Welcome once again to Mystery Mondays. Today we have the pleasure of hearing from award-winning author Edith Maxwell. Find out what she has to say about finding a dead body in a greenhouse…
Write What You Know – Plus Some by Edith Maxwell
I’m delighted to be a guest here today. Mulch Ado About Murder, my fifth Local Foods Mystery, is coming out soon, so it’s a good time to talk about the origins of the story and the research I do, too.
The series is set on an organic farm with a group of locavores – local foods enthusiasts – as recurring characters. The series has its roots in the fertile soil of the farm I formerly owned and operated in the northeast corner of Massachusetts. It was the smallest certified organic farm in Essex County. I’d had organic gardens for years, but wanted to work on a slightly larger scale, so it made sense to start this project when my sons were young and I was taking a few years off my hi-tech career.
When I started to write crime fiction, it made sense for me to use my knowledge of small-scale farming as backdrop to the mysteries. Being older and not quite as energetic as I was then, I love immersing myself in the world of growing without having to do all the hard work! One of my little boys is now a twenty-eight year old permaculture farmer who has kept chickens, so I have a current-day consultant on the books when I need one.
Of course, we authors don’t only write what we know. I might have begun with a modest organic farm located in a town much like the one mine was in, but the imagination takes over soon after. My farmer Cam Flaherty is taller, much younger, and more of an introvert than me, and she’s also single. I didn’t have a Locavore Club knocking on my barn door fervently asking to sign up for my farm share program. And I certainly never found a dead body in my greenhouse – nor would I have attempted to solve the mystery if I had.
But that’s what fiction is for, right? I’ve been happy writing a book a year about farming for Kensington Publishing, and along the way acquired a few other multi-book contracts, too. Called to Justice, my latest historical Quaker Midwife Mystery, released a month ago, and When the Grits Hit the Fan, Country Store Mystery number three (written as Maddie Day), came out only ten days before it. I’m living my dream writing about what I know – plus some.
Who is Edith Maxwell?
2017 double Agatha-nominated and national best-selling author Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries and the Local Foods Mysteries; as Maddie Day she writes the Country Store Mysteries and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. Her award-winning short crime fiction has appeared in many juried anthologies and journals, and she serves as President of Sisters in Crime New England.
A fourth-generation Californian and former tech writer, farmer, and doula, Maxwell now writes, cooks, gardens (and wastes time as a Facebook addict) north of Boston with her beau and three cats. She blogs at WickedCozyAuthors.com, Killer Characters, and with the Midnight Ink authors. Find her on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and at www.edithmaxwell.com.
Mulch Ado About Murder
It’s been a hot, dry spring in Westbury, Massachusetts. As organic farmer Cam Flaherty waits for much-needed rain, storm clouds of mystery begin to gather. Once again, it’s time to put away her sun hat and put on her sleuthing cap when a fellow farmer is found dead in a vat of hydroponic slurry—clutching a set of rosary beads. Showers may be scarce this spring, but there’s no shortage of suspects, including the dead woman’s embittered ex-husband, the Other Man whose affair ruined their marriage, and Cam’s own visiting mother. Lucky for Cam, her nerdy academic father turns out to have a knack for sleuthing. Will he and Cam be able to clear Mom’s name before the killer strikes again?