Edith Maxwell, author of Farmed and Dangerous, shares with us her journey to her local foods mysteries series.
About twenty-five years ago I operated and co-owned Five Star Organic Farm, the smallest certified organic farm in Essex County, Massachusetts. I’ve loved growing food since I was in college in California, and read Organic Gardening Magazine cover to cover every month. My (then) husband and I made the joint decision for me to leave my job in hi-tech and stay home with my small sons for a few years. At the same time we moved north out of Boston to a small town in the northeast corner of the state.
The property included an acre that the previous owner had gardened extensively, and I decided to try my hand at farming. I grew all the produce for our family, and sold from both a self-service farm stand on the road and at two nearby Farmers’ Markets. This was before the “local foods” movement, but of course my crops were nothing but the most local of foods.
But I’d also been reading about Community Supported Agriculture. I liked the idea of a dedicated pool of customers who would be invested in the farm monetarily as well as thinking of it as “their” farm. The farmer gets the money up front when she needs it for seeds and other supplies, and doesn’t have to watch unsold lettuce wilt at the farmers’ market. The CSA customers get a guaranteed fresh portion of whatever is being harvested that week, and are welcome to visit the farm.
After some years of farming, I needed to leave it behind. I re-entered the world of hi-tech, writing technical documentation for a succession of software companies. Now I’m a full-time fiction writer with three multi-book contracts, and I couldn’t be happier.
The third book in the Local Foods Mysteries series, Farmed and Dangerous, just came out, and I’ve submitted Murder Most Fowl to my editor at Kensington. I’ve had a small organic family garden since I left farming, but now I love diving back into the farming world, and updating it, too, with locavores, texting, permaculture, and other innovations. And the only hard work I have to do is write the books!
I hope you’ll stop by my site as well as the Wicked Cozy Authors, a group blog of me and five other New England cozy mystery authors. I also write as Maddie Day and Tace Baker.
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Farmed and Dangerous
I was really drawn to the artwork on the cover of this book. The colors and variety of the veggies on the table looked so appealing. That same feel is on the covers of the first two books of the series also.
A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die is the first book, and ‘Til Dirt Do Us Part is the next entry in the series. I’m sure if you read them in order there will be a history with the characters that will add to your enjoyment. But I started with Farmed and Dangerous and didn’t have any trouble figuring out who was who. So back to the covers and deliciousness… Cameron Flaherty, or Cam as most call her, is the main character. She is learning the ropes of running a farm in Massachusetts. There are a lot of folks that are interested in fresher, healthier foods. In addition to the cozy little murder, you can learn about what a CSA is and a touch about farming, hens, composting and preparing healthier foods. There are a few robust recipes at the end of the book.
The author is a professional in her descriptions, prose and research. Albert, is my favorite character. He liked to use the word “consarn.”
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About the Author
EDITH MAXWELL is a former farmer of a certified organic farm, holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics, and is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Her short stories have appeared in the anthologies Stone Cold, Fish Nets, Burning Bridges, Thin Ice, Riptide, and The Larcom Review. She lives with her beau and three cats in Massachusetts, where she’s currently working on her next Local Foods mystery when she isn’t out gardening.
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