Crops and Robbers, Paige Shelton’s third book in the Farmers’ Market Mystery series, is a rollicking return to my favorite town of Monson, South Carolina. By now, the vendors at Bailey’s Farmers’ Market are like old friends I love catching up with.
The first two books in the series had Becca Robins investigating murders that affected her friends. But when her hippie RV living parents come for a visit, this murder mystery hits home in the worst way.
After being snubbed by the Central South Carolina Restaurant Association President, Becca returns to her farm to find her barn broken into and a knife plunged into the chest of the very same very dead president. Worse still, her mom appears in the doorway with blood on her hands.
Sam, Becca’s friend and a police officer, has to take her mother into custody. Bail is denied and things aren’t looking good for Mama Robins.
Becca and her straight laced fraternal twin sister, Allison, refuse to sit around and wait for the police to clear their mom. Becca goes so far as to recruit her boyfriend, Ian, to help her sneak and snoop.
My laugh out loud moments?
When Becca is trying to help chase a rowdy rat out of the kitchen and ends up being called “the rat whisperer.”
The Pee-Wee Herman-esque arrival of the defense attorney, Aldous.
The identity of the murderer and the motive for the murder remain a mystery for most of the book. It isn’t until the end that a few clear suspects come to the forefront. And even then, the truth doesn’t unravel until the absolute end. This is the kind of mystery I love, where I can’t figure out the ending on my own.
Ms. Shelton does a phenomenal job with setting, weaving in Becca’s strawberry and pumpkin patches and Ian’s soon to be lavender fields. I love how she sets the scene and immerses the reader in it so that I can feel the prickly pumpkin leaves and see which onions are ready for harvesting. Fabulous writing!
I enjoyed each and every character in Ms. Shelton’s book. All were well drawn and quirky enough to be memorable but still remained three-dimensional characters.
Hobbit is my favorite canine character ever. I wish I could hang out with her for a week.
The recipes included at the end of the book are mouth-watering good. I’m really interested in trying out Bo’s Snickerdoodles.
I love love love the triangle coalescing between Becca, her boyfriend Ian, and her good friend Sam. What a cliffhanger ending there.
I’ll be counting the days until the fourth book!
You can find out more about Paige Shelton and her books on her website here.