Bought the Farm
A Farmer’s Daughter Mystery, Book #3
By Peg Cochran
Author’s website: Pegcochran.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Wedding preparations are in full swing at Love Blossom Farm as food-and-lifestyle blogger Shelby McDonald transforms the property for her friend Kelly’s down-home country-style reception. But when the lead singer of the wedding band turns up dead–drowned in a trough full of rainwater and strung up like a scarecrow–the police round themselves up a barnful of suspects.
It seems that Travis sowed the seeds of discord wherever he went, and when it becomes clear that everyone from the groom to Shelby’s own staff has motive, tracking down Travis’ killer is going to be more difficult than finding a needle in a haystack. As Shelby finds herself drawn deeper into the investigation, she’ll have to move quickly before the killer decides to put her out to pasture.
With a unique setting and lots of down-home atmosphere and tidbits, Bought the Farm is sure to please cozy mystery readers looking for a salt of the earth protagonist and all-American backdrop.
In this third installment in the Farmer’s Daughter Mystery Series, we find the farmer and widow Shelby McDonald busy as always. In addition to the unfailingly demanding life on the farm, Shelby helps execute her best friend’s wedding in the barn. Everything is perfect until the lead singer of the wedding band, local boy turned star, is found murdered before the festivities are even over. In an effort to clear the groom’s name, Shelby uncovers a bushel of suspects and puts herself in danger.
I like this series, and this installment is enjoyable but a bit slow. There is a great deal of emphasis placed on the minutiae of running a farm (it seems like Shelby is weeding in every other scene or making breakfast), and this can be tedious and make the pace drag a bit. Shelby seems like a really down to earth person, but when she needlessly (stupidly) puts herself in danger, I got so angry with her that I almost threw the book across the room. I understand that what she does is for a dramatic climax, but…ugh. She does a fine job of investigating the suspects and uncovering their motives, but then it feels like she does not know what to do with that information to solve Travis’s murder. She takes a long time to put the pieces together, much longer than this reader.
Like so many cozy mystery readers, I keep coming back to books in series because of the characters, and despite my frustrations with Shelby, the recurring characters really are delightful, especially Shelby’s mother figure and friend Bert. The characters central to this mystery, mostly the band, are lackluster. The mystery itself is interesting, and the suspects do all have believable motives. There are enough clues along the way for readers to figure it all out before Shelby does. There is also the dreaded love triangle though I hope Shelby has made her choice, and we can be done with it.
I like Bought the Farm. I just don’t love it. I will definitely continue reading Shelby’s adventures.