apple One Bad Apple by Sheila Connolly

When Meg Corey unexpectedly finds herself out of a job, an apartment, and a relationship, she seizes the opportunity to renovate the Massachusetts colonial house her mother has inherited from distant relations and to sell it quickly for a share of the profits. But Meg gets more than she bargained for when she learns that renovating a two-hundred-year-old house is not easy task and that the gorgeous ffteen-acre apple orchard on the property is in danger of being paved over by developers. And she definitely isn’t expecting to run into her ex-boyfriend…floating dead in her new septic tank.

The police immediately suspect Meg, whose only ally is the charming local plumber who found the body. determined to clear her name – while fighting her growing attachment to the troublesome house and orchard – Meg begins to investigate the crime and the townspeople only to find there’s one bad apple in this bunch…

This is the first in the Orchard Mysteries and I am definitely looking forward to the second, which is scheduled to come out in July, 2009. One Bad Apple was an enjoyable mystery and I didn’t figure out who dunnit, but I rarely do.

Meg is a well-drawn main character, with emotions and motivations that are sometimes at odds with each other. As an amateur detective, she is more careful than a lot of them, but of course she still ends up in a dangerous position. I also like the budding relatioship between her and her plumber, Seth. It feels real, not just thrown to add “romance” to the story.

I didn’t try any of the recipes in the back of the book, but the apple cake and muffins sound delicious.

Shelia Connolly, writing as Sarah Atwell,  also has a glass-blowing mystery series out.