Apple Cider Slaying

Cider Shop Mystery #1

By Julie Anne Lindsey

ISBN 1496723473 (ISBN13: 9781496723475)

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele


Apples are at the core of the family business run by Winona Mae Montgomery and her Granny Smythe. But this year’s crop is unseasonably ripe with murder .


Blossom Valley, West Virginia, is home to Smythe Orchards, Winnie and her Granny’s beloved twenty-five-acre farm and family business. But any way you slice it, it’s struggling. That’s why they’re trying to drum up business with the “First Annual Christmas at the Orchard,” a good old-fashioned holiday festival with enough delicious draw to satisfy apple-picking locals and cider-loving tourists alike–until the whole endeavor takes a sour turn when the body of Nadine Cooper, Granny’s long-time, grudge-holding nemesis, is found lodged in the apple press. Now, with Granny the number one suspect, Winnie is hard-pressed to prove her innocence before the real killer delivers another murder . . . (Goodreads)


Smythe Orchards has faced some financial challenges since Winnie’s Grampy passed away, but she hopes that the first ever Winterfest at the Orchard will put them back in the black.  Before she and Granny can even get started, Granny’s nemesis is found murdered in the apple press. When Granny becomes the prime suspect, Winnie decides she must find the real killer or the orchard’s future and the proposed retail shop on the property are sunk.

Lindsey’s characters are wonderful.  I particularly enjoy Winnie and Granny’s relationship and meeting the entire supporting cast.  The orchard and the small West Virginia town make the perfect setting for a cozy mystery. There is potential for all kinds of mystery scenarios at the orchard.

The book spends a lot of time introducing the characters and Granny and Winnie’s circumstances.  Readers get a good long look at Winnie planning the Winterfest, and, at times, it feels like filler and moves too far away from the murder mystery.  This happens several times with several circumstances and lots of descriptions throughout the book, but things always do manage to come back around to solving the mystery.  Winnie does not really do much investigating; she seems to stumble across information without there being very many actual clues. That said, I did not figure out the killer’s identity too early, and this always makes my reading experience better.  I do hope there is not a love triangle brewing.

I enjoyed Apple Cider Slaying enough to give the next book in the series, Pulp Friction, a chance when it is released.  

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*