If you're not already a fan of Sheila Connolly's Orchard mysteries, Mary Ann Lasher's cover illustration should reach out and grab you. Lasher's book cover beautifully summarizes Connolly's latest mystery, Red Delicious Death. Apples, an old house with an inviting porch, a chef's hat, and a bee. I could just tell you that's my summary of this inviting book, but I won't.
Meg Corey has been in her house in Granford, Massachusetts for about six months, and it was only recently that she learned she had inherited an apple orchard. Between restoring the house, learning about her orchard, working with her orchard manager, and getting to know Seth Chapin, her neighbor and a town selectman, she doesn't have much extra time. But, with the lack of local restaurants, she jumps when a friend calls saying some young chefs are hoping to open a restaurant in the area. Soon, Meg is acting as business advisor, friend, and mother hen to three eager young people. Their ideas of buying local food for the restaurant excite most of the town. But, someone must not have been very happy, because it isn't too long before one of them is found dead in a farmer's pig field.
I'm hoping Sheila Connolly can avoid the Cabot Cove syndrome with her Orchard mysteries. Granford is a very small town, but it's a perfect setting for these stories. It's been enjoyable watching the developing relationship between Meg, her orchard manager, Seth, and the rest of the community. Meg is starting to find her place in Granford. Connolly has created an interesting town in Granford, and Meg's volunteer work for the historical society opens up another aspect of the village, its past. And, the story of Granford's past has been an integral element to each of these books.
Red Delicious Death is another treat by Sheila Connolly. But, the author isn't one to rest on her laurels. Just when the reader thinks they're satisfied with this latest book, she ends the book with one word that leaves us impatient for the next Orchard mystery. Well done, Sheila!
Sheila Connolly's website is www.sheilaconnolly.com
Red Delicious Death by Sheila Connolly. Berkley Prime Crime, ©2010. ISBN 9780425233436 (paperback), 304p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, in hopes I would review it.