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Available 4.15.24


Crime and Cherry Pits

Crime and Cherry Pits, March 2024
Farm to Table
by Amanda Flower

Poisoned Pen Press
Featuring: Shiloh Bellam
336 pages
ISBN: 1728273056
EAN: 9781728273051
Kindle: B0C3115J54
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
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"A day at the cherry festival includes a suspicious death to solve"

Fresh Fiction Review

Crime and Cherry Pits
Amanda Flower

Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted February 27, 2024

Mystery Cozy

Roll up for all the fun of the cherry festival in Michigan. Shiloh Bellamy is still engaged in restoring her dilapidated family farm, which as we saw in earlier Farm to Table Mysteries is an organic farm, with a now-flourishing cherry orchard. CRIME AND CHERRY PITS seem to follow her around.

 

The annual festival of all matters cherry in Traverse City, Michigan, hosts a cherry pit-spitting contest along with farm stands, a band and Shakespearean plays. Shiloh sees her first cousin Stacey have a row with a man from the local college, Dane Fullbright. He’s a professor of drama, and Stacey didn’t know at first that he was married. Enough said. Shiloh keeps her head down and gets on with selling ripe cherries and baked goods from her stand. As with many small-town disputes, however, this has repercussions. The professor later appears to choke on the cherry pit he tries to spit in the contest, and despite Shiloh’s first aid, he dies. The police deem the circumstances suspicious.  

 

I love the busy atmosphere of the story, in which Shiloh, a Los Angeles returnee, starts to realise she prefers the peace and quiet of the farm with its barnyard animals and her trusty dog, the pug Huckleberry. The previous Farm to Table story, In Farm’s Way, could not have been more different, as the land was under deep snow and ice-fishing was the main activity. Sheriff Milan Penbrook is involved in investigating the crime, and he locks gazes with the somewhat territorial Quinn Killian who has a fancy for Shiloh. Quinn’s daughter, Hazel, is a tremendous helper at the Cherry Farm Market festival, which allows Shiloh to wander off and question people every now and then. Shiloh and Stacey have a running dispute over an inheritance that Shiloh’s irascible father believes belongs only to Bellamy Farm. Dad has done little but watch the farm fall apart for some years while brushing up his theatrical performances. Even so, Shiloh doesn’t want Stacey wrongly blamed… or herself, for that matter. 

 

While the mystery will be more fun for those who are following the series, it could be read as a standalone. Amanda Flower has become one of my favourite crime authors, with a wealth of different series and characters to keep readers entertained. CRIME AND CHERRY PITS is likable and intelligent, suggesting the hard work needed to run a farm while showing how independent women can sometimes hold on to their independence too long. I’ll be back for more.

Learn more about Crime and Cherry Pits

SUMMARY

Head back to snowy Michigan just in time for the annual cherry pit spitting contest. It's all fun and games until the local drama professor chokes on more than just his pride.

Shiloh Bellamy can hardly believe it—for the first time in her family farm's seventy-year history, she has managed to score a highly-coveted booth at the Cherry Farm Market in Traverse City, Michigan. It's a huge win in her master plan to bring the rundown farm back to life… and the fact that her coup has sent her next-door neighbor and organic farming competitor into fits of jealousy doesn't hurt, either. But the festive atmosphere at the farm market takes a dark turn when a man entered in the famous cherry pit-spitting competition chokes and dies right in front of Shiloh, who is standing near the sidelines as a spectator.

When the death turns out to be more suspicious than a cherry pit down the wrong pipe, Shiloh finds herself under local law enforcement's microscope—she has developed something of a reputation for being unwittingly involved in local murders. And when they discover her cousin Stacey had been secretly dating the man in question—and that he was married to someone else—Shiloh begins to worry that everything she has worked so hard to accomplish with her family's farm is about to be taken away. It will take all her investigative skills, a tenuous friendship (or is it something more?) with the local sheriff, and some help from Shiloh's trusty pug, Huckleberry, to prove the cops are barking up the wrong cherry tree and put the real killer behind bars for good.


What do you think about this review?

Comments

1 comment posted.

Re: A day at the cherry festival includes a suspicious death to solve

Interesting!
(Lynn Davenport 10:23pm February 27)

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