Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I love this series and am so excited to have Sheila drop by for a visit today!
A Late Frost
(Orchard Mystery #11, Berkley)
(Guest post provided by publicist)
It is truly surprising how many murders seem to take place in small towns, as Meg Corey finds out when she moves to rural western Massachusetts. Downsized out of her Boston banking job, she thinks she’s going to renovate and sell a colonial house her mother inherited, then get back to her “real” life as a financial analyst.
A couple of years later she finds herself married to neighbor Seth Chapin and managing her own orchard. And getting involved in too many murder investigations.
In A Late Frost, it’s winter in Granford, and there’s not much to do in the orchard. Monica Whitman has recently retired to town with her husband, and she’s eager to get involved in her new community, so she suggests that the town create a new festival called Winterfare in the slow season. The event is everything she had hoped, but unfortunately she doesn’t live long enough to enjoy her success: she dies that night. Was it a suspicious death, or simply bad luck?
Meg hardly knew the woman, but when police find no obvious cause for Monica’s death, suspicions flare. The only way Meg can find to help is to learn more about Monica and her past from Monica’s husband, and the results are surprising.
Thank you Sheila for visiting today!
A Late Frost (An Orchard Mystery)
11th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (November 7, 2017)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Kindle ASIN: B06WGNPM43
The usually quiet town of Granford, Massachusetts, is even drowsier during the colder months. But this year it’s in for a jolt when Monica Whitman moves into town. She’s a dynamo who wants to make friends fast in her new home, and she throws herself into community activities. Meg Corey, now Chapin after her marriage to Seth Chapin, is intrigued by the new arrival, who has already sold the town board on a new, fun way to bring in visitors during the off-season: WinterFare, which will feature local foods (such as Meg’s apples) and crafts, as well as entertainment.
Tragically, Monica falls ill and dies after the event in what looks like a case of food poisoning. When all the food served at WinterFare has been tested, including Meg’s apples, it becomes clear that there’s a more sinister explanation to the older woman’s sudden demise.
Meg’s investigation uncovers a bushel of potential suspects, one of whom is rotten to the core.
Winter in Granford leaves Meg Corey with a lot of time on her hands. Seth doesn’t have a major job at the moment either. You would be able to think these newlyweds would be able to enjoy an extended honeymoon, especially after all the chaos they went through with her parents and the dead handyman. Instead a new resident, Monica Whitman, has moved to Granford and has a fun idea to bring tourists to town during the colder months, WinterFare. With Seth on the town council, he plays a major role and Meg has a booth selling apples. This first year it is more about bringing the community together. But it may be the last year because Monica is rushed to the hospital and later dies. It looks like a case of food poisoning, meaning Meg could be a suspect. Anyone who sold/served food at the event is in the same boat. Meg is working closely with Art Preston, the chief of police, to pare down the list and try to figure out who killed this enthusiastic newcomer.
Sheila Connolly brings almost all the old characters back. Bree has taken a new job in Australia, so Meg needs to hire a new manager. Her mentor, Christopher has someone he thinks is perfect for the job. At their first meeting, Meg isn’t too sure. Larry is not a people person, but he knows his apples. Speaking of a people person, Monica Whitman is one, she talks a mile a minute, and has all sorts of ideas but she doesn’t live long enough for us to really get to know her better. After her death we meet her husband, Douglas, a quiet man with monumental challenges. These new characters are as well written as the regulars.
I really enjoy the normal daily life of Seth and Meg. Their relationship is so comfortable. Figuring out about how to handle taxes now that they are married and both with successful businesses. Deciding what to do with Seth’s family home now that he has moved in with Meg. Children in the future. . . maybe? I enjoyed the friendship that they have with Art. He wasn’t in charge of the investigation but he trusted their thoughts and theories, even going beyond his authority to get answers.
The mystery was top-notch and could have played out several ways. Ms. Connolly shocked me with the ending. It made perfect sense but my thinking was never drawn to the person for one instant.
This is a marvelous mystery series. I have enjoyed every visit to Granford and can’t wait to return. This next apple season is going to be very interesting.
About the Author
Sheila Connolly, Anthony and Agatha Award–nominated and New York Times bestselling author, writes mystery series set in Philadelphia (the Museum Mysteries), rural Massachusetts (the Orchard Mysteries), and Ireland (the County Cork Mysteries), as well as a paranormal romance series (the Relatively Dead series). She will introduce a new Victorian Village series set in Maryland in 2018. In addition, her short stories have appeared in multiple anthologies. Formerly a professional genealogist, she lives in Massachusetts, surrounded by many, many departed ancestors, with her husband and three cats, and owns a cottage in West Cork in Ireland, where her father’s family came from.
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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.”