Saturday, March 26, 2011

Review: Fruit of All Evil

Fruit of All Evil (Farmers' Market Mystery - Book 2) by Paige Shelton

Publication Date: March 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 304pp
ISBN-13: 9780425240229

(Received for review from Berkley/Obsidian)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Paige Shelton on the WEB: Website, Blog, Facebook

Excerpt from From Fruit of All Evil

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

Becca Robins sells her farm-made jams and preserves at the local farmers' market to make a living. But when a local lovely decides to tie the knot at the same market, someone else decides to make a killing...

With all the sweet spreads she turns out, Becca should be used to having her hands full of sticky situations. So when her best friend and fellow market vendor, Linda, asks her to be maid of honor at her wedding. Becca figures she can handle the extra duties. After all, setting up a wedding with a farmers' market theme should be a piece of cake.

But when Linda's future mother-in-law ends up murdered before the "I dos" are even exchanged, both the nuptials and the fate of a missing local merchant are on the line. And only Becca has the down home know-how to shut the lid on a canny killer...


Fruit of All Evil, the second book in Paige Shelton's Farmers' Market Mystery series, will have readers feeling like 'spring has sprung'! Shelton's sophomore book is a great mix of mystery and humor, with a quirky supporting cast and a plot line that will leave readers wanting more. Shelton's ability to describe the setting as well as the produce in this book, is almost mouth-watering. Readers will find this cozy interesting and full of surprises.

Becca Robin's is back along with all her friends from Bailey's Farmers' Market. The jams and preserves that Becca sells at her stall at the market are second to none in this small South Carolina town. When her friend and fellow vendor, Linda asks her to be the maid of honor in her Farmers' Market themed wedding, Becca is quick to say yes, though her own experiences will marriage have been less than perfect. When Linda and her fiance Drew invite Becca to dinner to work on wedding plans, they are surprised when Linda's future mother-in-law, Madeleine fails to attend. Madeleine is later found dead in her bedroom. As the local banker who has been dead set on foreclosing on several people's mortgages, Madeleine has many enemies including her own dysfunctional extended family. As Becca's relationship with Ian Cartwright starts to bloom it is up to her to find the killer before her best friends wedding has to be canceled.

If you like a good cozy mystery, there are lots of reasons to choose this one. Paige Shelton does an excellent job with the second book in the Farmers' Market series. Fruit of All Evil has it all. Great plot line, quirky and interesting characters, humor and even a touch of romance.

One of the aspects of this book that I really love is the setting. Bailey's Farmers' Market comes across as the place to be. With it's small town atmosphere and engaging townspeople it seems like a place that readers would want to visit, or even sell their own wares at. I was raised on a farm where we grew a lot of different kinds of produce, sold lots of things to the local fruit market and even canned our own food, including making jams, and jellies, so this series really holds a special spot for me. I thought the author did a fantastic job of describing this setting and what it takes to make up a farmer's market. I loved the idea of a Farmers' Market themed wedding, though I was a little unsure how they were going to pull it off, but I was not disappointed.

The author did a great job of showing how Becca, the local amateur sleuth ended up being involved in this mystery. Being the maid of honor in the wedding provided a way for Becca to be a part of the action. It was a very easy transition and worked out well for the plot. It allowed Becca to know the victim as well as her family which provided a great suspect list. It seemed very believable and natural that she would start to put things together and find out who had a motive for murder.

Becca is a great character. I found myself sympathizing with her romantic situation. She was easy to relate to, because many people have been unlucky in love. I was rooting for her with Ian and I hope that the author continues to develop their relationship in subsequent books. Becca is at heart a great cook and I think author must be as well. You can't really write well about food and cooking if you can't cook your self. The recipes included with this one are definitely mouth-watering and some I intend to try myself. I thought Becca's way of figuring out the clues was a little bit hap-hazard but all in all she got where she needed to be and brought the reader right along with her.

I would definitely recommend this one to all of cozy mystery readers. This is a great series and look forward to more Farmers' Market books in the future. If you are new to cozy mysteries, this would also be a great series to start out with it. It will give you good idea of what a cozy is and how it is different from other mysteries. It is basically a lighter, less intense kind of mystery, that has an amateur sleuth as the protagonist instead of an inspector or a police officer.

Fruit of All Evil is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

I moved around a lot as a kid but went to high school and college in Des Moines, Iowa. I moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1988.

After college, I spent many years working in advertising, mostly for the local Salt Lake newspapers. My attempts to become a published writer began in 1997, but it wasn’t until 2008 that the first contracts with my agent and Berkley Publishing were signed. My pile of rejections is quite impressive.

Along the way, I got married to a terrific guy and we had a son who is now fifteen and still fun to be around, even though his messy bedroom could inspire a horror novel.

My writing partner is my nine pound dog, Gizmo. She’s adorable.

I read just about anything and everything, and I watch way too much TV. Every year I say I’m not going to be pulled into American Idol, but somehow it just happens.