Monday, May 12, 2014

Review of Edith Maxwell's cozy mystery 'Til Dirt Do Us Part

‘Til Dirt Do Us Part

Reviewed by Lisa Haselton

Fall has arrived in Westbury, Massachusetts and self-professed geek turned gardener Cameron Flaherty finds herself mixed up in murder – again.

With the summer warmth and long days behind her, Cameron is grateful to have her barn rebuilt. And although the busiest gardening season is over, there is still plenty of work around the farm to be done and vegetables to be harvested.

The day after hosting an outdoor farm-to-table dinner at her farm, Cameron learns that one of the attendees has been found dead at a neighboring farm. Irene Burr had been raising a lot of ire around town with her desire to turn the old town hall into a museum. Did someone murder her, or was it a horrible accident? When Detective Pappas arrives at her doorstep, Cam knows murder is again in the air. She doesn’t want to be drawn in to the mystery, as the farm needs her full attention, but when strange events start happening to her, Cameron can’t help but be drawn in to try to find answers.

Maxwell’s ability to combine personal experience with a fictional world gives the story a nice balance. She entertains and educates at the same time. Young Ellie is back in this story and is excited about fulfilling the requirements for a Girl Scout badge thanks to Cameron’s assistance. Chef Jake is masterful with preparing the food for the farm-to-table dinner, yet his mood swings have Cameron wondering what is going on with him. The cast of characters adds the right amount of neighborly conflict, jealousies, and suspicions to make the reader as uncertain about who to trust, as the protagonist.

I enjoyed learning a bit more about organic food, farmer’s markets, and CSAs when reading this novel. The main character will soon be adding fresh eggs to her CSA, as chickens have moved onto Cameron’s farm. The novel is a wonderful glimpse into how being involved in the community can make a difference in people’s lives in various ways, too.

This is the second novel in Edith Maxwell’s Local Food Mystery Series. The first is A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die. Maxwell has published several mystery short stories, and has a traditional mystery, Speaking of Murder, published under the pseudonym Tace Baker.

I enjoyed ‘Til Dirt Do Us Part and it was difficult to stop turning the pages. The twists and turns kept me guessing right until the end, and even then there’s a cliffhanger. I found the romantic aspect just as intriguing as trying to solve the whodunnit. Who will Cam end up with? What kind of trouble will she find herself involved with next? This reader is looking forward to the next book in the series. I consider this a highly recommended, pleasurable read.

If you’re interested in learning more, visit the author’s website, or check out her Wednesday posts on the Sisters in Crime New England blog where her protagonist shares gardening tips. 

This book's release date is May 27. Edith is having a preorder contest where the gift is a lovely hand-painted silk scarf for you or someone you know. Click here for all the details.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-8464-8
Publisher: Kensington Books

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