Some people snidely refer to a book as a cozy mystery. Sheila Connolly's One Bad Apple is an example of everything that is right with the cozy mystery. Her book has a likable heroine, an attractive small town setting, a slimy victim, and fascinating side elements. I hope Connolly returns readers to Granford, Massachusetts again.

Meg Corey lost her banking job in Boston in a downsize. She took on the joint ownership of an old house in Granford, and moved to that small community to get the house ready for sale. She didn't expect to find a two hundred year old house, an apple orchard covering fifteen acres, and major plumbing problems. Before the plumber could show up, Meg's ex-boyfriend landed on her doorstep. Neither expected to find the other there, but Chandler Hale was hoping to bring developers in for a major project in Grandford, and was recruiting votes in his favor. Meg rejected his business proposition, but that's not what it looked like to the police when Chandler ended up dead in her septic tank. The major suspects? Meg, and her new plumber, Seth, two people who might have an interest in the development project.

There's depth to the characters in this book that isn't always found in crime fiction. Meg, Seth, and some of the women in this book are well-developed. Meg's opinion of Granford and her house changes as she learns more about them, and becomes a little more comfortable with small town life. The information about apple orchards is interesting, and the requisite recipes in recent mysteries is an added bonus. No, One Bad Apple won't make the bestseller lists where every other book seems to be a thriller. However, for all of us who like an interesting mystery, nice people, development as a relevant issue, along with a background that's a little different, One Bad Apple is just what we're looking for. Sheila Connolly has written a winner for cozy mystery fans.

Sheila Connolly's website is www.sheilaconnolly.com

One Bad Apple by Sheila Connolly. Berkley Prime Crime, ©2008. ISBN 9780425223048 (paperback), 272p.

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