Friday, May 31, 2013

Review of cozy mystery A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die by Edith Maxwell

A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die

Cameron Flaherty is a self-professed geek turned gardener. She’s given up a cubical for the outdoors. She prefers her fingers in soil rather than clicking across a keyboard. It’s a new life and a new world for Cameron as she turns her great-uncle’s home into her own.

Taking the plunge from salaried, experienced, corporate employee to self-employed, newbie organic CSA (community supported agriculture) farmer is quite an adjustment. But before Cameron can really start to appreciate the new life she is starting to create for herself, she finds her recently fired employee dead on her property. It’s obviously murder and is not a great way to close out the first day of her share program. The challenges and mysteries don’t stop as Cameron struggles to settle into a routine on her farm, with her share program, or with building her new business.

Maxwell combines personal experience with fiction in this novel featuring a cast of characters who have their own opinions about eating local food. For example, young Ellie is working on a Girl Scout badge and is learning to appreciate home-grown food; Portuguese immigrant Lucinda is determined to eat only locally grown food for an entire year; and Chef Jake prides himself on serving meals with as many local ingredients as possible. Other cast members add the right amount of neighborly conflict, jealousies, and suspicions to make the reader nod her head and think, “I know people like that.”

Although set in fictional Westbury, Massachusetts, the novel includes real locations, such as Newburyport and Gloucester. The novel is a wonderful introduction to farmer’s markets, organic gardening, CSAs, and CSFs (fishing).

This novel is Edith Maxwell’s first and is also the start of her Local Food Mystery Series. Maxwell has published several mystery short stories, and has a traditional mystery, Speaking of Murder, published under the pseudonym Tace Baker.

A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die is comfortable to read, which is appropriate since it’s a cozy, but I call it comfortable because as a reader, I felt like part of the cast and included in the conversations. It has a nice pace and is definitely a page turner. This is a highly recommended read for cozy readers, gardeners, and anyone seeking a pleasurable read.

Title: A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die
Author: Edith Maxwell
Published: June 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7582-8461-7
Publisher: Kensington Publishing

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