Megan was a screamer. Definitely not the kind of baby who would wait patiently until waiting was no longer an option. No, our Megan had a real temper, one born of a desire to live in a world that matched her expectations. She’d let loose at the slightest provocation: a late meal, a wet dog nose, the wrong color socks. Time and loss have mostly worn those edges smooth, but that iron-firm determination still cuts sharp and deep when the situation warrants. I guess when you lose someone the way Megan lost Mick, too soon and oft dreaded, it changes you. Mick’s passing overseas gutted our girl, substituting youthful naiveté for a mature perspective the universe usually reserves for someone twice her age. Now when I see her nursing a sick animal for hours on end or planting row after row of tiny lettuce seeds, I know Mick is watching over her. He lent her some of his quiet strength, and perhaps she’s the better for it.
She’ll need that patience for this life. Oh, Megan thinks she came to Winsome to stay with her old grandmother, but that’s only the half of it. My granddaughter needed healing. And when you need healing, you go home.
Still, when I saw Winsome’s sorry excuse for a zoning commissioner skulking about on our farm a few weeks ago, I knew he’d cause her trouble. It was late morning, the last Tuesday in April, and cold-steel skies threatened rain. The chickens were pecking around the cluster of trees in their yard, searching for insects, and I was watching them from the kitchen window while my stiff fingers complained their way through a ball of bread dough.
Clay, Megan’s farm manager, slammed the porch door. Inside the kitchen, he unwound the red scarf from his neck and smiled when I offered him a cup of tea.
“No thanks, Bonnie.” He gestured toward the greenhouses, where he and Megan were hardening seedlings for the spring planting. “Megan’s finishing up down there and we’re about to head into town. Anything you need?”
I told him no and he left with, “Back in a spell.”
He and Megan pulled out in her pick-up. Fifteen minutes later, Simon Duvall pulled in. He knocked. I didn’t answer. “Bonnie,” he called. I pretended not to hear him—an indulgence I’m allowed at eighty-four.
Instead of leaving, the commissioner trudged back to the barn, avoiding puddles so as to not to muck up his shiny loafers with mud. I washed my hands. I covered the kneaded ball of dough with a damp kitchen towel. I poured myself a cup of hot tea, then added a dash of whiskey to ward off the April chill—another indulgence allowed an eighty-four-year-old. By the time my oven was heated to the right temperature, Simon had left.
I never told Megan about that visit. Maybe I should have. Maybe there were a lot of things I should have shared with her. Maybe I should have answered the door when Simon knocked. Maybe then Simon would be alive today. I think it was Thoreau who said, “To regret deeply is to live afresh.” Poppycock. From a purely practical standpoint, some secrets are simply best left buried.
A Muddied Murder is the first book in the NEW Greenhouse mystery series, published by Henery Press, March 2016.
When Megan Sawyer gives up her big-city law career to care for her grandmother and run the family’s organic farm and café, she expects to find peace and tranquility in her scenic hometown of Winsome, Pennsylvania. Instead, her goat goes missing, rain muddies her fields, the town denies her business permits, and her family’s Colonial-era farm sucks up the remains of her savings.
Just when she thinks she’s reached the bottom of the rain barrel, Megan and the town’s hunky veterinarian discover the local zoning commissioner’s battered body in her barn. Now Megan is thrust into the middle of a murder investigation—and she’s the chief suspect. Can Megan dig through small-town secrets, local politics, and old grievances in time to find a killer before that killer strikes again?
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About the author
Wendy Tyson is an author, lawyer and former therapist whose background has inspired her mysteries and thrillers. Wendy has written four published crime novels, including Dying Brand, the third novel in the Allison Campbell Mystery Series, which was released on May 5, 2015. The first in the Campbell series, Killer Image, was named a best mystery for book clubs in 2014 by Examiner.com. Wendy is also the author of the Greenhouse Mystery Series, the first of which, A Muddied Murder, released today.
Wendy is a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers, and she is a contributing editor for The Big Thrill, International Thriller Writers’ online magazine. Wendy lives with her husband, three sons and three dogs on a micro-farm just outside of Philadelphia. Visit Wendy at www.watyson.com.
Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win an advance copy of A Muddied Murder and one of the Allison Campbell novels (Killer Image, Deadly Assets or Dying Brand) – winner’s choice. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end April 5, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!
All comments are welcomed.