A Late Frost
Orchard, Book #11
By Sheila Connolly
Author website: www(.)sheilaconnolly(.)com
The New York Times bestselling author of Seeds of Deception returns with a story of orchard owner Meg and the search for a poisoner.
The usually quiet town of Granford, Massachusetts, is even drowsier during the colder months. But this year it’s in for a jolt when Monica Whitman moves into town. She’s a dynamo who wants to make friends fast in her new home, and she throws herself into community activities. Meg Corey, now Chapin after her marriage to Seth Chapin, is intrigued by the new arrival, who has already sold the town board on a new, fun way to bring in visitors during the off-season: WinterFare, which will feature local foods (such as Meg’s apples) and crafts, as well as entertainment.
Tragically, Monica falls ill and dies after the event in what looks like a case of food poisoning. When all the food served at WinterFare has been tested, including Meg’s apples, it becomes clear that there’s a more sinister explanation to the older woman’s sudden demise.
Meg’s investigation uncovers a bushel of potential suspects, one of whom is rotten to the core. INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES
I have enjoyed the “Orchard” series from the first book I read. They have only gotten better and better. Hard to do when the series is past 10 installments, but author Sheila Connolly has done it and done it well. The characters are so well developed and I almost consider them friends. I love the interaction between them, the camaraderie and friendship, the wonderful setting and I always enjoy visiting Granford, Massachusetts. Protagonist Meg Corey now Chapin is delightful. She is smart yet knows her limits. She is kind and thoughtful and hardworking. Her new husband Seth Chapin is the perfect partner to her personality and values. This is one of my favorite couples in literature. In the newest installment from author Connolly, A Late Frost, there is a newcomer in town. And boy is she a full of energy. Life is going good for the townsfolk of Granford so what could go wrong?
New citizen of Granford, Monica Whitman is taking the town by storm. She is energetic and full of ideas. Her best one so far is WinterFare. She has almost single handedly got the Fare organized. The town board was sold on WinterFare as a way to bring more visitors (equals money) to town during the boring/restful off-season. It will have foods, crafts and entertainment all provided by locals. Meg is even going to put some of her last stock of apples up for sale. Everything goes surprisingly well. People have fun and it seems to be a resounding success. Then good friend and police officer Art let’s Seth know that Monica is in the hospital. Seems she may have food poison. Or does she?
Monica dies and it becomes known she was poisoned. Meg is of course worried it could be her apples when it comes to light that the poison is used in apple growing. Her new orchard manager knows about the chemical as well. Then in search of answers, Meg learns there are other uses for it. I have to say as wonderful as the Orchard series is to read and enjoy, I always seem to learn some interesting facts along the way and this one was no different. Meg and Seth are a great team and their friend Art is receptive to the knowledge they bring to him. I love how they work together to find the culprit.
A Late Frost is a truly delightful read. I so enjoy this series for several reasons. The characters are very well developed and truly people I would want to hang out with especially during the cold frosty winter in MA. The writing style of author Connolly is crisp, tasteful and just as satisfying as a nice glass of apple cider. The mystery in this one was different and full of misdirection and suspects you would not normally suspect. I loved every minute of it. Definitely one book I could not put down. And the surprise conclusion was just wonderful. Even if you have not read the other books in this series, you will be able to enjoy this one. I actually started midway through the series and went back and read from the start. Once you read one of them, you will want to read them all. Now I can hardly wait for the next installment in this superb series. And don’t forget the great recipes included at the end!
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*