by Kathleen Costa
& Wendy Tyson
This week we are reviewing the latest Greenhouse Mystery by Wendy Tyson, Ripe for Vengeance. We also have a fun summer travel guest post by Wendy. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon and from an indie bookstore.
Ripe for Vengeance: The Greenhouse Mystery by Wendy Tyson
You Don’t Need a Green Thumb!
Wendy Tyson brings us Megan Sawyer who started out as a big city lawyer until circumstances made it necessary for Megan to return home and help run Washington Acres, the family’s organic farm, and the farm-to-table cafe. It was suppose to be a peaceful and idyllic lifestyle change, but turned into uncooperative goats, never ending farm work, holiday troubles, family issues, and what else…murder! The engaging side dramas include all things farm related along with a budding to “if I may be so bold, girlfriend” romance with a Scottish hunky veterinarian, and interactions with some quirky residents of Winsome, Pennsylvania. All this makes for the marvelously entertaining Greenhouse Mystery series!
Ripe for Vengeance earns 5/5 Calls from Karma…Blooming Entertainment!
The signs of spring are emerging with flowers blooming, rows of colorful leafy veggies blossoming, and a new member of Washington Acres arriving…a Vietnamese potbellied piglet found in a storage unit who needs to be fostered until its owner is located. Bibi, Megan’s grandmother, is completely taken. So with everyone fine at home, Megan heads off to dinner with her boyfriend and his college buddies who are in town to participate in a corporate mentoring event with a local school of students who struggle with behavioral and emotional challenges. The idea is to pair up with a student for a hike-in-and-camp outing, engage with the students, and gauge interest in a career in STEM. Seems like a worthwhile endeavor, until one of Denver’s friends ends up dead and a young troubled student is the prime suspect…of course, the kid found the body, and is that blood? But, the young student, known to Megan and Denver, is not the only one with present and past issues, but delving into details puts Megan and others in danger…
What a delightfully exciting book with just the right amount of an “edge!” Wendy Tyson kept me totally engaged with her entertaining writing style using a third-person narrative. Although not my favorite perspective, the reader is placed right in the middle of all the drama. Her strong characters, especially Megan, have developed well over the series and with vivid descriptions and dialogue she aptly illustrates the tone, conflicts, and good, bad, and ugly personalities. I really enjoyed the murder mystery, pleasantly punctuated by a bit of Karma, with enough twists, turns, and some exciting personal peril adding to this engaging page-turner! I was fascinated by the personal stories of the Denver’s college mates and the young kids making it more complex and intriguing than just investigating and asking questions. All in all…excellent!
Newbies? It is the fifth book, and of course, life goes on with strengthening relationships, ups and downs of business interests, and dealing with a few murders, but this is a great place to start. I warn you, you’ll be hooked and need to read the other books!
Be a Big Fan of Wendy Tyson!
Along with penning the five-book Greenhouse Mystery series, Wendy also writes the four-book Allison Campbell Mystery series that I would describe as a “cozy with an edge.” The series begins with Killer Image, first published in 2013, introducing image consultant Allison Campbell whose job entails helping to reinvent people’s images in the wake of scandals, mayhem, and of course, murder.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go
By, Wendy Tyson
When my first son was born, a close friend gave him Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go. This friend was an avid traveler—not the kind who flew first class across the world’s oceans, but the kind of traveler for whom every trip was an adventure. He joined the Peace Corps following graduation, and, after that, he backpacked through the United States before volunteering his way from continent to continent. He was someone who embraced life, who embodied a certain wholesome idealism. He was someone who was truly off to great places.
I read that book to my son and had a sobering look at my own life. What had I done? What places had I seen?
At the time, my world seemed small. Travel was an extravagance, something reserved for the wealthy or the strikingly adventurous—not a new, young, struggling mother. My father had been a Navy veteran who had seen many parts of the world while completing his tour. He served right before the Vietnam War, and political tensions were high. While I was growing up, he had little desire to travel farther than the New Jersey shore. Home, he said, was where he wanted to be. This suited my mother, a self-proclaimed homebody, just fine. I, on the other hand, longed to see more than the two-hundred-miles around Philadelphia. I found my solace in books.
I still remember reading James Michener’s The Drifters as a teenager. Michener’s descriptions of the world, especially Morocco, painted a sensuous picture that haunted me long after I finished the story. The novel triggered a deep hunger for literary exploration, and after that, I devoured books set in Australia, the Middle East, China, Europe. I came to appreciate an author’s ability to take readers on a journey without them ever having to leave their living room. I had become an armchair traveler—and, somewhere along the way, an aspiring author.
But oh, how I longed to see some of these places in person.
When I read my friend’s inscription in Oh, the Places You’ll Go, I realized I wanted my son to see more of the world than I had. I wanted to be the kind of mother who had opinions and perspectives based on a breadth of experiences and interactions. I wanted to taste paella in Spain, see Donna Leon’s Venice, and experience the Greek islands for myself. I wanted to be more than an armchair traveler; I wanted to explore—and bring these settings to others through my own fiction.
It took me years to realize these dreams, but eventually I increased my miles and recorded my trips with photos and essays and stories. This summer, my family and I set off across the country in our minivan, hitting fourteen states from the comfort of our packed vehicle. I was scouting for a new book setting for part of my next Greenhouse mystery. We lingered in Nebraska, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota along the way. I think the boys enjoyed the journey as much as the destinations.
They, too, have a need to go.
But then a funny thing happened. A week after we returned, my sons celebrated their birthday, and as part of his gift, one son asked to spend a day down the shore (as we say in my native Philly). Ocean City, New Jersey, you see, was a place that was dear to my parents. While growing up, we went for two weeks every summer, joined by my grandparents and my great-grandmother. I have wonderful memories of swimming on the beach with my father, reading my adventure novels from the comfort of our porch, and walking the boardwalk at night alongside my grandmother, the ocean a soothing backdrop to the colorful lights, scents, and sounds of the piers.
My son loved that day at the shore, his sixteen-year-old self childlike again. Seeing Ocean City through his eyes made me realize that going places can be as simple as visiting loved and known locale—with fresh eyes. I would use the places I’d visited during our trip out West. They’d be woven into books or included as a character in a short story, and the memories we forged in the minivan would be with me always. But as far as my quest for a new setting for the next Greenhouse novel, I’d found it that day in Ocean City.
I think, perhaps, it was there all along.
Wendy Tyson is a writer, lawyer, and former therapist whose background has inspired her mysteries and thrillers. Wendy writes three mystery series, the bestselling Greenhouse Mystery Series, the Allison Campbell Mystery Series, and the forthcoming Delilah Percy Powers crime series. Wendy’s short stories have appeared in literary journals and two crime fiction anthologies, and Wendy is a contributing editor and columnist for International Thriller Writers’ online magazines, The Big Thrill and The Thrill Begins. Wendy and her family now live in Vermont.”
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To enter to win a copy of Ripe for Vengeance, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “ripe,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 3, 2019. If entering via comment please include your email address, if entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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