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Rotten to the Core (An Orchard Mystery) Mass Market Paperback – July 7, 2009
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"One crisp, delicious read." -- Claudia Bishop
About the Author
Sheila Connolly is the New York Times bestselling, Anthony and Agatha award nominated author of the Orchard Mysteries, the Museum Mysteries, and the County Cork Mysteries. She has taught art history; structured and marketed municipal bonds for major cities; worked as a staff member on two statewide political campaigns; and served as a fundraiser for several nonprofit organizations. Sheila also managed her own consulting company, providing genealogical research services. In addition to genealogy, she loves restoring old houses, visiting cemeteries, and traveling. Now a full-time author, Sheila thinks writing mysteries is a lot more fun than any of her previous occupations. She is married and has one daughter and three cats.
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I have enjoyed the first 2 titles very much. The characters are well-developed, likable and believable. Young Meg Corey moves into her mother’s inherited 200 year old colonial house in Granford, Massachusetts. Meg has just left her Boston city life and banking job and ended a relationship. Her mother (who does not make an appearance in the first 2 titles except for very short phone calls) thinks Meg needs a ‘project’ to take her mind off her problems and asks Meg to ‘fix up the house’ and ready it for sale. (This scenario is a bit of a stretch for me.) Meg hasn’t visited the area since she was a young child and discovers that a 15 acre orchard is part of the property. Meg becomes very interested in the different apple varieties, orchard management techniques and local history - not only of the orchard, but of the house, her distant relatives and the area as well.
Meg meets many of the small town’s inhabitants as she grapples with plumbing problems, orchard pest management, real estate issues, restoration work, and of course, the appearance of several dead bodies on her property.
I am comfortable with the characters and feel that they resemble the inhabitants of my own small New England town. The mysteries are good and developed. The insights into orchard management are very interesting to me and very well-researched. I am also interested in the local history of the area which is based on New England colonial history.
I think I will order #3 in the series, RED DELICIOUS DEATH.
Sheila Connolly builds on the last one and keeps the momentum going. I loved getting to know the other characters of Granford. Small town life makes me grin. I feel so invested in the story. I struggled to put it down. I had to know what Meg was going to do next. I loved how she was embracing the Warren house. I canot wait to see how her first season goes with the orchard. Sheila is a fantastic writer and I am so glad that I have the next two purchased!
Pluses: Loved the Meg/Lavinia interactions; Sheila has "cat language" down-pat!! Liked the addition of Large and Smaller Goat. Enjoyed the progression of Meg's orchard and house. Even liked the passages about her shopping for food, new dishes, and how she prepared for her dinner party. Guess I am just a "country girl" at heart..the way Meg fears SHE is becoming!
I will buy and read Book 3, but I sure hope it's back to being as GOOD as One Bad Apple (book One).