By Meg Corey, from Sheila Connolly’s Orchard Mysteries
It’s harvest season again—my second in Granford. My orchard manager Bree and I are short one picker — one didn't sign up again with us this year, after it was too late to recruit someone new. Like many people in western Massachusetts, we hire Jamaican pickers, who have been working around here for generations. They’re good at their jobs, but there’s a lot of paperwork involved in getting them the right visas and such. Anyway, the result is that Bree and I have been helping out with a lot of the picking—and it’s hard work, believe me.
My...whatever Seth Chapin is also working hard, because everyone in Granford and beyond has decided they just have to do those renovations they’ve been putting off before winter, and Seth has a hard time turning away business. He loves what he does, especially working with older buildings, but between our schedules, we don’t see as much of each other as we’d like, even though he’s sort of unofficially moved into my house. And then he had to go and volunteer to oversee the expansion of the town’s historical society building. Seth, I really care about you, but do you know the word “no”?
So you can see why we don’t need to get involved in solving another murder. But Seth and I both found it hard to say no this time around. For one thing, I kind of knew the main suspect: he was a nice, smart high school Boy Scout, and I had a hard time picturing him attacking or killing anyone, much less someone he didn’t know. Heck, he was the one who found the victim and called the police. But he was the only suspect handy, so then his uncle Rick Sainsbury, who is now running for Congress, asked if Seth and I could help clear his nephew Jeffrey, so we were stuck in the middle of it. All right, it’s hard to say no to the guy who is probably our next congressman, and we might need his help in the future.
It’s funny—there are a lot of hidden things in even a small town like Granford, starting with what we found under the old historical society. And even straight-arrow Jeffrey turned out to be hiding something. You never know what you’ll find once you start digging.
Picked to Die (Orchard Mystery #8) will be released in October 2014. For more information, visit my (new and improved) website at www.sheilaconnolly.com