Retro Reading: Rotten to The Core by Sheila Connolly
Spring May Be in the Air, but so is Murder
It's nearly spring in Granford and Meg Corey has discovered another body in her soon to bloom apple orchard.
Thus begins the second entry in the Orchard Mysteries by Sheila Connolly as Meg once again becomes the talk of the small town.
In Rotten to the Core, Meg discovers the body of local pro-organic growing advocate Jason Miller at her springhouse while on a stroll up to the orchard and going over things she needs to do once the weather gets warmer.
Having lived in Granford for a couple of months she's certainly become popular with the police. Earlier they found a body in her septic tank and now with another body on her property what would the folks of the town think about her?
Meg tries to make the best of the situation since she's finally decided to stay in the small town, but at the same time is overwhelmed with everything that goes into running an apple orchard.
As the second installment begins, she's been auditing a class at the University of Massachusetts in orchard management and has doubts whether or not she can pull this orchard thing off.
She hires student Briona Stewart as the manager, but isn't sure if Bree is up to the task. The girl's been awfully private and whenever she tell Meg what she'll need to do, the checkbook register in her mind continues to add up the expenses.
To make things easier on Bree, Meg suggests she move into the large house since it'll cut down on expenses for Bree and offer Meg a little company at the same time. And she thinks by having Bree readily available she can have any of her questions answered almost immediately.
It does turn out that Bree knew the deceased and while any romance between the two had been over for a couple of years, she wasn't too keen of Jason's idea of organic farming. In fact, a lot of people didn't like his beliefs.
One of the slower points about this novel is the technical aspect of learning about the orchard industry. Connolly does give a lot of information but at times it felt I were going into the industry. On the other hand, I wouldn't have known a lot about running an orchard so I guess I did learn something.
Connolly also gives us a lot of suspects who deplored Jason Miller and had me going back and forth on who the murderer was, or did he simply commit suicide as may have been what was originally thought in the opening of the book? The pros and cons of using chemicals in farming could also be a subject for debate so I'd be curious what a book club's discussion would be on it.
Also, there are a few more recipes for some good apple dishes and with colder weather people do like apples!