Character: Larry Bennett
Title: Nipped in the Bud
Series: The Orchard Mysteries
Author: Sheila Connolly
I guess I’m kind of the new kid on the block. I’m Larry Bennett, and I was hired by Meg Chapin to manage her apple orchard. She had a manager before, but Bree got a great offer to work in Australia for a while, so she left right after the harvest season. Christopher Ramsdell, who works at the university, recommended me to Meg, so I’ve just started working at her orchard.
There’s not much to do this time of year—it’s February in western Massachusetts, and it’s still cold. The first thing we’ll have to do is prune the trees, and see which ones aren’t doing so well. But they’re not ready yet.
Meg and her husband Seth were nice enough to give me a place to stay, as part of the job. Seth owns a house up the hill, and I’ve got a room there. I’ve also got three roommates, which takes getting used to. I think Seth realized I felt kind of overwhelmed, and he suggested that we could build a Tiny House, big enough for one person to live in. Seth does a lot of carpentry and house renovation, so it’s easy for him to put it together, and if things don’t work out, it’ll be a good sample of what he can do for future customers to look at, or it might make a good playhouse for his sister’s kids. I’m happy to help him build it. I’ve never really had a place to live that was all mine.
So we were waiting for the weather to warm up, and planning for the coming growing season, and things were looking pretty good—until Seth found the body of a woman at one end of the property, back in the woods. She’d been shot in the back, but it’s still hunting season, so it might have been a stupid hunter who didn’t check what he was shooting at. But nobody really believed that.
So why are the police being so weird about saying who she was, and who might have killed her?
I'm happy to tell you that the Orchard Mysteries are back, with a new publisher (Beyond the Page Publishing), in both print and e-formats, and Nipped in the Bud is available for pre-order at all the usual places. The book will be released on October 29th.
To celebrate, I’m offering a copy of the book (in either format), just as soon as I get my hands on some! Just answer one question: what do you think of Tiny Houses, and would you like to live in one? (Please include your email address so I can contact you if you win!)