Read A Killer Crop Online

Authors: Sheila Connolly

A Killer Crop

Table of Contents
 
 
Praise for the Orchard Mystery Series
“Meg is a smart, savvy woman who’s working hard to fit into her new community—just the kind of protagonist I look for in today’s traditional mystery. I look forward to more trips to Granford, Massachusetts!”

Meritorious Mysteries
 
“An enjoyable and well-written book with some excellent apple recipes at the end.”

The Cozy Library
 
“A wonderful slice of life in a small town . . . The mystery is intelligent and has an interesting twist . . .
Rotten to the Core
is a fun, quick read with an enjoyable heroine, an interesting hook, and some yummy recipes at the end.”

The Mystery Reader
(4 stars)
 
“Full of rich description, historical context, and mystery.”

Romance Readers Connection
 
“There is a delightful charm to this small town regional cozy . . . Sheila Connolly provides a fascinating whodunit filled with surprises.”

The Mystery Gazette
 
“A true cozy mystery [with] a strong and feisty heroine, a perplexing murder, a personal dilemma, and a picturesque New England setting . . . Meg Corey is a very likable protagonist and her future in Granford hopefully guarantees some further titles in this delightful new series.”

Gumshoe Review
“Sheila Connolly’s
One Bad Apple
is an example of everything that is right with the cozy mystery. Her book has a likable heroine, an attractive small-town setting, a slimy victim, and fascinating side elements . . . There’s depth to the characters in this book that isn’t always found in crime fiction . . . Sheila Connolly has written a winner for cozy mystery fans.”

Lesa’s Book Critiques
 
“A warm, very satisfying read.”

Romantic Times
(4 stars)
 
“The premise and plot are solid, and Meg seems a perfect fit for her role.”

Publishers Weekly
 
“Meg Corey is a fresh and appealing sleuth with a bushelful of entertaining problems.
One Bad Apple
is one crisp, delicious read.”
—Claudia Bishop, bestselling author of the Inn at Hemlock Falls Mysteries
 
“Antique apple trees and historic houses—what’s not to like about Sheila Connolly’s
One Bad Apple?
It’s a delightful look at small-town New England, with an intriguing puzzle thrown in. And anybody who’s ever tended a septic system is going to empathize with amateur detective Meg Corey.”
—JoAnna Carl, author of the Chocoholic Mysteries
 

One Bad Apple
is a fun start to a promising new mystery series. Thoroughly enjoyable . . . I can’t wait for the next book and a chance to spend more time with Meg and the good people of Granford.”
—Sammi Carter, author of the Candy Shop Mysteries
Berkley Prime Crime titles by Sheila Connolly
Apple Orchard Mysteries
ONE BAD APPLE
ROTTEN TO THE CORE
RED DELICIOUS DEATH
A KILLER CROP
Museum Mysteries
FUNDRAISING THE DEAD
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
 
The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipes contained in this book.
 
A KILLER CROP
 
A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author
 
PRINTING HISTORY
Berkley Prime Crime mass-market paperback edition / December 2010
 
Copyright © 2010 by Sheila Connolly.
 
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
 
eISBN : 978-1-101-44552-5
 
BERKLEY
®
PRIME CRIME
Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
BERKLEY
®
PRIME CRIME and the PRIME CRIME logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
 
 

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Acknowledgments
The poet Emily Dickinson’s shadow still hovers over Amherst, Massachusetts, more than a century after her death, and it’s hard to open a magazine or newspaper these days without finding a reference to her. I am not immune to her lasting appeal, and since I’m writing about that part of Massachusetts, I thought it right to include her in this book. Many of the details of her local family connections are based on fact, which is why Meg and her mother, Elizabeth, are drawn into Emily’s story. I may as well confess: I can lay claim to being Emily’s fifth cousin, five times removed—a distant connection, but I’m happy to have discovered it.
As always, I want to thank my agent, Jessica Faust of BookEnds, for making this series possible, and my editor, Shannon Jamieson Vazquez, who always manages to excavate the essential story from my piles of words.
Simon Worrall’s compelling book,
The Poet and the Murderer
, sheds light on the lengths to which some people will go to possess an original work by Dickinson. Alfred Habegger’s richly detailed biography of the poet,
My Wars Are Laid Away in Books
, which I read years ago, provides much detail about Emily’s life, as well as a helpful family tree. And I treasure a copy of
The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
, edited by Thomas H. Johnson, which I purchased in the bookstore up the street from the former Dickinson home.
And since the reproduction of Emily’s works is tightly controlled, the final words in the book are my daughter’s tribute to the poet. She accompanied me on numerous excursions to Amherst that always managed to include one of the delightful restaurants there, which I’ve included in the book.
1
Meg Corey set a cup of coffee in front of her mother and sat down across the kitchen table. “Mother, what are you doing here?”
The morning light that flooded through the east-facing windows of the kitchen was not kind to Elizabeth Corey, highlighting the faint glints of silver in her carefully cut hair, the slight crepiness gathered at the corners of her eyes. She rotated the handle of the cup in its saucer, avoiding her daughter’s eyes. “Meg, dear, why shouldn’t I be here? Isn’t it about time that I visited you and saw what you were doing with our house?”
She was stalling, Meg could tell. “Of course you should see it—although except for the kitchen floor, most of what I’ve done has been boring structural stuff and you can’t even see it. I would have invited you sooner, but the place has been such a mess, and I’ve been so busy, with renovations and the orchard ...” Meg stopped herself: why was she on the defensive? It was her mother who had shown up the night before without warning. Yesterday, Meg had been at the grand opening of Gran’s, the new Granford restaurant, which had served an extraordinary meal for the group of farmers of Granford who had provided all the locally grown materials. It had been an unqualified success for owner-chefs Nicky and Brian Czarnecki, and Meg was looking forward to many more delightful meals in the converted house on the town green. Seth Chapin had brought her home after dark, and she’d been anticipating . . . well, some quality time alone with Seth, as a happy conclusion to a wonderful evening. Instead they had found Elizabeth sitting on Meg’s front steps in the dark, waiting for her. That was totally unlike her mother, who usually planned things down to the last detail. “Why didn’t you let me know you were coming?”
“I wanted to surprise you. I love what you’ve done with the floor—is that the original planking?”
Another effort to divert the conversation. What was going on?

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