Thursday, January 25, 2024

Review: Deadly to the Core (A Cider House Mystery) by Joyce Tremel (Blog Tour/Tour-Wide Giveaway)

Deadly to the Core (A Cider House Mystery) by Joyce Tremel

About Deadly to the Core


Deadly to the Core (A Cider House Mystery) 

Cozy Mystery 1st in Series 

Setting - Pennsylvania 

Crooked Lane Books (January 16, 2024) 

Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 250 pages 

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1639105433 

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1639105434 

Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0C2P4QB9T

Perfect for fans of Amanda Flower and Julie Anne Lindsey, when Kate Mulligan inherits her great uncle’s fruit orchard, she quickly realizes that apples aren’t the only thing that can have rotten cores.

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 it: 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?

My Review

Kate Mulligan is still grieving the untimely death of her husband in a car crash.  When her Uncle Stan dies, she inherits his fruit orchard.  She jumps at the chance to take this opportunity to open a cider house.  There’s already a very helpful orchard manager, Carl Randolph.  Things are looking very good for her new venture.

However, her uncle's lawyer doesn’t approve of Kate’s plans and encourages her to sell the orchard.  When Kate stumbles upon Carl’s dead body, she wonders what’s really going on in this small town in Pennsylvania.  She discovers that a corporation has been trying to buy up the land, she wonders if that has anything to do with Carl’s murder.  

I fell in love with this story from the beginning.  Kate is a vulnerable, but strong character.  Most of the townspeople love her and she even adopts Carl’s cat.  A plus for this cat lover.  LOL  There’s also a hint of romance in the air for Kate and fellow orchard owner, Daniel.

The supporting cast is very likeable.  They all pitch in to help Kate solve the murder.  

This is the first in a new cozy mystery series and it’s off to a wonderful start. It’s so much fun to get in on the ground floor of a new series. The story is fast-paced and believable.  There were many possible suspects to choose from. The adventure captivated me and kept me at the edge of my seat until the end.

I’ll definitely be looking for more books by this author.  I’m anxiously awaiting my next visit to Pennsylvania with Kate and her gang.  A new series to add to my "must read" list.

For reading challenges:
Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge 2024
Literary Escapes Reading Challenge 2024 (Pennsylvania)
Cruisin’ thru the Cozies Reading Challenge 2024
Cloak & Dagger Reading Challenge 2024

FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a free Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About Joyce Tremel

Joyce Tremel was a police secretary for ten years and more than once envisioned the demise of certain co-workers, but settled on writing as a way to keep herself out of jail. In addition to the Cider House Mysteries, she wrote the Brewing Trouble Mysteries. As Joyce St. Anthony, she writes the Homefront News historical mysteries. She lives in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania with her husband and two cats named Hops and Lager.

Author Links 

Purchase Links


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  1. I'd enjoy a visit to an apple orchard, in person and in a story.

  2. Sounds like a great book. Love the cover.


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