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Retro Reading: Red Delicious Death by Sheila Connolly

Updated on May 13, 2022
Discrimination is looked at in the third installment
Discrimination is looked at in the third installment

What do Apples and Pigs have in Common?

In a way I've kind of became a little attached to Meg Corey but so far I'm still a little iffy. It's funny how sometimes a book can parallel your life (even though I'm not growing an apple orchard).

Red Delicious Death, the third novel in the Orchard Mysteries by Sheila Connolly starts off rather slow and the pace seems to be picking up a little bit but not by much. With this installment, Meg's orchard is just beginning to bloom and she gets a call from her girlfriend Lauren Converse to see if Meg can do a favor of a favor type of thing.

Meg agrees and soon meets Nicky and Brian Czarnecki, a newlywedded couple from Boston who dream of opening up their own restaurant in the country. The couple find the perfect house to convert and soon their friend Sam arrives in town to help with the business.

A few days later his body turns up (or rather face down) in a pig wallow. That type of death seems horrible, but remember, Meg did find a body in her sump pump in the debut novel so anything in the country is fair game.

However, this novel takes a different twist.

It's more about Nicky and Brian's struggle at opening the restaurant and the problems they're facing, yet at the same time it also focuses on Meg's problems of getting ready for her first harvest.

Yet another twist revolves around the fact that Sam was also gay. While he wasn't a main character it's evident how the other characters (especially in a small town) react. Things do get a little complicated when Sam's ex arrives in town and causes some minor problems with the local folks.

Even though this is supposed to be a mystery, Connolly has woven a lot of themes into the book which all boil down to discrimination and the forms it takes on. There's age discrimination, racial discrimination, sexual discrimination. You name it and it's probably in there.

I think this installment is the one that turns the series around and maybe brings more of the town of Granford to life. Afterall, the past two installments have been about Meg which as the central figure it should be, but after Sam's death things really start to change.

Although I'm not too sure about Bree. I didn't like her attitude in the second installment and I really don't like her character. She just seems too angry all the time even if she's not talking. The mere presence of her in a scene seems to bring the mood down.

Anyway I'm going to say that there seems to be hope with the series. It's been slow and sometimes painful to get into but I could be wrong. Maybe I've been missing something along the way, but I can relate to Meg and how she lost her job and how the money's getting low.

Meg can only hope for a killer crop to turn her financial burden into a windfall.


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