Sunday, April 28, 2013

Rotten to the Core by Sheila Connolly

This is the second in the Orchard Series. Meg finds another body on her property.  This time she does not know the person who died. Jason was a student at the university.  Meg needs to find out who killed him and why. Along they way, she gets a cat, some goats and a tractor! Will Meg and Seth become a couple?

Description from the author's site:
Not everything is blooming this spring …

Spring has come to Meg Corey’s apple orchard—and it’s quickly becoming a killer season. Just as she’s getting the hang of managing the two-hundred-year-old orchard she’s inherited, the dead body of a local organic farming activist is found in her springhouse. And the only thing that’s sprung is a murder accusation—against her…

The young man’s body was found with traces of pesticide poisoning. Strange for someone opposed to all things chemical. And why did someone plant his body on Meg’s land—when Meg hadn’t even met him? Now Meg needs to pick her actions wisely and get rid of the seed of suspicion that’s been planted before the orchard—and her future—is spoiled for good.


Chapter 1
Meg Corey walked to the edge of the orchard, stopping where the land sloped downward to her house below, and turned to study her trees. It was March and just over a year since she had first arrived in Granford to take up residence in a house she’d seen only once before in her life, and she almost laughed now to remember just how naïve she had been at the time. Of course, she had also been kind of stunned by the turns her life had suddenly taken back then: no job, no boyfriend, no place to call home. So Meg had blindly followed her mother’s suggestion to park herself in Granford, a tiny town in western Massachusetts, while she figured out her next move. Her mother, Elizabeth Corey, might even have used the words “find yourself.” Meg hadn’t had the energy either to argue with her mother or to come up with a better idea, so she had moved into the drafty old house, which lacked insulation and adequate heating, in the midst of a cold New England winter. She’d been miserable.
What a difference a year had made! Meg hadn’t even known there was an apple orchard on the property when she arrived, and now it was her livelihood. She could look at it and tell what tasks needed to be done now that it was early spring, before buds and leaves and apples began to form. She’d harvested a decent crop in the fall, despite a rather scary summer hailstorm, and had sold the apples for a profit. They’d had a string of good weather this month and had taken advantage of it to do housekeeping chores in the orchard—picking up the pruned twigs, turning over the soil as soon as it thawed. As Meg watched, Briona Stewart, her young orchard manager and housemate, appeared in the orchard lugging a bundle of prunings from the trees. There was always something to be done: broken limbs had to be propped up or heartlessly sawn off, fertilizer had to be applied before growth began, and there was the cycle of spraying—nontoxic!—to be factored in. Bree added her trimmings to a growing pile; there were people around the area who liked to use apple wood to scent their fires, and if they were willing to pay a couple of bucks for a bundle of discards, who was Meg to argue with them? Last year’s weeds had been cleared away, and everything looked neat and trim. Meg felt an unexpected surge of excitement. What kind of crop could she hope for this year? She still didn’t know her trees well enough to tell; she was still learning to distinguish among the modern stock and the scattered heirloom varieties that were increasing in popularity, at least in this rarified gourmet patch of western Massachusetts. But she had learned so much in only a year!
Meg had also decided she liked living in Granford—certainly well enough to stay for a second year, and maybe even longer. She was beginning to feel like the town, whose population hovered around thirteen hundred people, was home; she’d found friends and neighbors . . . and Seth Chapin, who was both of those and more, although they were both still shy of sticking a label on whatever they shared. She was, she dared to think, happy.  Read more here.

Pages: 298

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