met Mr. Crench has motive to off him, the police have quite a challenge to determine the killer in this fun whodunit.
The story is free, available for download on the Exotic Flowers website. To read it, customers just have to supply an email address — giving Canale valuable information for marketing purposes.
“Of course, collecting contact info is one reason we’ve posted the story,” he said, with a laugh. “But the main reason is entertainment.”
On the shop’s blog, Rick and Suzie Canale often discuss non-floral subjects, such as literature, music, art and cooking. “They’re all a part of the lifestyle we project at Exotic Flowers,” he said. “We want to help our customers have fulfilling, well-rounded lives.”