Southeastern Pennsylvania winters can be as unpredictable as a teenager’s moods. One day it’s sunny and forty-five, the next it’s twenty and snowing. This winter seemed to be in constant snit, and the snow started blanketing the landscape weeks before Christmas. At first Winsome residents were joyous. Nothing instills holiday cheer quite like a thick covering of snow. But as time passed and the snow continued to cause school closings and car accidents, our collective patience with Mother Nature was waning. The snowy countryside felt more like prison than a bucolic paradise.
To make matters worse, living with my grandmother, Bibi, was akin to bunking with the Winter Warlock, and even the animals seemed on edge. We all longed for sunshine. But today was supposed to be better. A lull in the storms, a bright spot during a bleak month.
I spent the morning in the greenhouses picking spinach, kale, and arugula to take with me to the Philadelphia farm-to-table restaurants. I’d made appointments with several prominent chefs before the weather turned, and I needed to keep those commitments. Winters can be long on a farm, especially a fledgling farm, and selling greens to regional restaurants would be a good source of income. If only they’d take a chance on a newcomer.
I glanced at my watch. Ten minutes before ten. Meteorologists were calling for more of the white stuff late that evening, but I would be in and out of the city before the first flake hit. Or so I thought.
My farm manager, Clay Hand, helped me load coolers of greens into the back of the truck. I’d dressed in the farm version of business casual—vintage blouse, long maroon cardigan, jeans, leather boots—and I pulled off my parka before climbing into the vehicle. Gunther and Sadie, my dogs, sat by the edge of the driveway managing to look both forlorn and hopeful like only dogs can.
“Sorry, pups,” I muttered. “No room.”
The farm, a historic property that, according to legend, once housed George Washington, stood close to a back country road on a wide swath of farmland. Woodlands bordered the property, and the boughs of hemlocks, blue spruce, and pines hung heavy with snow. Today the farmhouse chimneys billowed smoke despite the appearance of the yellow disc in the sky. Bibi was constantly cold, and the old heater couldn’t seem to keep her bones warm. The dogs didn’t mind. Soon they would be curled by the fire, all thoughts of going for a ride gone.
I waved good-bye to Clay and headed down the driveway, my mood lifting. It seemed like a day filled with promise. The potential for new customers. The opportunity to spend a few hours in the city. Holiday celebrations on the horizon. Winsome was beautiful in the winter, and I was looking forward to Christmas on the farm. I cranked up the radio and enjoyed the journey, momentarily oblivious to the vagaries of the weather and the whims of fate.
The day was filled with promise, all right. The promise of more snow. And trouble.
You can read more about Megan in Seeds of Revenge, the third book in the “Greenhouse” mystery series.
Smell the crisp pines and baking cranberries as you sip your hot apple cider. It may be the season, but the mood in Winsome is anything but jolly.
Megan Sawyer is determined to farm year-round. So much so that she braves a December snowstorm to pitch her fresh greenhouse greens to Philadelphia chefs. And then she sees a stranger stranded on the side of the road.
But this woman is no stranger to Winsome. It’s Becca Fox. A love chemist (you read that right). She’s headed to her aunt’s house to sell her love potions at holiday events. Or so Becca thinks. Her sneaky aunt only invited Becca home to reunite her with her estranged father. It sounds noble and kind-hearted, until the man ends up dead.
Megan soon finds herself in the middle. She realizes Becca’s not the only one getting iced over. Megan’s own aunt, the famous mystery author, is dragged into the drama. Her novels implicate her and she’s in trouble.
Now it’s personal. Our Megan must follow a cryptic trail of literary clues, all while sifting through the victim’s sordid past. She gets closer to the truth as the murderer gets closer to her. How’s that for a ho ho ho? Don’t let your fresh apple crisp burn in the oven because you’re lost in this holiday homicide.
# # # # # # # # # # #
About the author
Wendy Tyson is a writer, lawyer, and former therapist whose background has inspired her mysteries and thrillers. Wendy writes two mystery series, the Allison Campbell Mystery Series and the Greenhouse Mystery Series. Wendy’s bestselling Greenhouse Mystery Series includes A Muddied Murder (March 2016), Bitter Harvest (March 2017), which received a starred Publishers Weekly review, and Seeds of Revenge, which was published November 14, 2017. Wendy’s short stories have appeared in literary journals, and she has short fiction scheduled to appear in two fiction anthologies, The Night of the Flood and Betrayed. Wendy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Penn Writers, and International Thriller Writers, and she’s a contributing editor and columnist for International Thriller Writers’ online magazines, The Big Thrill and The Thrill Begins. Wendy and her family split their time between Pennsylvania and Vermont. Visit Wendy at watyson.com.
All comments are welcomed.