Thursday, April 6, 2017

A Bitter Harvest (A Greenhouse Mystery #2)

Author:  Wendy Tyson
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Trade Paperback; Audio CD; Ebook;
ISBN #:  9781635111767; 9781635111736; 9781520066691
Henery Press
264 Pages
$27.37; $15.95; $28.39; $2.99 Amazon
March 7, 2017


Megan Sawyer should be shouting from the barn roof.  Washington Acres survived its first year, the café has become a hotspot for locals, and Winsome's sexy Scottish veterinarian is making house calls - only not for the animals.  But as summer slips into fall and Winsome prepares for its grand Oktoberfest celebration, beer isn't the only thing brewing.  When the town's pub owner is killed in a freak accident, Megan suspects something sinister is afoot in Winsome - but no one is listening.  As nights grow longer and temperatures chills, Megan must plow through Winsome's fixation with autumn festivities to harvest the truth - before another dead body marks the season.

Megan Sawyer left a lucrative law practice, returning to her hometown of Winsome, Pennsylvania to take over the running of her family's farm, Washington Acres.  She's doing a pretty good job so far, not only working her way toward being certified organic, but also the running of a café and fresh produce market, not to mention a budding romance with the local Scottish veterinarian.

With everyone in town preparing for an Oktoberfest celebration the town is bustling indeed; but on one particular morning she notices that the two local brewers - Otto Vance and Ted Kuhl - are having an argument, and guessing it's because Otto won the coveted sponsorship instead of Ted (who has a much better product).  But when Megan returns home she receives a phone call in which she's told that Sauer farms won the local farm sponsorship; a decision that seems odd because Sauer runs a much bigger operation - plus they only grow GMO food and treat their animals inhumanely.  Megan soon realizes the rules have been changed, and she's not getting any answers why from event planner Ophelia Dilworth, who refuses to talk about it.

But when her grandmother Bibi finds the body of Otto at a local solar farm and Ted disappears, Megan knows that not only have the rules changed, but the game.  Once murder enters the equation, Megan's not only going to be busy trying to harvest her autumn crop, she's going to have her hands full trying to find a killer before the Grim Reaper decides to do some more harvesting of his own...

After reading the first book in this series, A Muddied Murder, I was waiting impatiently for the next in the series, and I have to say it was worth the wait.  Ms. Tyson's characters are believable and full of vitality, giving us people we'd want to spend time with in a small town setting that's warm and inviting.  Megan is capable, strong and intelligent, but yet, like any human, has insecurities which rise to the surface when she allows her emotions to get the better of her.  This makes her more endearing and authentic.

With Megan searching for answers, wondering why certain businesses were handed 'golden tickets' and others ignored, she must also deal with the fact of who's been watching her and the farm and why and if she's truly ready to let go of the past and move on with her life; and the omnipresent question of Otto's murder.  When a second murder occurs she's left in no doubt that somehow it's connected to the Oktoberfest celebration, but finding out how could be the key.

Which brings us to the mystery itself which is very good indeed, taking us on a winding path of twists and turns that coil together tightly; leaving Megan to unwind each strand piece by piece until it is almost too late.  Ms. Tyson weaves the mystery so well that when we do find out the killer it comes as a complete surprise, giving us a satisfying end to a riveting tale; one that kept me reading in one sitting; and that is a very good thing indeed.  Highly recommended.


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