Bitter Harvest by Sheila Connolly is the fifth book in the “Orchard” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), August 2011

Where do Meg’s troubles stem from?

Now that Meg Corey’s first apples have been harvested and sold, she’s enjoying some free time. Especially since she’s snowed in without power or heat. Luckily, her maybe-boyfriend Seth Chapin is keeping her company, and has agreed to help her clean out her house.

In a dusty corner Meg finds an early nineteenth-century silk sampler embroidered with apple trees, but she doesn’t recognize the names on it as any of the earlier owners of the house. Then she starts being plagued by a series of small but annoying mishaps. Meg doesn’t want to appear paranoid, but when she finds herself locked in the unheated barn overnight, and then her kitchen window is shot out, she can’t ignore the problem any longer. And if she doesn’t figure out how the sampler she found is connected to the motive of her modern-day tormentor, her first harvest could be her last.

The harvest season is over and now Meg has to decide her future. A snowstorm traps Meg and Seth at home and on a cleaning frenzy, Meg finds a silk sampler and begins to look into its history. This evenly-paced book was different from the start as Meg investigates the relationship between the found sampler and some mishaps she’s experiencing in her home and the relationship between Seth and herself. This was a good read in this enjoyable series.

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