MULCH ADO ABOUT MURDER, the fifth book in Edith Maxwell’s Local Foods Mystery series, brings the reader back to Westbury, Massachusetts. We find organic farmer Cam Flaherty hard at work tending her fields and chickens, when her academic parents decide to come for a visit. Cam’s parents were more interested in their studies and researching abroad every year than spending time with her while she was growing up and as a result, they were never close. Cam has always felt insecure in their love for her and isn’t sure that she wants them there for too long of a visit, especially when her mother starts protesting against Nicole, a new hydroponics farmer in town.
I found the introduction of the controversy over hydroponics in organic farming very interesting. My husband grows flowering plants in hydroponics and semi-hydroponics and I’m intrigued at the possibility of growing food using that method. The town is divided over the issue and when Nicole is murdered, Cam’s visiting mother becomes a suspect. Cam knows her mother must be innocent but she appears to be hiding a dark secret and won’t confide in Cam or anyone else. The author weaves in the theme of looking for acceptance and finding yourself while making peace with the past. Cam’s mother may be hard to get to know but her father seems more amiable, kind of a forgetful, bumbling at times, professor who brings a sweetness to the story. The mystery of who killed the hydroponics farmer is satisfying with plenty of suspects to keep you guessing. The story is well paced with a suspenseful ending that had me up late, turning pages to find out how it ended!
Edith provides several delicious recipes at the end of the book and many are farm-fresh recipes that make me think of spring and summer. The recipe that caught my eye, Swedish Cheesecake, is one that is a light, not too sweet, dessert that provides a perfect ending to a summery dinner. Instead of relying on rich cream cheese, Swedish Cheesecake uses cottage cheese and almond meal making it lighter with a unique texture much different than American cheesecake. After trying a piece, I was reminded of a dessert from my childhood that was similar. I don’t have the recipe nor can I remember much about it, but it’s funny how certain tastes and textures bring back memories…good memories! I made this recipe and cut into bite-sized pieces for one of the desserts I provided for my granddaughter’s school’s Teacher Appreciation week. I must admit there were a few squares missing from the platter by the time it was delivered to the staff’s lounge 🙂
It’s been a hot, dry spring in Westbury, Massachusetts. As organic farmer Cam Flaherty waits for much-needed rain, storm clouds of mystery begin to gather. Once again, it’s time to put away her sun hat and put on her sleuthing cap…
May has been anything but merry for Cam so far. Her parents have arrived unexpectedly and her crops are in danger of withering away. But all of that’s nothing compared to the grim fate that lies in store for one of her neighbors. Nicole Kingsbury is the proud owner of the town’s new hydroponic greenhouse. She claims the process will be 100% organic, but she uses chemicals to feed her crops. To Cam’s surprise, her mother embarrasses her by organizing a series of loud public protests against Nicole’s operation.
When Nicole is found dead in a vat of hydroponic slurry—clutching another set of rosary beads—Detective Pete Pappas has a new murder to solve. Showers may be scarce this spring, but there’s no shortage of suspects, including the dead woman’s embittered ex‑husband, the Other Man whose affair ruined their marriage, and Cam’s own mother. Lucky for Cam, her father turns out to have a knack for sleuthing—not to mention dealing with chickens. Will he and Cam be able to clear Mrs. Flaherty’s name before the killer strikes again?
A huge thank you to Edith Maxwell for providing a hardcover copy for one lucky winner! Contest ends Thursday, June 1, 2017 at 11:59 pm PST and is limited to U.S. residents. Please use the Rafflecopter box located below the recipe to enter. The winner will be announced on this page and on Cinnamon & Sugar’s Facebook page, as well as notified by email (so check your spam folder!)
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I was provided an advanced copy with the hopes I would review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.