Monday, June 16, 2014

A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die by Edith Maxwell

A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die is the first book in Edith Maxwell’s Local Foods cozy mystery series. (The second book, ‘Til Dirt Do Us Part, came out in May 2014.)  It’s not a great first book, but I’ve found that mystery writers often don’t write a great book until the second, third, or even fourth book in their series. A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die is a promising start to a series.

Cameron Flaherty is a former computer programmer who got laid off. Around the time she lost her job, her great uncle had to give up his farm, and Cam decided to give farming a try rather than look for another corporate job.

I enjoyed the descriptions of Cam’s work on the farm, of the farmers market, and of the food cooperative. I liked that Cam sells organic produce but is not 100% committed to the locavore movement (eating only local foods). She’s unwilling to give up coffee, as indeed I would be.

Cam’s fledgling romance with a local chef is a bit dull. In fact, I kept expecting her to end up with state police officer Pete Pappas, as there seemed to be more chemistry between Cam and him than with the chef. The chef kisses Cam on the cheek more than once, and that always makes my eyes roll. Who does that? One plot twist that had me chuckling is the three characters who turn out to be illegal immigrants – from Brazil, Poland and Sweden. Sweden, really? He must be the only illegal Swedish immigrant in the U.S.

There was an entirely unnecessary bit concerning Cam’s suppressed memory of being in a fire, and the resolution of the murder is wholly unoriginal. Still, the series has potential.

If you are a cozy mystery reader looking for a new series or a mystery reader who is also a fan of the local foods movement, you might want to check out A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die.

There will be a discussion of A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die at En Season Café (2900 W. Main, Galesburg) on June 19 at 11:30 am. Copies of the book are available at the Galesburg Public Library’s Check-Out Desk. Lunch is $10 paid in advance at the library’s Reference Desk. Come join us for a meal and a book discussion!

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