The First Farm to Table Mystery
Shiloh Bellamy has left life as a Hollywood producer to try to help her ailing father and save her family farm in Cherry Glen, Michigan. With a plan she's sure her father won't like, Shiloh finds an investor and agrees to a cutthroat agreement-if she doesn't turn a profit in two years she could lose the farm. What she doesn't know is that the investor is one of the most despised men in town. Buying up property left and right and almost owning the entire town already, he's seen as the devil incarnate. Shiloh also didn't know how bad the farm's condition truly was. Feeling she has no choice but to finalize her deal with the devil, Shiloh goes to meet him at the Farmer's Market only to find his dead body. With a less than stellar return home, Shiloh knows she'd better root out a killer, before she loses the farm!
Generally, cozy mysteries have a setting I want to spend time in and people with whom I want to hang out. I'm not sure I feel that way about Cherry Glen. The small town may have changed from run down to burgeoning, but the majority of its residents are unpleasant and downright nasty! I can't stand Shiloh's cousin, which is surprising as I'm a theatre person and adore the restoration of old buildings. Shiloh's father is a jerk, Quinn's mother is a shrew, and I have no words for Minnie! The good news is that I do like Shiloh, who is competent, hard working, and kind. I love Huckleberry, who is quite the character! There are some pleasant people in town and I hope they take on more prominence in future books.
The mystery itself was intriguing and well plotted, with almost everyone a possible suspect. I especially liked the fact that while the mystery was solved, there are ongoing issues to address and another puzzle to figure out. I also think a certain character may have a new role in the next book and I look forward to seeing if my hunch is correct.
With FARM TO TROUBLE Amanda Flower has planted the seeds of a richly satisfying mystery series. I look forward to watching the characters grow and flourish...and seeing who gets weeded out next!