muddied murderby Wendy Tyson

4.5 Stars

Publisher: When Megan Sawyer gives up her big-city law career to care for her grandmother and run the family’s organic farm and café, she expects to find peace and tranquility in her scenic hometown of Winsome, Pennsylvania. Instead, her goat goes missing, rain muddies her fields, the town denies her business permits, and her family’s Colonial-era farm sucks up the remains of her savings.

Just when she thinks she’s reached the bottom of the rain barrel, Megan and the town’s hunky veterinarian discover the local zoning commissioner’s battered body in her barn. Now Megan is thrust into the middle of a murder investigation—and she’s the chief suspect. Can Megan dig through small-town secrets, local politics, and old grievances in time to find a killer before that killer strikes again?

My Review: This is a solid beginning to the Greenhouse Mystery series. There was a mystery, some quirky characters, a love interest, healthy eating and animals, what more could you want. I really enjoyed the realistic storyline and how it meshed with history.

Megan Sawyer was a successful lawyer in Chicago who had recently lost her husband in Afghanistan. Her grandmother, Bonnie Birch to everyone but Megan who calls her Bibi, is in her mid-eighties and when her son leaves to go to Paris with his new love she either has to sell the farm or find someone to move in to help her. As it turns out that was just what Megan needed. She returns to her roots in Winsome Pennsylvania to turn the family farm, Washington Acres, into a successful organic business. With the organic farm and the empty family store being converted into a cafe and grocery she should be able to make a go of it, but someone in town is sabotaging her everytime she turns around.

Her help at both the cafe and farm are a wonderful brother/sister team who used to live in a commune. Megan was expecting to sell her organic vegetables at a local farmer’s market and open her restaurant in a few days until she is told by the local zoning commissioner that neither her barn renovations or the cafe is up to code. Unfortunately, this resulted in a heated discussion with him. When he is found murdered in her barn that night, Megan is the main suspect.

The story has many wonderful characters. Even though Megan is the main character in the story, there are many intriguing secondary characters. Their stories were very entertaining and enlightening (PTSD, veteranarian who lived with an abusive father, members of the now defunct commune and more).

I must mention the budding romance with the local veterinarian. Dr. Denver Finn was born in Scotland but had travelled the world before settling in Winsome. He and Megan had many encounters due to the miniature goats, dogs, chickens etc. I really enjoyed their storyline as well.

I must say that I did not figure out who the murderer was until the end of the story and the mystery of why the Historical Society wanted her farm so badly was also interesting right up until the end. I definitely recommend this story to anyone who loves cozies, animals and a little romance.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.