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Peaches and Scream

by Susan Furlong

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545402,541 (4.08)None
To help run the family peach farm during her parents' absence, Nola Harper returns to her childhood home of Cays Mill, Georgia, and soon discovers that things back at the farm aren't exactly peachy. A poor harvest and rising costs are threatening to ruin the Harpers' livelihood, and small-town gossip is spreading like blight thanks to Nola's juicy reputation as a wild teenager way back when. But Nola really finds herself in the pits when she stumbles upon a local businessman murdered among the peach trees. With suspicions and family tensions heating up faster than a cobbler in the oven, this sweet Georgia peach will have to prune through a list of murder suspects - before she too becomes ripe for the killer's picking...… (more)
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Nola Mae Harper is returning to her home town to take care of the family peach farm while her parents enjoy a 3-week cruise. Her mother won the cruise with a peach chutney recipe in the National Condiments Competition and the timing for the cruise is perfect for her parents to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Departure for the cruise is set for immediately following a party given by their children. As Nola's older sister Ida Jean is pregnant and has twin toddlers she has her hands full and her brother Ray is an attorney party clean-up is Nola's task but she didn't envision finding a dead body in the orchard.

At the beginning of each chapter there is a "Georgia Belle Fact" described by Nola as "little gems of advice" or Southern advice that is passed down through the generations from Southern mothers to their daughters. These gems are special to Nola as she knows that everything her mother does is given her own special spin. These gems add a touch of Southern whimsy to the cozy and a nod to the scenes within the chapter.

For all who love to cook and bake and especially for peach lovers the recipes in the back of the book will be a special highlight after being tantalized by everyone in Cays Mill making every reader's mouth water and swoon in their imagination of a taste or better still a full serving.

A cozy filled with love and loyalty of family, friendship, neighbor helping neighbor, small town gossiping and rumors, bartering, romantic possibilities, investigative twists and turns, laced with Southern charm add up to a wonderful series opener. I can't wait to read what's next for Nola and her family. ( )
  FerneMysteryReader | Jan 17, 2022 |
Nola Mae Harper has been away from home for fifteen years. She's come back to visit occasionally, but never stayed long. After her boss downgraded her job to a different position, she's not happy. But it's her parents fiftieth wedding anniversary, and she's come to stay for the party and take care of the family peach farm while they're on a cruise.

What she finds when she returns is that the farm isn't in as good shape as she thought. There's the mower that needs to be fixed, irrigation lines need to get running, and then there's the dead body leaning against a peach tree in the grove...

When it's discovered that he's a customer at the bank that her brother-in-law Hollis is president of, and that there's been problems with the man's lumber mill, and also that he was seen arguing with Hollis, there's a bigger problem. Especially since no one knows where Hollis is, and her sister Ida is about to give birth. Now Nola has to figure out how to get the farm running again, keep Hollis out of jail, and keep her thoughts from her old friend Cade, who seems to have changed through the years, and for the better...

To be honest, I really liked the beginning of this book. It started off well and kept me interested in watching how Nola was going to get the farm up and running again. I liked the idea that the people in this small town welcomes her back home (most of them, anyway), and that she was able to do things on her own, including caring for her older sister, who needed her. I enjoyed the fact that she'd lived the life she did, learning how to stand up and do things, which helped her in the projects she needed to fix to get the farm running. I also liked Joe and how he bartered to get things done, it seemed that this is a good form for a lot of people to get through life, and it's nothing to sneeze at.

I did like the way she'd decided on searching for the real killer, but I sure don't hope that Maudy turns out to be one of those sheriffs that want to pin things on people just because she doesn't like them. That would ruin the small series that it is, completely.

What I didn't care for was the ending, and that's why I gave it three stars instead of five. It left too much unsaid, too many things hanging in the wind. I will place them in a spoiler below so that those who've never read the book don't have it ruined for them:

You can find the spoiler here: https://joannesbooks.blogspot.com/2020/03/peaches-and-scream-georgia-peach-myste...

Because of what's in the spoiler, I felt that I couldn't enjoy the ending, and because the murderer wasn't much of a surprise, I was so let down that I don't think I'll even read the rest of the series. Sorry. ( )
  joannefm2 | Aug 24, 2020 |
While her parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, Nola Mae Harper has returned home to Cays Mill, Georgia to help run the family peach farm. Nola Mae soon finds out that there are financial issues with the peach farm and wonders if there is anything she can do to help. However, her family will soon really need her help when a dead body turns up in the peach trees and her brother-in-law is the main suspect. Nola Mae tries to what she can to clear his name but will it be enough?

“Peaches and Scream” is the first book in Susan Furlong’s Georgia Peach cozy mystery series and the book is as delightful as the cute title. Furlong has done a wonderful job in creating Nola Mae, letting little details about her past trickle into the story until readers feel like they know her. She is an intrepid heroine, reinventing her life more than once, troubled by a secret from her past that caused her to flee Cays Mill, yet willing to return do whatever she can to help her family. Equally well-done is the portrayal of Nola Mae’s family members - her very pregnant sister Ida, her troubled brother-in-law Hollis, and her brother Ray. Although I am not overly fond of peaches, I loved reading about the peach farm and the various dishes made with the peaches as well as the general running of the farm. The mystery itself is well plotted with plenty of twists and turns, including a nifty twist towards the end of the book. Don't be surprised if you think you have figured out who the killer is only to find Furlong has a few tricks up her sleeve -well done!

“Peaches and Scream” is a great start to what I hope will be a long-running cozy mystery series. ( )
  drebbles | Sep 25, 2015 |
Peaches and Scream is the first book in the A Georgia Peach Mystery series

I found this to be a very nice beginning to an interesting new series. Be sure to read the chapter headings for fun Georgia Belle facts. I found them to be very amusing and informative.

Nola Mae Harper has returned home to Cays Mill, GA to help manage the family peach farm while her parents are on a dream cruise for their 50th wedding anniversary. She is arriving just as the final touches are being made for the Bon Voyage for her parents. Ida Jean, Nola Mae's sister, has outdone herself with a well received party. The next morning Nola Mae goes out to where the party was to begin cleaning up the area, as she is walking through the field, she begins to notice that the irrigation lines need to have repairs made to them. Then she comes upon the body of Ben Wakefield. Apparently Wakefield has been strangled with a scarf that belongs to the sister and the last that she had seen the scarf was in the pocket of Hollis, Ida Jean's husband. Based on past events Hollis is not one of her favorite people, but wants to clear his name for the sake of her sister and the children.

As Nola Mae begins to look into the life of Wakefield, she finds that there are a number of suspects. The wife who wants revenge for her husbands affairs, the girlfriend that he might he might want to divorce his for and an environmentalist that wants to save the trees that Wakefield has been harvesting.

Then on the home front, Nola Mae soon finds out that the family orchard business in having money problems. Between her searching for the murder she must also find some way to turn the orchard back into a going concern.

This book has a wonderful and believable cast of characters. As with so many small towns it has its own “gossip central”, that only adds to the enjoyment of this book.

Will definitely be watching for the next book in this enjoyable new series. ( )
  FredYoder | Jul 2, 2015 |
Cozy readers, you are in for a sweet peach of a treat with this first book in the new Georgia Peach Mystery series. Author Susan Furlong has created a wonderful series with colorful characters, and a mystery that will keep you entranced until the very last page.

Protagonist Nola Mae Harper is a perfectly imperfect character which makes her so relatable. Poor Nola, she’s back home after traveling the world and before she can even adjust, she finds a body. While of course Nola takes part in the investigation (what good cozy heroine wouldn’t?), Ms. Furlong didn’t write Nola being a know it all. She stumbled with finding the truth like anyone inexperienced would.

The cast of supporting characters is like a bushel of peaches…some sweet, some bitter, and some hiding behind too much fuzz. ;-) Buy all are juicy to read and make for a perfect blend.

The writing in this story is crisp and clear. The words flow as surely as the author’s pen must have over the paper she wrote one (or her fingers on the keyboard).  It will be so hard for you to not read PEACHES AND SCREAM in one sitting. Yeah, it’s that hard to put down.

Oh, and each chapter starts with a delightful Georgia Belle fac. I wanted to go through the book and read them all at once!

PEACHES AND SCREAM is no doubt one of the top new cozies of 2015. Well done Ms. Furlong. Brava!

Make sure to check out the back of the book for mouthwatering peach recipes, and a sneak peek of Georgia Peach book 2, REST IN PEACH! ( )
  LisaKsBookReviews | Jun 10, 2015 |
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To help run the family peach farm during her parents' absence, Nola Harper returns to her childhood home of Cays Mill, Georgia, and soon discovers that things back at the farm aren't exactly peachy. A poor harvest and rising costs are threatening to ruin the Harpers' livelihood, and small-town gossip is spreading like blight thanks to Nola's juicy reputation as a wild teenager way back when. But Nola really finds herself in the pits when she stumbles upon a local businessman murdered among the peach trees. With suspicions and family tensions heating up faster than a cobbler in the oven, this sweet Georgia peach will have to prune through a list of murder suspects - before she too becomes ripe for the killer's picking...

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