Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters in an engaging mystery.
Cons: All cons pulled like weeds
The Bottom Line:
Body in greenhouse
Means chance to hang with Cam, friends
New Farmer Dead in Her Greenhouse
It is possible to learn new things by reading fiction. For example, I had never really heard of hydroponic farming or about the controversy surrounding it. Yet that forms the introduction to Mulch Ado about Murder, the fifth local foods mystery.
You see, Nicole Kingsbury has just moved to town and set up a hydroponic farm in Westbury, Massachusetts. Cam Flaherty is excited to have another farmer in the area, and she has been starting some seedlings for Nicole in her hoop house while Nicole gets her new farm up and running. In fact, that’s what brings Cam to Nicole’s house that afternoon. Cam is greeted outside by protestors who think that, since hydroponic farming doesn’t use soil but chemicals to nurture the plants, it shouldn’t be counted as organic farming. What surprises Cam most about the protest is that her own mother, Deb, is involved. Both of Cam’s parents are visiting for the first time in several years, and obviously some things have changed since Cam saw them last.
When Cam goes into Nicole’s greenhouse to deliver the seedlings, she finds Nicole dead. Naturally, the police question everyone who was protesting, but Cam can tell her mother is hiding something. What could it be? Will it have any bearing on the murder?
And just like that we are off watching Cam solve another intriguing case. I might have oversold the hydroponic farming aspect of this book so far since it is only one possible motive for murder that Cam uncovers. With her mother being a suspect for some reason that Cam can’t understand, it keeps things interesting. There are plenty of suspects and secrets to uncover, and I was engaged the entire time. The climax was fantastic and perfectly logical as well.
We’ve actually seen quite a bit of character growth in Cam over the course of the series, and we are reminded of some of that in this book. Seeing her interact with her parents provides another layer to her that I enjoyed. The rest of the regulars all get their moment to shine, and the characters introduced in this book are just as strong.
Of course, with all the food mentioned here, you’d expect a few recipes in the back of the book. This time around, we get recipes for a kale and couscous salad, brown rice risotto, and a Swedish cheesecake.
I hadn’t fully realized how much I’ve come to love this cast of characters until I started reading this book. It was truly wonderful to catch up with these old friends, and several developments in their personal lives definitely made me smile.
So if you are a fan of the Local Foods Mysteries, you’ll be pleased to find out what happens next in Mulch Ado about Murder. And if you have yet to meet Cam, I recommend that you do so today.
Need more of Cam's adventures? Here are the Local Foods Mysteries in order.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.