Novelist Amanda Flower returns with ‘Farm to Trouble’ and ‘Lemon Drop Dead’


July is cherry season in Michigan, but it’s also murder season in Tallmadge writer Amanda Flower’s “Farm to Trouble,” the first in her “Farm to Table Mysteries” series. When Shiloh Bellamy returns to her small town roots after a career as a screenwriter and Hollywood television producer, she finds that her plans have taken a turn.

Shiloh’s father suffered a back injury, which is the catalyst for Shiloh’s comeback. From the start, she has used her income to support the family farm, but when she arrives, she realizes that things have deteriorated: the fields are overgrown and the house seems shaky. Shiloh’s plan might work anyway: She signed a contract with Jefferson Crocker, a local entrepreneur, to invest the large sum she needs to turn the farm into an organic operation and open a farm-to-table cafe.

Shiloh’s father explodes at this information, telling him that Crocker had been trying for years to acquire the property. Shiloh goes to meet Crocker the next morning at the town’s farmers market but instead finds his body.

No one mourns Crocker’s death; The miserable wheel merchant was “the most hated man in the county,” according to Shiloh’s cousin, Stacy. He had bought land for wind farms, as well as a large part of the city, even the town hall.

At first, the police chief seems like an idiot to be reminded to call the coroner, but he’s actually a pretty sharp investigator who gathers compelling evidence against Shiloh and his father. The amateur production of “Julius Caesar” in rehearsal uses real pistols instead of knives – antique pistols that happen to be from the collection of Shiloh’s father. Some locals bring small grievances against Shiloh and publicly accuse him of murder. There is enough to fill volume 2 of the “Put Out to Pasture” series, which is scheduled for release in February.

‘Lemon Drop Dead’

The sixth in Flower’s “Amish Candy Shop Mystery” series (there are three e-novels) is “Lemon Drop Dead,” which reunites with Bailey King at the business she runs with her Amish grandmother in County Holmes. One of their assistants is Emily Keim, an Amish woman who is about seven months pregnant. Emily is happy with her new baby, but feels remorse for a child she had before marriage and placed for informal adoption.

Emily is also troubled by her relationship with her moody sister Esther, who runs the pretzel shop next to the candy store. Esther condemns Emily for having had a child out of wedlock and for existing in general. Unlike many other Flower Mystery books, it is not Bailey who discovers the body this time; it’s Esther. Despite Esther’s animosity towards Bailey for employing Emily and “keeping the young and naive from the faith”, it is to Bailey that she runs when she finds the body of a woman in the store. Pretzel.

Bailey’s boyfriend, Deputy Brody, is more open than usual to his assistance in the investigation, and he has a big problem to deal with himself. The identity of the deceased woman opens a whole new box of fudge, and Bailey spends a lot more time looking for clues than pouring caramel.

“Farm to Table” and “Amish Candy Shop” are just two of Flower’s many series; his “Andi Unstoppable” won a 2015 Agatha Award for Best Children’s / Young Adult Novel.

“Farm to Trouble” (288 pages, softcover) costs $ 8.99 from Poisoned Pen Press; “Lemon Drop Dead” (320 pages, softcover) costs $ 8.99 at Kensington. Amanda Flower will speak and sign her books from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Barberton Public Library, 602 W. Park Ave. The event will also be webcast on the library’s Facebook Live page, @barbertonpubliclibrary.

Events

Literary Cleveland: The annual Inkubator, with free workshops, panel discussions, and readings by notable authors, begins at 6 a.m. on Monday with “Early Ink: Morning Writing Club” and runs through July 25. Check out the program and register at litcleveland.org.

Cuyahoga County Public Library: Linda Castillo, author of the Kate Burkholder series on a Holmes County Police Chief, and Jess Montgomery, author of the Kinship series, which takes place in the 1920s in Appalachian Ohio, talk about their work in a presentation Zoom 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday. From 7 pm to 8 pm Wednesday, Daniel Hornsby discusses his first novel “Via Negativa”, about a priest who has been expelled from his parish and embarks on a road trip. Register at cuyahogalibrary.org.

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Libraries: Julianna Porrazzo (“Wisdom and Nonsense: My Adventures as a Train Rider and Hobo Queen”) and Barbara Hacha (“Mulligan Stew: Stories and Traditions of American Hobos”) talk about life on the road in a 7-8 Zoom event : 30 h Monday. Register at heightslibrary.org.

Loganberry Books: In partnership with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, Doug Tallamy talks about “The Nature of Oaks: The Rich Ecology of Our Most Essential Trees” at a virtual event from 6:30 pm to 8 pm on July 13th.

Youngstown and Mahoning County Public Library: Jane Ann Turzillo speaks about “Wicked Women of Ohio” at a Zoom event at 7pm Tuesday. Register at libraryvisit.org.

Rocky River Public Library: Rocky River author and artist Karly West talks about “The Scholarly Banana and the Juniper Tree: An Ultra-Grim Fairy Tale from the Brothers Grimm”, a graphic novel updating one of the genre’s most gruesome examples, in a Zoom event from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Register at rrpl.org.

Akron-Summit County Public Library: Former Beacon Journal reporter Kymberli Hagelberg talks about “Wicked Akron: Tales of Rumrunners, Mobsters and Other Rubber City Rogues” at a Zoom event from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Register at akronlibrary.org.

Stark County District Library: Children’s author Tae Keller, whose Newbery 2121-winning “When You Trap a Tiger” will speak about his work at a Zoom event from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday. Register at events.starklibrary.org.

Hudson Library and Historical Society: Kathy Reichs will launch “The Bone Code,” the 20th in the Temperance Brennan series, at a Facebook Live event at 7pm Thursday. Sponsored by Scribners and the International Thriller Writers Association, the event will also feature David Baldacci, Louise Penny, Karin Slaughter, Harlan Coben and Tess Gerritsen. Registration is not necessary; go to www.facebook.com/HudsonLibrary.HistoricalSociety.

Learned Owl Bookstore (204 N. Main St., Hudson): Liliana Leone reads and signs “The Five Eiffels, a storybook about five Louvre paintings that come to life at night, 1 pm to 3 pm Saturday.

Email local book information and event notices at least two weeks in advance to [email protected] and [email protected] She tweets to @BarbaraMcI.

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