Reviewer: Connie Payne
Title: Farm Fresh Murder - 1st in the Farmer’s Market Mystery series
Author: Paige Shelton
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Release Date: April 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Romantic/Cozy Mystery
Year/Setting: Present day, Monson South Carolina and rural surroundings
Overall Rating: 3.75
Sexual Content Rating: None
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Very Mild
Violent Content Rating: Moderate
Paige's Website: www.paigeshelton.com
She’s been selling her farm fresh jams and preserves at Bailey’s Market for several years now. Becca Robins really loves farming, making preserves, interacting with the area farmers at the market. They’re like one big family. She considers them her friends. Yet are they really?
Becca has to ask herself how well she knows the members of the seemingly tight-knit community when one of their own is found, very obviously murdered, at Bailey’s. It becomes glaringly obvious that she doesn’t know many of them as well as she thought. Especially her good friend, Abner. He’s accused of the murder, but Becca is sure he didn’t do it. Yet with so much evidence, circumstantial though it may be, she feels a doubt or two creep in.
Since the officer in charge, Sam Brion, has no alternative but to focus his investigation Abner’s way given all the evidence, Becca thinks the best thing to do would be to find out what so many people are hiding and lead Sam to the real killer. With some help (and attention) from recent Bailey’s newcomer, Ian (she thinks he’s pretty hot), and her twin, Allison, Becca wastes no time in getting her investigation under way.
It’s not long before Becca finds herself in quite a jam (pun intended). With two men wanting her attention, a killer on the loose, and secrets to reveal, things are bound to explode. Not too good for one’s health.
Difficult for me to say, but initially it was a little hard for me to get into the story. At times the flow of the story, the reading, seemed to be a bit choppy. Too, certain scenes, only a couple, were slightly over the top (i.e. the tomato scene), as if the author were trying too hard. At first I couldn’t quite grasp the connection I should have had with Becca. It was just out of reach…Until everything fell into place, the flow and pace of the story, the connection. It was all suddenly there.
I enjoyed Becca’s investigation techniques as she uncovered clues and tried to pin down the missing piece, the one that continued to elude her. I loved briefly meeting Helen, who I hope is in future books-she’s sweet, but she’s a hoot. The growing attraction that both men have for Becca made for interesting and additional conflict (I have my own opinion as to who I’d like to see her with).
With a cornucopia of elements blended to please the reading palate, Farm Fresh Murder is just that, fresh. It’s also swirling with secrets, danger, and impulsive, take-charge action. Add to that smatterings of wit and some romantic tension. Ms. Shelton has created a story, the beginning of a series, which will appeal to many a reader.
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