Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Wonderful characters, good mystery, great atmosphere
Cons: All cons organically destroyed
The Bottom Line:
The corpse in the barn
Megan uncovers secrets
Can’t wait for next book
Pages Turn as the Muddied Becomes Clear
Since one of my non-book related hobbies is mud runs, the title of A Muddied Murder caught my interest. I quickly realized that this is a series set on a farm, but I also started to hear great things about it, so I knew I had to give it a try.
Megan Sawyer has returned to her home town of Winsome, Pennsylvania, to run the family farm. It’s actually been neglected for years, so it has taken some work to get things going again. She’s also hoping to open a combined store and restaurant in town that features produce from the farm.
Of course, before any of that opens, she needs to have the store pass the building inspection, and Simon Duvall, the local zoning commissioner, continues to find reasons to deny her the permits she needs to open. The night after the store has failed the latest inspection, Megan finds Simon dead in her barn. Naturally, the police think she is the best suspect. Megan sets out to clear her name, but she keeps coming back to one question – why was Simon killed in her barn?
While the mystery of who done it is strong, this book has the added twist of secrets in Megan’s past coming to light. I really enjoyed this because it added some depth to the plot. While the author resolved the bit of that family history introduced here, it leaves the door open for many further stories, and I am very hooked. I need to know what happens next to Megan.
Which obviously means the characters are strong. There were a couple of the supporting cast that felt a little weak to me, but that’s a minor issue since the rest of the characters were great, and I’m sure they will be further developed in future books. I sympathized with Megan, I love her grandmother, the love interest is a great guy, and the suspects are viable.
None of this distracts from the mystery, however. There are enough clues and red herrings to keep us interested and guessing until the climax, when everything is successfully tied up.
For much of the book, it is cloudy or raining, which makes for a very atmospheric read. Despite the sun we were having here in Southern California while I was reading, it really helped pull me into this book. Of course, that does create some of the mud in the title of the book as well.
Since growing or selling food plays such a large part in the book, it’s no surprise that there is a recipe at the end. It’s a vegetable rich pasta primavera that sounds wonderful.
These characters are great, and I can hardly wait to see what grows out of this rich debut. If you haven’t read A Muddied Murder yet, pick it up today and enjoy.