I’m ankle-deep in pig muck and wondering how I got in this mess. Oh, that’s right, I signed on to be the marketing guru at the O’Connell Organic Farm and Spa after Esther, a recent widow, decided to turn her farm into a bed and breakfast, complete with spa services. I pictured myself sitting at a desk, maybe near a window, designing brochures and creating magazine advertisements. But with such a small place, and even smaller budget, marketing only takes up part of my day. The rest of the time, I fill in wherever I’m needed, whether it involves getting pecked by angry chickens when I steal their eggs, falling in the dirt when I try to catch runaway pigs, or tasting the spa cook’s black pepper cookies and fermented soy beans.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful for the job after being laid off from my marketing position at a software company down in the Bay Area, especially since I need to help Mom with the bills. I was hoping my sister, Ashlee, would pitch in, too, since she still lives at home, but her job at the veterinary office doesn’t pay much, and what little she makes goes straight to the latest shoes and makeup products. That’s okay. What are big sisters for but to swoop in and save the day? I just didn’t think I’d need hip boots and heavy-duty gloves to promote all the beauty the farm has to offer up here in the tiny Northern California town of Blossom Valley.
Not to mention that we’ve already hit a snag. A big snag. On the second day of the farm’s official opening weekend, I found a dead body. Unfortunately, the guy didn’t die of something natural, like a heart attack. He was murdered.
The whole horrible situation has thrown the farm into chaos and put a crimp in the work routine I’d established for myself. Now, in between all my other duties, I’m scrutinizing the guests to see if any of them look like a killer while also answering questions from the police detectives and Jason Forrester, that cute reporter for the town’s weekly paper.
Even before Jason started writing articles, everyone in town was talking about the murder. Just this morning, I stopped by the Daily Grind coffee shop for a white mocha and overheard a man complaining to the mayor about how the new place has brought a killer to town.
I’ve been thinking about his comment a lot. The police don’t see many murders here in Blossom Valley. If the detectives take too long to solve the case, guests might be scared to stay here. This opening weekend could also be the last one for Esther’s farm, along with my new job. I may have to step in and assist the police, not that I have any training. What I do have is an opportunity to poke around the guest cabins, listen to the conversations of the diners as they struggle to eat the cook’s dishes, and look for anything out of place that the cops might want to investigate.
With any luck, I can help end this whole mess. Then I can get back to my real job, slopping with the little piggies.
** Thanks to the Staci, I have one (1) copy of GOING ORGANIC CAN KILL YOU to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends July 8. Leave a valid-email address with your comment. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **
Meet the Author
Staci McLaughlin is the author of the Blossom Valley Mysteries. GOING ORGANIC CAN KILL YOU is the first in the series. When she’s not writing, she is a maid, short-order cook, and band-aid supplier for her two young sons. They live in the San Francisco Bay Area, along with her husband and two cats who lounge around all day, waiting to be fed. Just to be clear, only the cats lounge around. The husband actually does stuff. Visit Staci at www.stacimclaughlin.com.
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