Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So cozy!

One Bad Apple by Sheila Connolly is the first in a new cozy mystery series starring Boston banker Meg Corey. After being dumped by boyfriend Chandler Hale and losing her job to downsizing, she jumps at the opportunity her mother presents: rehab the 250-year-old family property in tiny Granford. Meg's mother has rented it out since inheriting it, and the condition is much more dire than Meg expected, but everyone assures her it's a beautiful house, and the old apple orchard is charming (not to mention an important research tool for the college). Chandler shows up to ask Meg about selling off the orchard land to a development project he's working on. When the septic tank gives up the ghost, she meets Seth, the local plumber. Before the new trench is filled in, Chandler's body is found stuffed inside. Yuck. Local law enforcement suspects that Meg tried to rekindle her romance with Chandler and killed him when she was spurned. The other suspect is Seth, whose land is involved in the possible development deal. Meg pokes around to see if she can clear their names.

This was one of the most promising new series I've tried recently. Meg is likable, Granford is charming, and the mystery is interesting, with twists and turns. Many side characters had limited development, and I was wondering why Meg's voice wasn't in first person, but it's the first in a series, so I look forward to more character development in the next installment. There is information on apple orchards and recipes included at the end, but New England history, apple farming, and rehabbing are all featured in the main story. All in all, a pleasant, cozy read for anyone who enjoys small-town mysteries with lots of charm and not too much imminent danger.

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