I’m delighted to be a guest here again. Thanks for inviting me, Lori!. Mulch Ado About Murder, my fifth Local Foods Mystery, came out on May 30 and I’ll give away a signed hardcover to one commenter here today.
Here’s the cover text:
It’s been a hot, dry spring in Westbury, Massachusetts. As organic farmer Cam Flaherty waits for much-needed rain, storm clouds of mystery begin to gather. Once again, it’s time to put away her sun hat and put on her sleuthing cap when a fellow farmer is found dead in a vat of hydroponic slurry—clutching a set of rosary beads. Showers may be scarce this spring, but there’s no shortage of suspects, including the dead woman’s embittered ex-husband, the Other Man whose affair ruined their marriage, and Cam’s own visiting mother. Lucky for Cam, her nerdy academic father turns out to have a knack for sleuthing. Will he and Cam be able to clear Mom’s name before the killer strikes again?
This is the first cozy mystery series I wrote. I am often asked why I write in the genre I do, and my answer is that I love reading cozies. Real life is scary enough. I don’t need my down time to be filled with car chases and international thrillers, or with depressing noir and male detectives always commenting on women’s legs and other “assets.”
When I started writing the first book more than twenty years ago, I had a small certified organic farm, so I figured, hey, write what you know. I didn’t finish the book until 2012, after I landed the contract with Kensingon Publishing, but I loved the world I had set up all those years earlier so I kept it. It’s a classic cozy setup: an outsider returns to a small town, a cast of recurring characters support her amateur sleuthing, and justice is restored in the end.
In the case of the Local Foods Mysteries, Cam Flaherty is the outsider. She’s a former software engineer who takes over her great-uncle Albert’s farm at his request when he can’t do the work anymore. The cast of regulars are members of the Locavore Club, a group of locals who believe strongly in eating food grown close to where they live. And justice is restored by the end of every book.
Throughout the series, Cam has been referring to her peripatetic academic parents, to whom she isn’t particularly close, but we’ve never met them – until this book. Right away Cam’s mother Deb gets involved in a public protest against a new hydroponic farmer, and she was seen going into the farmer’s greenhouse. So when Nicole turns up dead, you know the police want to talk to Deb.
The series is set in a town modeled on West Newbury, in the northeast corner of Massachusetts, where I had my farm. One of the annual spectacles is the Memorial Day parade, with all the quirks and color only a small town can present. I knew I wanted to include it in a book, and I love that book came out exactly at the time it is set (as did the first book in the series. A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die).
I love writing this series and immersing myself in the farming life again without having to do all the hard work. Lots of readers have written me saying how much they learned about small-scale farming. I hope you like it, too.
Readers: What’s your favorite quirky Memorial Day parade? How about the small farm where you like to buy produce? I’ll give away a signed hardcover copy of the book to one commenter.
About Edith Maxwell
2017 double Agatha-nominated and national best-selling author Edith Maxwell writes the Local Foods Mysteries and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries; as Maddie Day she writes the Country Store Mysteries and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. Her award-winning short crime fiction has appeared in many juried anthologies and journals, and she serves as President of Sisters in Crime New England.
A fourth-generation Californian and former tech writer, farmer, and doula, Maxwell now writes, cooks, gardens (and wastes time as a Facebook addict) north of Boston with her beau and three cats. She blogs at WickedCozyAuthors.com, Killer Characters, and with the Midnight Ink authors. Find her on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and at www.edithmaxwell.com.
As Tace Baker
As Maddie Day
Mulch Ado about Murder (Local Foods Mystery)
5th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Kensington (May 30, 2017)
Hardcover: 304 pages
Kindle ASIN: B01LJKQGES
It’s been a hot, dry spring in Westbury, Massachusetts. As organic farmer Cam Flaherty waits for much-needed rain, storm clouds of mystery begin to gather. Once again, it’s time to put away her sun hat and put on her sleuthing cap . . .
May has been anything but merry for Cam so far. Her parents have arrived unexpectedly and her crops are in danger of withering away. But all of that’s nothing compared to the grim fate that lies in store for one of her neighbors. Nicole Kingsbury is the proud owner of the town’s new hydroponic greenhouse. She claims the process will be 100% organic, but she uses chemicals to feed her crops. To Cam’s surprise, her mother embarrasses her by organizing a series of loud public protests against Nicole’s operation.
When Nicole is found dead in a vat of hydroponic slurry—clutching another set of rosary beads—Detective Pete Pappas has a new murder to solve. Showers may be scarce this spring, but there’s no shortage of suspects, including the dead woman’s embittered ex‑husband, the Other Man whose affair ruined their marriage, and Cam’s own mother. Lucky for Cam, her father turns out to have a knack for sleuthing—not to mention dealing with chickens. Will he and Cam be able to clear Mrs. Flaherty’s name before the killer strikes again?
Spring is such a busy time for a farmer. The last thing Cam needs is a surprise visit from her parents. O.K. that’s not the last thing she needs, the last thing she needs is to get wrapped up in another murder. But that is just what she does. When she arrives at the new hydroponic greenhouse to drop off some seedlings she finds the owner Nicole Kingsbury dead in a vat of slurry. Because of the group protesting outside the greenhouse she has plenty of witnesses to provide an alibi for the time she arrives. Unfortunately that doesn’t work for her mom, who happens to be one of the protesters. There are plenty of other suspects too but her mom is hiding something. To keep her mom out of jail she is going to be assisting the local police including her boyfriend Detective Pete Pappas.
What I really like about these stories is that Cam does the her sleuthing but she quickly tells the police anything she finds even if they don’t always appreciate her help. This time her dad even lends a hand.
Edith Maxwell has created such a vibrant cast of characters. Cam has really grown into her role as a farmer. I love that she has a group of volunteers that help with the chores and receive produce for their labors. They span all ages from teenagers to senior citizens.
Of course, I have heard of organic farming but hydroponic farming is brand new to me. The author educates the reader in the course of the story. I found the process very interesting.
The story is well written with important seeds sprinkled throughout getting us closer and closer to finding the killer. The family dynamic that grows between Cam and her parents was just as engaging as the murder mystery. The author gives us suspense and drama peppered with humor and also gives us several heartwarming moments too. Cam and Pete’s relationship has to take a little break because of the investigation but its strength shines in the way they handle the separation.
This is a strong addition for this series. A perfect summer read. And there are recipes in the back of the book too. Yes, it can be read as a stand alone. PICK yours up today!
Readers: What’s your favorite quirky Memorial Day parade? How about the small farm where you like to buy produce? Tell me in the comments below. I’ll give away a signed hardcover copy of the book to one commenter.
Winner will be chosen Tuesday Morning – June 13
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”