Check out Paige Shelton’s maiden novel, Farm Fresh Murder: A Farmers’ Market Mystery (Berkley, $7.99). This clever new mystery stars Becca Robins, a South Carolina farmer who specializes in concocting superb jams that she markets from her stall in the Baileys Farmers’ Market managed by her sister. Becca’s life proceeds uneventfully until a fellow vendor is murdered, and Becca’s friend, Abner, is framed for the crime. Impelled by natural curiosity and the desire to exonerate Abner, Becca embarks upon a perilous investigation that, fortunately, concludes safely and successfully.
Shelton portrays Becca as a savvy, smart sleuth who at times misses the mark in her pursuit of justice. The plot complexities and red herrings certainly contribute to Becca’s—and the reader’s—false assumptions, all of which renders the book’s conclusion all the more satisfying. Hopefully, Shelton will return soon with more free range murder. Certainly, I will never again venture into my local farmers’ market with the same complacent insouciance, not even to purchase jam!