Please welcome my guest, Edith Maxwell, who writes about the locavore movement and farm fresh foods that go into many a stew…and other dishes. In her Local Foods Mysteries series, organic farmer Cam Flaherty usually finds her herself in a stew, not the edible kind. Morning, Edith. Take it away.
Thanks so much for asking me over, Judy!
I don’t know about where you live, but up here in the northeast corner of Massachusetts, it’s getting to be wintertime. We have snow on the ground, the garden is put to bed and mulched with salt marsh hay, and a hearty stew has become the dinner of choice.
I write the Local Foods Mysteries series, and the books follow organic farmer Cam Flaherty through the seasons, too. A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die (Kensington Publishing, 2013) opens on the first farm-share pickup day of the season at the start of June. Summer approaches and the New England growing season is getting underway. Cam is planting seedlings, cutting asparagus, turning compost, and hoping for good weather when she finds a body in her greenhouse.
Her customer and eager volunteer, Brazilian Lucinda DaSilva, heads up the Locavore Club, and has vowed to eat only locally grown food for a year. A girl scout working on her Locavore badge not only aids Cam with the harvest but also helps them both escape a nearly fatal encounter. And then there's the local militia group with its decidedly non-local agenda. Cam has to dig up secrets buried deep beneath the soil of her farm. And when the police don't make progress in the case, she has to catch a murderer whose motto seems to be, “Eat Local. Kill Local.”
The second book, ‘Til Dirt Do Us Part, comes out at the end of May 2014. It starts at a fall Farm to Table dinner, with a local chef cooking Cam’s produce in her barn and a bunch of guests eating under a big rented tent on the farm. Days are getting short and the mood at the dinner is unseasonably chilly. Local entrepreneur Irene Burr made a lot of enemies with her plan to buy Westbury's Old Town Hall and replace it with a textile museum – enough enemies to fill out a list of suspects when the wealthy widow turns up dead on a neighboring farm.
Even an amateur detective like Cam can figure out that one of the resident locavores went loco – at least temporarily – and settled a score with Irene. But which one? With the fall harvest upon her, Cam must sift through a bushel full of possible killers that includes Irene's estranged stepson, her disgruntled auto mechanic, and a fellow farm subscriber who seems suspiciously happy to have the dead woman out of the way. The closer she gets to weeding out the culprit, the more Cam feels like someone is out to cut her harvest short. But to keep her own body out of the compost pile, she has to wrap this case up quickly.
I’m writing the third book now. Farmed and Dangerous takes place in a snowy January, so the timing is perfect for me to sit in my warm upstairs office and look out at bare trees and white-laden streets as I create a dangerous blizzard and Cam’s hunt for the killer who poisoned food from her farm. I’ll be able to tour the greenhouses of my local farm in January to make sure I get the details right and can check the kinds of produce that they provide us every other week in our winter share to verify that Cam’s shares are accurate. The book isn’t due until May first, but by then I hope to have it polished and be off on my next season of writing.
Readers, what’s your favorite season? Or the one you most like to read about?
A mother and former technical writer, Edith is a fourth-generation Californian but lives north of Boston in an antique house with her beau and three cats. She blogs every weekday with the rest of the Wicked Cozy Authors. You can also find her at @edithmaxwell, on Facebook, and at www.edithmaxwell.com.
Locavore Edith Maxwell's A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die in the Local Foods Mystery series lets her relive her days as an organic farmer in Massachusetts, although murder in the greenhouse is new.
She has also published short stories of murderous revenge, most recently in Best New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold (Level Best Books, 2013) and Fish Nets (Wildside, 2013).