Mulch Ado about Murder
by Edith Maxwell
The Local Foods Mystery Series is set in the small Attic Hill Organic Farm in New England with owner Cam Flaherty as the main character. In Mulch Ado about Murder, Cam (short for Cameron) tries to deliver some basil and lettuce seedlings to Nicole Kingsbury at her new hydroponic greenhouse. She is blocked by a group of protestors which includes her visiting mother. The bigger surprise, however, awaits Cam inside the greenhouse where she finds Nicole in a different state than she expected. This discovery sets in motion a series of events that spiral out of control mystifying Cam, the state police, including her boyfriend detective Pete, and local law enforcement.
There is a backdrop of Cam’s relationship to her parents that is integral to the mystery rather than a distraction for the reader. Cam has never had a close relationship with her parents, both anthropology professors. During their visit, Cam finds herself drawing closer to her father, but puzzled by her mother’s continued reticence about the past.
The reader is given critical information as Cam discovers it and so is able to try to solve the mystery along with her. There is action as well as sleuthing and the mystery ends on a satisfactory note. It was quite an enjoyable read.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: 1. There are some recipes at the end of the book reflecting foods that Cam’s father prepared or that the characters enjoyed at local restaurants in the story.
2. #5 in the Local Foods Mystery Series, but I enjoyed it as a standalone.
Publication: May 30, 2017—Kensington Books
A breeze picked up, fluffing the leaves on the old oak behind the barn like a teenager fixing her hair. A cloud blotted out the slanting sunlight. Cam sniffed. Let it be rain coming. Let it be rain.
The gentle spray from the watering wands arched over the table to wet the infant plants. Watering was definitely meditative for Cam. Watching the spray calmed and cleaned her jangled thoughts. Smelling the wet soil reassured her that life continues, that despite the apparent murder of a fellow grower, the cycle of growth was universal and never-ending.
“You can’t believe how good that smells,” Cam said. What it smelled like was her childhood. Every night her father would make them both toast before bed. Their similar tall, thin frames gave them similar appetites, what Albert used to call Hollow Leg Syndrome.