One Bad Apple
Author: Sheila Connolly
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Aug. 5, 2008)
Meg Corey has fallen on hard times. In the past few months, she’s been downsized out of her job at a Boston banking firm, forced to leave her apartment, and dumped by her boyfriend, Chandler Hale. When Meg’s mother decides to sell a rental property she inherited, Meg jumps at the chance for a new start. She moves into the historical home in the small town of Granford, Massachusetts, intending to renovate the home for a quick sale.
Meg soon finds that she’s in over her head. She’s a city girl, not a do-it-yourself weekend warrior, and she’s overwhelmed by the seemingly endless home repairs. To make matters worse, her ex-boyfriend unexpectedly turns up on her doorstep. Chandler Hale is working on a real estate development deal in Granford, and he asks Meg to give him inside information about her new neighbors. The development deal would provide a much-needed boost to the local economy, but it would also put a parking lot over the historic orchard on Meg’s property. Meg refuses to help Chandler and assumes that’s the end of it – that is, until his body is found floating in her newly-installed septic tank.
Suddenly Meg and her plumber, Seth Chapin, are the prime suspects in Chandler’s murder. Seth is a prominent land owner in Granford as well as Meg’s closest neighbor. Of the local residents, Seth and Meg would be most affected by the land deal. Both of them have motives to want Chandler out of the way, but they’re not the only ones. The looming development deal has created a lot of controversy in Granford, with the community evenly divided among those who oppose the deal and those who favor it.
Meg slowly finds herself falling in love with small town life, but she will have to prove her innocence before she can truly enjoy what Granford has to offer.
One Bad Apple is a charming start to Sheila Connolly’s Orchard Mysteries series. Meg is an endearing amateur sleuth, surrounded by a colorful cast of supporting characters. Connolly effectively captures the feel of a small New England town -- after reading One Bad Apple, I felt as though I’d spent the afternoon in rural Massachusetts. The apple-centric recipes in the back of the book are a great addition to the story. (I can’t wait to try the apple muffins and fresh apple cake.) With such a promising start, I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in the Orchard Mysteries series.
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