Monday, September 25, 2017

Why is Monica Dead?

by Seth Chapin, from Sheila Connolly's Orchard Mysteries

I love Granford, Massachusetts. I’ve lived here all my life, and so have more generations of ancestors than I can count. My father had a small plumbing business in town, and when he passed on I took it over, then expanded it so I could do more of what I really love to do—renovate old houses, and there are plenty here.

Recently I got married to a lovely woman named Meg Corey, who happened to move into the house next door a couple of years ago. We got off to a rocky start, but we smoothed things out pretty quickly.

In addition to running my business (and helping Meg with her orchard), I’m selectman for the town (that’s an elected position, which means I’m part of town government). I feel like I’ve been lucky to live here, and I want to give something back to the town. Basically I like to help people and solve problems.

When newcomer Monica Whitman came to see the selectmen and suggested creating a new town-wide event, WinterFare, we thought it was a great idea. There’s kind of an empty time between the last harvest and the first planting in the spring (if you’re a farmer, and many people around here are), and this would fit nicely in that space. Monica did a lot of the work setting it up, which let her get to know a plenty of people in the town quickly. Meg had a booth at the event, selling her apples. Everybody thought the event was a success and a good addition to the town’s calendar.

Until Monica died, later that night. At first we thought it could be food poisoning, but nobody else who’d been at the event had it. She wasn’t in poor health. Then we had to wonder if it could be poison—but why? Who could have wanted her dead? Monica was new to town and lived quietly with her retired husband, and she’d been working hard to make friends in Granford.

I have to confess, this was not the first suspicious death in Granford—that one took place on Meg’s property when she first arrived. There have been more since. For a peaceful small town, we have an awful lot of murders. But Meg has proved to be very good at figuring out the “why” for most of them, mostly by talking to people—and listening. And putting together the pieces. I hope for all our sakes she can figure out what happened to Monica.

A Late Frost, the 11th book in the Orchard Mystery series, will be released on November 7th. You can pre-order it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


  1. Hi Sheila,
    I love the series own at least five of them. I also have a few of each of the other two series. You are one of my favorite writers... and you hug good too!

  2. Love this series & many of your others including the glass series as Atwell. Thanks for your skill in writing great stories.

  3. As you may remember, I have been a fan of the Orchard Mystery series since book 1 due to my living in MA and having a lot of connections to Amherst, Williamstown, etc. I have really enjoyed every single book and will order this one, but my quest is to maybe win a signed and dated copy sometime as I save this series as well as a few other special author's series. I was so happy that Seth and Megan got married by the way. I just felt that the stories would flow really well with them as a team. Glad you thought that too. :) haha. I am trying to get caught up with your Irish series especially with your cottage. Two of my family members are touring Ireland last week and this. I should send you some of their photos. I can tag you in their FB postings too. Thank you for the post today; very cute/nice/fun. Looking forward to the release a LOT!!!!

    Cynthia Blain

  4. Hello again: I always call Meg, Megan. Sorry. I don't know why I do that but have since book 1. I really do read all of these books. haha. Meg!!!! Got it.

    Cynthia Blain