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Book Review: Picked to Die by Sheila Connolly
After eight installments of the Orchard Mysteries, you would think that murder would stay away from Meg Corey. Unfortunately, Meg's faced once again with trying to solve a murder.
In this go around, it's harvest time once more and Granford's Historical Society is looking to expand their building by building a basement so there's more room. Meg's fiancé, Seth Chapin is overseeing the project and over eager high school student Jeffrey Green is anxious to earn another Boy Scout badge.
When the excavating starts, Jeffrey is watching the dirt for any artifacts and notices what appears to be a skull. He's equally thrilled when talk of the discovery put the skull somewhere in the 1760's.
A few days later, Jeffrey becomes the prime suspect when he's at the murder scene of a young Jamaican apple picker. He tells the authorities that he was just going to pick up some fertilizer when he discovered the boy and he tried to help by offering up first aid.
The plot thickens when Meg and Seth begin investigating, much to the dismay of Meg's orchard manager Bree Stewart, who is of Jamaican heritage. As the go between of Meg and the apple pickers, Bree tells Meg she shouldn't get involved in the investigation and should leave the questions to the authorities rather than ask them questions.
Meg only wants to help Jeffrey and also get to know her workers since the murdered youth was related to one of the workers from the previous years harvest.
Unfortunately, this installment is lacking the usual tension of the series.
The beginning is rather slow and I think the discovery of the skull and a story revolving around it would probably have been better. Author Sheila Connolly makes that part of the story much more fascinating than the usual murder and investigation done by Meg.
Basically, I felt the story was just flat. It wasn't as gripping as past installments and I still think Connolly should kill of Bree. She's one character I simply cannot stand. It doesn't matter what the situation, Bree always seems to be injecting negative energy into the plot.
On the plus side, the characters are well written and they are enjoyable, but I hate to think what will happen if Connolly allows Meg and Seth to marry. Of course the story direction will change but it's hard at this point to determine if it will be for the good or bad.
At the end of the book, Connolly does provide some apple based recipes for the cooler nights that are now upon us.