Thursday, March 22, 2018

No Farm, No Foul (A Farmer's Daughter Mystery #1)

Author:  Peg Cochran
Genre:  Mystery

Mass Market Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #: 9780425282021
Berkley Publishing
303 Pages
$7.19; $7.19 Amazon
September 6, 2016

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On her blog, The Farmer's Daughter, Shelby McDonald is growing her audience as she posts recipes, garden tips, and her experiences raising two kids and running Love Blossom Farm in the small western Michigan town of Lovett.

Working the farm is demanding but peaceful - until that peace is shattered when the minister's wife is murdered on Shelby's property during a fund-raiser for a local church.  But the manure really hits the fan when Shelby's good friend veterinarian Kelly Thacker emerges as the prime suspect.  Shelby decides to dig in and find the murderer by herself.  As more suspects crop up, she'll have to move fast - before someone else buys the farm...

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Shelby McDonald is a widow who lives on the family farm with her twelve-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son.  She's offered her farm for a church fundraiser, and everything seems to be going along swimmingly when she steps into her mudroom only to find the body of the minister's wife.  Stunned, she can't think who would want to kill the woman.

But she plans on staying out of the investigation until her best friend Kelly, the local veterinarian, asks her to investigate, because Kelly believes her fiancé Seth could have possibly committed the murder.  What's a woman to do?  Of course she agrees and hopes to find the true killer before the killer finds her...

Well, since this is the first in a new series, I usually give the author a pass and at least offer two stars if the book isn't up to par...and I did try, indeed I did.  But there was so much I just couldn't get past to give it any more than that.

She has her daughter - did I mention she's twelve? - sneaking out behind her back with a fourteen-year-old boy and everyone around her thinks it's just fine except for her.  Are her friends hillbillies who think girls need to be married at thirteen or they become old maids?  What the heck is the matter with them?  She's twelve, for heaven's sake!  I hope Shelby's not surprised when she's a grandmother in a year or two.  Mom doesn't want to confront her daughter figuring it's a phase.  Can you say spineless?  Because that's what Shelby is.  Tell your daughter no, and tell the boy's mother no.  Bad parenting is what it is.  Also, she might want to think about having her kids do a few chores around the farm.  They live there, too.  Would it be so difficult if they collected eggs or fed the chickens?

And speaking of bad parenting, someone steals her son's zucchini that he was going to enter in the county fair.  Her son is eight.  He's a child.  So when she finds out who steals it, she confronts the woman, and the woman's response is that her own son just needs to win the contest.  So that makes it alright?  Theft is fine as long as it benefits someone else?  Her son's feelings don't matter?  So what does she do?  She asks her about the murder!  That's right, asks her about the murder.  It's perfectly fine to steal her son's zucchini and break his heart as long as she gets information.  Are you freakin' kidding me?  I would have left, and as I was going out the door, I would have told her that she can forget about it because I was going to the fair judges to tell them what she'd done.  How many times has this woman done this in the past, and if she gets away with it once, she'll do it again.  But it's okay because she could ask questions about the murder, right?  Yeah, go home and tell your boy that you told her you knew what she'd done but you didn't do anything about it because you wanted to ask her a question.  That will make him feel better.

Then we come to the subject of Kelly who thinks her boyfriend is capable of murder.  Why is she marrying him then?  Are there no other men in this town?  Sorry, but if you believe the man you're going to wed has committed murder, then maybe you should back out of the marriage.  Don't make him mad or you could be next...

Sorry, but Shelby is a weak woman; she seems to be apologizing to everyone and walks on eggshells around her daughter.  Grow a backbone, woman!  So, in the end, I will read the next in this series and see if it improves.  Perhaps Shelby will have grown up by then.

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