First in a new cozy mystery series from USA Today bestselling author Amanda Flower!
Coming home to a run-down farm, gossipy neighbors, and a shady investor is a lot to handle… but a murderer on the loose is the final straw!
Shiloh Bellamy cashed in her big city job and 401K to return home to Michigan to save the family farm, but turning Bellamy Farms into a sustainable, organic … turning Bellamy Farms into a sustainable, organic operation—complete with a farm-to-table café—is no small feat. Especially when her new investor is found dead among the flowers just hours after the contract is signed. Everyone knows her father had a grudge against the investor, and word travels fast in a small town…
Now, Shiloh must clear her family’s name and track down the real killer before her organic farm dreams wilt before her very eyes. But with her father trying to stop any progress on his land, her cousin belittling her every effort, the farmhouse falling down around her, and the whole town believing her family at fault, Shiloh’s small town troubles are growing much faster than her crops. She’ll have to trust her own investigation or risk all her dreams drying up before they begin.
In the farmer’s market for a new cozy mystery? Farm to Trouble is:
From a USA Today bestselling author comes Farm to Trouble, a fresh new cozy mystery! When Shiloh Bellamy gives up her corporate life to revamp her family farm back home in Michigan, she gets more than she bargained for. With one person dead and the whole town against her, this amateur sleuth will have to crack the case—and get the farm up and running—before her goose is cooked!
FARM TO TROUBLE is the endearing debut in the Farm to Table Mystery series by the ever prolific and entertaining Amanda Flower. Full of small town color and gossip, and a compelling mystery to solve, it is a fun read.
Shiloh Bellamy essentially ran away from home after her fiancé’s death fifteen years ago to become a successful Hollywood producer. She cashes in her savings and quits her job to literally save the family farm, but she arrives to find her father’s health failing and the farm in even worse shape than she imagined. Knowing she needs even more money to turn the farm into a thriving organic farm and cafe, she signed a contract with local investor Jefferson Crocker only to realize too late that Crocker owns a good portion of the town of Cherry Glen, Michigan, and has plans of his own for Bellamy Farm. When Shiloh finds Crocker murdered at the farmers market, she and her father quickly become the prime suspects. Realizing that her years away from her hometown have now made her an outsider, she does all she can to clear the Bellamy family name and find the real killer.
Shiloh makes a promising amateur sleuth. She is intelligent and loyal with just enough city-girl cynicism to stand out from the other residents of her hometown. Her strained relationship with her cousin and father, as well as with her fiancé’s best friend Quin, makes the atmosphere tense for much of the book, but I enjoy watching them all work through their issues. The town residents, some quirky, some unpleasant, all add lots of variety and small country town flavor. Huckleberry, Shiloh’s pug, steals just about every scene in which he appears. I really like Quin’s eleven-year-old daughter Hazel, too. The story takes a bit to get going, but the time is well spent introducing characters and the town. It is always enjoyable. I do wish Shiloh had spent more time actively investigating; it mostly felt like she stumbled across most of the clues. I definitely did not figure out the mystery before Shiloh, and this kept me engaged from the first to last page.
I enjoyed my time spent in Cherry Glen with Shiloh and look forward to reading many more adventures featuring the Bellamy Farm. Highly recommended.
I received an ARC of this book from the Author and Poisoned Pen Press through NetGalley and voluntarily shared my thoughts here.
I enjoy reading cozy mysteries written by Amanda Flower, so I was very excited to have the opportunity to read and review the first book in her new Farm to Table Mysteries.
Shiloh has returned to her hometown to help her father run the family farm…and to make some much-needed improvements. She’s a little short on the cash needed to make those improvements, so she makes loan arrangements with a man named Crocker. Little does she realize Crocker is a much-hated man who is trying to take over the town. Barely two days in town and Shiloh is drawn into a murder after she finds Crocker dead. And when the police look at her and her grandfather as possible suspects, she decides to try and solve the mystery herself.
And interesting start to this new series. It was a little slow at the beginning, but then picked up and had a satisfying conclusion. And I like the family mystery that carries on to the next book (can’t wait to see what happens there). I’m still getting a feel for Shiloh and the rest of the townspeople, but I think I’m going to like this series.
Thank you to the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, for granting my wish to read a copy of this book, via NetGalley. My thoughts and opinions are my own and without bias or favor.
Amanda Flower is one of my favorite authors so it was a no brainer to want to get my hands on her latest mystery. She has started a new series called Farm to Table and it’s off to a great start. The setting is Cherry Glen, Michigan and the series centers on Shiloh Bellamy and her return to her home town to help save the family farm. She’s been out in L.A. long enough to be out of touch with the daily life of Cherry Glen and it turns out it’s information that would have been a big help from the moment she got the request from her ailing father to come home. Lots of secrets are being kept and not just by those close to her. First, she had no idea how rundown the family farm really was and when her plan to revive the farm by turning it into a farm to table operation with the help of a local investor, well her father, (along with others in the family), is far from happy. It seems that her father is dead set against the man, Jefferson Crocker, having anything to do with the farm. Just about the whole town agrees with him. When Crocker turns up dead at the farmer’s market there are plenty of suspects to keep the police busy. Unfortunately Shiloh and her father are at the top of the list.
I have to say that her family isn’t very nice, especially to Shiloh and her ability to hold it all together when dealing with them …well let’s just say I wouldn’t have been so charitable towards any of them. After all, she had a good life in California and she dropped it all to come home to try and save the farm. By the end of this well crafted mystery I did find myself saving a spot on my TBR list for the next one to see how some of the dangling threads are tied up.
My thanks to the publisher Poisoned Pen Press and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
FARM TO TROUBLE by Amanda Flower
The First Farm to Table Mystery
Shiloh Bellamy has left life as a Hollywood producer to try to help her ailing father and save her family farm in Cherry Glen, Michigan. With a plan she’s sure her father won’t like, Shiloh finds an investor and agrees to a cutthroat agreement-if she doesn’t turn a profit in two years she could lose the farm. What she doesn’t know is that the investor is one of the most despised men in town. Buying up property left and right and almost owning the entire town already, he’s seen as the devil incarnate. Shiloh also didn’t know how bad the farm’s condition truly was. Feeling she has no choice but to finalize her deal with the devil, Shiloh goes to meet him at the Farmer’s Market only to find his dead body. With a less than stellar return home, Shiloh knows she’d better root out a killer, before she loses the farm!
Generally, cozy mysteries have a setting I want to spend time in and people with whom I want to hang out. I’m not sure I feel that way about Cherry Glen. The small town may have changed from run down to burgeoning, but the majority of its residents are unpleasant and downright nasty! I can’t stand Shiloh’s cousin, which is surprising as I’m a theatre person and adore the restoration of old buildings. Shiloh’s father is a jerk, Quinn’s mother is a shrew, and I have no words for Minnie! The good news is that I do like Shiloh, who is competent, hard working, and kind. I love Huckleberry, who is quite the character! There are some pleasant people in town and I hope they take on more prominence in future books.
The mystery itself was intriguing and well plotted, with almost everyone a possible suspect. I especially liked the fact that while the mystery was solved, there are ongoing issues to address and another puzzle to figure out. I also think a certain character may have a new role in the next book and I look forward to seeing if my hunch is correct.
With FARM TO TROUBLE Amanda Flower has planted the seeds of a richly satisfying mystery series. I look forward to watching the characters grow and flourish…and seeing who gets weeded out next!
FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
Farm To Trouble is the first book in the Farm To Table Mysteries series by Amanda Flower.
After her boyfriend dies in an automobile accident, Shiloh Bellamy left Cherry Glen, Michigan, fifteen years ago for Los Angles to pursue her dream of becoming a television show producer. She has been a very successful career as a producer, which has allowed her to help her father with the farm’s expenses. But when her father sends her a tax bill that is due, she decides to move back to Cherry Glen to help her ill father. Shiloh thought that Bellamy Farm should be turned into an organic farm for some time, but her father has nixed this from the start.
When Shiloh arrives at the farm, she is shocked at running down the fields and buildings to say nothing about how her dad’s health has deteriorated. Shiloh informs her dad that she signed a contract with Jackson Crocker to provide funds to get the farm registered as an organic farm. Shiloh’s father tells her that she couldn’t have gotten a worse partner. Crocker owns most of the buildings downtown and has a reputation of not being fair in purchasing the properties. The next day Shiloh goes to the local farmer’s market to meet with Crocker but instead finds his lifeless body. Shiloh and her father will soon become the main person of interest by the police. Once Shiloh begins to investigate who might have been the killer, she will find several suspects.
I love all of the author’s series and am sure I will be adding this new one. The book is well-written and plotted. The book proceeds at a nice pace. The characters are well-developed, believable, and enjoyable. I will be looking forward to seeing if the relationship between Shiloh and her cousin, Stacey, will improve. Shiloh found a note that her grandmother had left in her cabin. Hopefully, Shiloh will locate the treasure that her grandmother mentions. It will be interesting to see if Shiloh will find a romantic interest in Quinn, her late boyfriend’s best friend.
I am anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.
Summary of Farm to Table
Shiloh Bellamy has come home to Cherry Glen, Michigan, to help her father with the family farm. Over the years, she has sent money home from California, where she worked as a producer, to help pay off the farm’s debt. For years Shiloh has dreamed of turning the land into an organic farm-to-fork operation, but her father has refused. But Shiloh won’t give up on her dreams so easily; she’s brought aboard an investor to help turn the farm into a profitable business.
Shiloh’s investor is Jackson Crocker, the most hated man in the area. He’s bought up most of the buildings in Cherry Glen and he’s been trying to buy Bellamy Farm for years. Only after her father’s tirade does Shiloh begin to fear she’s made a mistake bringing on Jackson, but the contract is signed, and she can’t back out now. The next morning, instead of meeting Jackson to discuss business, Shiloh finds his body instead. Now Shiloh is a prime suspect in Jackson’s murder and if she doesn’t figure out who killed her investor, she’ll lose her family and her farm.
Fork-to-Trouble is the first book in the Farm to Table series. Cherry Glen, Michigan, is a small town that has re-invented itself, surrounded by family farms struggling to make ends meet. The relationships between the characters are complex, complicated by family ties, misunderstandings, and for Shiloh, a painful past she must face after avoiding it for so long. Fork-to-Trouble is a strong start to a new series and I look forward to reading more.
Being a country girl at heart, I embraced the opportunity to read this new farm-to-table cozy series from Amanda Flower.
I appreciated several key ideas in FARM TO TROUBLE. I enjoy the idea of organic farm living and the laid back surroundings a country setting provides. Protagonist, Shiloh Bellamy has her hands full with her dad ailing and acting like a sourpuss, and dealing with the headaches of his severely neglected 200 acre farm. But, Shiloh’s not a quitter, and I admired her for that quality. I adored her little pug, Huckleberry, who’s her constant companion and took to the country life like he was born into it!
Once the murder takes place, the townspeople are quick to judge Shiloh’s dad, Sully, and he becomes Suspect #1. Shiloh follows in second place because she had a deal with the deceased to help save the farm. The town is clannish, which is typical of small farming communities, and no one is very friendly to Shiloh. I felt like the author wrote those characters that way—it made the people more authentic to the fact that they didn’t like change, or people who advocated for change.
I didn’t solve who the killer was until Shiloh did, but I knew something was ‘off’ with this one person. The book ends in somewhat of a cliffhanger regarding a secret from Shiloh’s Grandma Bellamy. Overall, I enjoyed the story and look forward to my next visit to Bellamy Farm. Farm tips included.
I honestly reviewed an unedited digital arc provided by NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press. All opinions are my own. Thank you.