Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Deadly to the Core - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Deadly to the Core (A Cider House Mystery #1) by Joyce Tremel

Rating: Liked It! (3.5 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  After losing her husband in a terrible car crash, thirty-five-year-old Kate is left to pick up the pieces of her life alone. Although she has physically recovered, she worries her spirit never will. But when she learns that she has inherited a fruit orchard in a small town just outside Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, from her great uncle Stan, she takes this as an opportunity ripe for the picking. Kate knew immediately what to do with open a cider house. Her hopeful plans fall far from the tree when she finds the body of the orchard manager, Carl Randolph, leaving her to figure out who is at the core of this murder.

She had been in correspondence with Carl, who had agreed with her brilliant idea of opening a cider house. But not everyone is so quick to buy what she was selling—Uncle Stan’s lawyer, Robert Larabee, paints a less rosy financial outlook of the orchard’s past, present, and future.

Kate discovers that Carl had large, unexplained deposits to his bank account and it becomes clear that either he was blackmailing someone, or someone was paying him to keep quiet. Meanwhile, Kate and her neighbors receive offers to buy their property from a mysterious buyer. And there’s more than meets the eye with the neighboring orchard owner, Daniel Martinez, although Kate can’t quite put her finger on if it’s sweet or sour.

Will she be able to pick out the bad apple among the bunch before it’s too late?

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  This is an author I've really been wanting to read and I can never resist the first book in a new cozy series.

My Impression: I enjoyed this beginning to what promises to be a fun new series.  I liked that Kate has some history behind her with the town itself and is dealing with a personal tragedy.  I also liked that she had experience in running a cider house and this isn't just an unresearched whim.  As well, she also has some money of her own to make things happen.

The first quarter of the book is setup as Kate adjusts to being back on the family farm and gets reacquainted with old friends.  I do love a small town setting and this was really fun.  When she stumbles upon a dead body Kate is pulled into the investigation but her reasoning for wanting to know what is going on with her property I found fairly valid.  I liked that she was having to figure out the who and the why but also was the victim who she thought he was in the first place.  There is a decent amount of telling over showing which did keep this from being a home run for me but I'm hoping that this is due to the series needing setup.

I enjoyed this mystery and my first introduction to Tremel's writing style.  This is a series I'm interested to see develop and Kate is a character I'm looking forward to getting to know more about.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? I would.  I have several books by this author on my TBR and I'm looking forward to reading more from her.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is a good solid start to a new series.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. I just finished reading this one. I loved it. My review will be up next week.

  2. Oh sounds really promising so I hope the series turns out to be really well done.

  3. I almost picked this up over Hammers and Homicide, but decided to go with the one I did instead. I still want to read Deadly to the Core. I am glad you liked it, even with its flaws.