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A Muddied Murder by Wendy Tyson

A Muddied Murder

by Wendy Tyson

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I've felt lately like I've burned out on cozy mysteries, but I think what I'm fed up with is the 'niche' trend that has swallowed up the sub-genre: single, heartbroken woman, builds a business around a craft, or cooking, baking, dog walking, scrapbooking. Then the author tries to create mystery after mystery tangentially tied to that niche. How many dead bodies can you reasonably connect to scrapbooking?!

The other trend wearing on my loyalty is the need to turn all cozies puritanical. Authors would like to make their readers believe that nobody ever swears or shares more than a chaste kiss. Codswallop. Cozies shouldn't be dark or violent but come on, a swear word, a bit of sexual tension? No wonder there are so many dead bodies: nobody gets laid and they can't even swear about it.

But Henery Press has been my saving grace. They've been putting out cozy mysteries that remind me why I like cozies. Yes, they still use single-women, and sometimes their worlds are specialised, but mostly they publish very well-written, edited, cozy mysteries with a realistic bite of romance and never are the protagonists reduced to gosh or fudge.

A Muddied Murder is a good example. A smart, strong female lead comes home to turn the family farm into a profitable business. Not because she's running away from anything, or because she needs a 'fresh start' - because she wants to. She's open to romance and there are a lot of good looking men around her but there's no love triangle.

Most of all, the mystery was almost perfect. It started off rocky: she and her grandmother should have been perfect suspects, but after a secret conversation between the sheriff and grandma, they're both instantly off the hook and it's never explained why. We know they didn't do it, but how doest the Sheriff? Past that though, the mystery gets interesting and the facts build to reveal a very cool plot that has nothing to do with organic farming.

So while this started slow and rocky (I didn't like grandma at the start either), it picked up pace and by the end I was ready to read the second book. ( )
1 vote murderbydeath | Oct 13, 2016 |
A new mystery series set in rural Pennsylvania, and very enjoyable. Megan Sawyer, a corporate lawyer, has left Chicago, to grow organic vegetables on her family's farm. Megan, a widow, lives on the historic farm with her grandmother, Bibi, and a motley group of animals. Simon Duvall, a disagreeable zoning commissioner, is found murdered on the farm and all fingers point to Megan and Bibi as the most likely to kill Simon. Megan does not let murder slow her down as she races to open an organic café and jump start her organic grocery. In spite of the grueling hours of hard labor on the farm, Megan has time for a little romance with the local veterinarian. The novel displays interesting and real characters, and the story moves briskly to the conclusion. ( )
  delphimo | Jul 15, 2016 |
Megan Sawyer left her job as a lawyer in the city to go back to her family home to help her grandmother, Bibi. Her plan was to get the farm going again and open a store and café where she'd use things grown on her family's organic farm. The Zoning Commissioner, Simon Duvall kept failing every inspection and holding up her permits preventing her from opening. Lots of other things went wrong for her like too much rain and her goats getting out. Those things she could handle but the permits she couldn't. When Simon was found dead in her barn she's the prime suspect. Megan took on the job of finding out who really killed him.

This cozy mystery was easy to read and a very enjoyable story to get lost in. Even with the detailed descriptions of Megan's farm and business slowing it down a bit, I liked this story. The characters in this small town were very likeable and several had unusual backgrounds. Then there were the dogs and pygmy goats keeping things lively. Megan had a big but welcome change in both her profession and accommodation but she handled everything well. Even when she was suspected of murder she kept going. The only time I found her annoying was when she went out - to the barn or check something outside - when there was a murderer on the loose. That seemed pretty foolish to me. And she was wonderful to her grandmother. I loved Bibi!

It did have a pretty exciting ending and I was surprised when I found out who the bad guys were.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  JoAB | Jul 4, 2016 |
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. And I loved reading about the baby goats, chickens, horses and dogs.

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. ( )
  Carlathelibrarian | Jun 22, 2016 |
A Muddied Murder by Wendy Tyson is the first book in A Greenhouse Mystery series. Megan Sawyer has returned to Winsome, Pennsylvania to stay with her grandmother, Bibi. Megan did live in Chicago and worked as a lawyer but came home when Bibi needed her. Megan is helping with the family farm, Washington Acres, and is opening a combination store and café in town. Megan is also turning the Washington Acres into an organic farm. But Megan has been encountering difficulties in opening the store/café. She keeps getting denied the appropriate permits (methinks someone is against her new venture). Simon Duvall is the person behind it (and he is one nasty man). Then Simon Duvall ends up dead in her barn. When Bibi ends up being a suspect, Megan sets out to clear her with help from the local vet, Dr. Daniel Finn (there is a romantic spark between them). Then the sabotage starts. Will Megan be able to find the culprit and open her new store/cafe?

I enjoyed A Muddied Murder. It has good characters, a lovely setting (sounds like a beautiful town and farm), and a good mystery. The mystery was complicated (just the way I like them), but there are few clues provided (you can solve the mystery without them). One thing I did not like was Megan’s impatience. She wanted answers NOW (became frustrating). The romance in the book was a little rushed. It was too much for the first book. I give A Muddied Murder 4.25 out of 5 stars (since I was able to solve it). I think this is the beginning of a good series. I look forward to reading the next book in the series next spring.

I received a complimentary copy of A Muddied Murder from NetGalley in exchange for an honest evaluation of the novel. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Jun 1, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 163511005X, Paperback)

“Tyson grows a delicious debut mystery as smart farmer-sleuth Megan Sawyer tills the dirt on local secrets after a body turns up in her barn. You won’t want to put down this tasty harvest of a story.” – Edith Maxwell, Agatha-Nominated Author of Murder Most Fowl

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?

Related subjects include: women sleuths, cozy mysteries, amateur sleuth books, murder mysteries, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), book club recommendations.

Books in the Greenhouse Mystery Series:


Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all…

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 16 Feb 2016 16:25:27 -0500)

"When Megan Sawyer gives up her big-city law career to care for her grandmother and run the family's organic farm and cafe, 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?"--Page 4 of cover.… (more)

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