Sour Apples by Sheila Connolly Book 6 of An Orchard Series, Narrator Robin Miles

Sour Apples
An Orchard Mystery. Book 6.
Sheila Connolly

Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
Audible Studios

As expected Robin Miles gives a riveting rendition of Sour Apples. She gives the appropriate amount of emotion making for an enjoyable listen. She even gives Lolly, Meg's cat, Max, Seth's dog and Dorcas and Isabel Meg's two goats a sense of personality and charm. Her male voices are also very good and distinctive from the ladies. Lydia, Seth's mother sounded just right, not to old nor too young. Overall a most pleasing listen thanks to Robin Miles.

Robin Miles, Narrator of Sour Apples by Sheila Connolly
Narrator, Robin Miles

Audio Book Review: Sour Apples by Sheila Connolly
Book 6. of An Orchard Series.

Seth and Meg go to the Spring Fling a local dance put on every year to raise funds for Granford. To Meg's surprise she see's her old friend and past co-worker Lauren. Last she'd heard Lauren was still working at a bank in Boston. Now Lauren is campaign manager for Rick Sainsbury. 
Rick grew up in Granford but hadn't been seen much of if at all after graduating from high school. Now he's back glad handing, looking for supporters and donations for his campaign. It's obvious to Meg that Seth has no liking for Rick which surprises her as Seth likes everyone. Seth evades Meg's questioning and won't say why he doesn't like Rick.

Sour Apples author image Sheila Connolly
Sheila Connolly Author

Meg invites Lauren to stay with her while she's in Granford so they catch up on what they've been doing since they last talked. Everyone is not happy with having Lauren around, Bree, Meg's housemate and orchard manager being one of them. Lauren is constantly on the go and very aggressive in her enthusiasms making Bree uncomfortable around her. Even Seth makes himself scarce not wanting to run into Rick Sainsbury.

Joyce Truesdale a local dairy farmer had approached Seth to look up the past paperwork on the land she leased from the city. She thought maybe there was something overlooked on the past reports. Her cows were getting sick from lead poisoning and a couple had died after allowing them to graze on it. She'd sent in soil samples to have analyzed that weren't back yet.

A tragic accident leaves Joyce dead, at first it seems her favorite cow Cyndi kicked her in the head and killed her. Art Preston, local policeman and friend, show's up at Seth's, with a verdict of murder according to the autopsy report, stunning both Seth and Meg. No one can figure out a reason for killing a law abiding dairy farmer. Joyce's husband Ethan found her when he got home from an out of town business trip. Now he's the prime suspect.

A few days later, Nathan is found hanging in his barn, at first it looks like suicide but the police think it was murder. Soil sample reports come back and they don't all match up, Meg discovers that a paint company had been on the land decades before, and Sainsbury Industry was the original company that cleaned the land. Meg isn't sure how, but she's sure Rick Sainsbury has something to do with it.

Meg aged a few years.Between Book 1. One Bad Apple and Sour Apples Book 6. she went from "about ten years older than Bree".... who is about twenty, making Meg thirty. In Book 6, Meg is "closer in age to forty than thirty"..... that's a big leap since the time span between the the six books is about one year. Meg is less testy and even Bree is not as surly in Sour Apples. It's Seth who is more bearish. It's Meg who is putting the clues together and Seth who argues and doesn't see it.

Sour Apples, An Orchard Mystery by Sheila Connolly
Sour Apples, An Orchard Mystery Book 6.


Bitter Harvest Book 5, An Orchard Mystery By Sheila Connolly Narrator Robin Miles

Bitter Harvest: Orchard, Book 5
By Sheila Connolly
Narrated By Robin Miles
Length: 10 hrs and 17 minutes

With each new book in the Orchard series, Robin Miles outshines herself. She adds so much vibrancy to the story that without her amazing narration it would lack a special ingredient that only she brings to it. Her voice is clear and pleasing, drawing you along, and smoothly enticing you into Meg and Seth's world. Robin Miles makes everything vivid with her elegant and cultured narration. She's expressive without being overly dramatic, and always captures the personality of each character.

Book Review: Bitter Harvest by Sheila Connolly

Sheila Connolly Author of The Orchard Mysteries, photo
Sheila Connolly, Author
Meg has finally gotten through her first apple harvest. Getting Bree, her surly young orchard manager to do the bookkeeping for the results, has been a challenge. Meg can't be sure if it was successful and made a profit, or failed. 

With the storm of the century heading right to Granford, Meg's furnace dies and temperatures will be dipping into the twenties making for very bad timing. Seth wants her to go to his house where it's warm but Meg is stubborn and wants to stay home.

After all she surmises, her ancestors survived in the house for a century so, she should be able to do so too. Of course the always helpful and handy Seth knows Meg will need his help so he spends the night with her.

Seth and Meg are getting more open and serious about their relationship, although Meg is still reluctant to make a commitment. Seth is a patient guy and gives Meg all the space she needs to come to terms with her own jumbled emotions. A couple of very cold nights bunked before a roaring fireplace leads to a closer connection and understanding between them.

Bitter Harvest by Sheila Connolly An Orchard Mystery
Bitter Harvest by Sheila Connolly

Odd things begin to happen that at first seem to be malicious pranks, until they turn sinister. Meg is puzzled, who would be doing these spiteful things to her. She can't think of anyone that angry with her. After being locked in her barn all night with only her two goats Dorcas and Isabel for warmth, she's now angry, but it's the bullet through the kitchen window that makes her determined to set a trap for the culprit.

With the help of Bree and Seth, Meg puts her plan into action and when they catch the person behind the vicious attacks, it is a complete and unexpected surprise. There is no murder in this book but a mystery that Meg unravels with the help of her new found interest in genealogy and history and her friends determination to put an end to the continual assaults.


A Killer Crop An Orchard Mystery By Sheila Connolly, Narrated by Robin Miles

A Killer Crop
An Orchard Mystery Book 4
By Sheila Connolly
Narrated By Robin Miles
Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
Audible Studios

Great narration by Robin Miles.  In every book of the Orchard Series  Ms. Miles gives such wonderful definition to each character. She does Meg so well that it's like listening to a friend or neighbor talking. Meg is stressing somewhat now from new problems and the work load of the orchard, and Robin Miles's inflections right down to the very breathing one might have when stressed or upset are perfect. Listening to Miles is poetry in motion.

Sheila Connolly photo, author of A Killer Crop
Author Sheila Connolly

Book Review: A Killer Crop by Sheila Connolly

When Meg's mother turns up unexpectedly at Meg's, Meg is miffed that her mother has already been in town for a couple of days and not called her. When State Policeman Markus makes an early morning call at Meg's, looking for Elizabeth Corley, is when Meg finds out her mother was visiting an old college friend in town. Elizabeth is the last person he called before he died. Markus has not said it's a murder and there's no outward signs of a suspicious death, Yet, Meg is off and running assuming that it's murder. 

I don't always like Meg and in A Killer Crop I like her less than earlier books. She's sounding very spiteful with her mother. I would have felt unwelcome if someone talked to me like she did to her mother. Her mother sounded pretty normal to me. Meg takes offense at nearly everything her mother says, and seems to have to control her temper an awful lot when talking with her.

How Meg can even for one moment suspect her mother of killing the professor is unforgivable. Even though she scolds herself for letting such thoughts cross her mind, she does contemplate it numerous times. The road is long getting to who the killer is. We learn even more about apples and orchards, maybe more than some people want to know. Genealogy plays a big part in the story and even Meg becomes interested in it. It will all tie together in the end. I personally enjoyed the genealogy but some people may not find it interesting. I thought it was a great twist and different for a murder mystery.


Robin Miles Narrator for, Red Delicious Death, An Orchard Mystery Book 3. by Sheila Connolly

Red Delicious Death
Orchard, Book 3.
By: Sheila Connolly
Narrator: Robin Miles
Length: 9 hrs and 36 mins
Audible Studios

Red Delicious Death Written by: Sheila Connolly Narrated by: Robin Miles
Red Delicious Death by Sheila Connolly

Robin Miles Narrator image
Robin Miles Narrator

Narrator Robin Miles is the voice extraordinaire behind the cast of characters in the Orchard mysteries. Without Ms. Miles remarkable presentation giving voice, semblance and shape to each person, Red Delicious Death would have less vigor and style. She is the driving force behind each story. 

Sheila Connolly author image
Sheila Connolly Author

Audio Book Review of: Red Delicious Death Book 3. by Sheila Connolly.

Red Delicious Death, does not begin right away with a death or murder, there's no corpse in Meg's orchard. Instead it starts out with a well plotted path leading up to a rather bizarre murder. When Meg's friend at the bank she use to also work at calls her to ask if she knows of any affordable places where a friend of a friends optimistic young chefs can start a restaurant Meg thinks of her Realtor friend Frances Clark, and gives her a call. 

Meg doesn't know what to think when she meets them, they seem so young an inexperienced. But Brian and Nicole Czarnecki did have financial backing, had a couple years experience working in a restaurant and both had graduated from a prestigious culinary school, and they have a qualified sou chef that will work with them. Although they seem young and naive, they actually have a well thought out business plan and Nicole's father has given them a hefty check to help them get started.

They find the perfect location in Granford, it's in their price range and they're excited to get started. Nicole the perky happy go lucky gal is a wiz at cooking, Brian her husband is an expert at finances and planning, and their friend Sam is good with prep work and dealing with vendors. Everyone pitches in and soon it's looking like they will open in the Fall as planned. Sam daily goes to meet with farmers to secure sources for fresh produce and meat. However, some townspeople are not as thrilled to have them open and maliciously plan on stopping them.

Will their dreams crash down on them when Art Preston, Granford's police detective calls and tells them Sam has been found dead face down in a pig wallow, and someone needs to identify the body. A horrible way to die for sure and Meg is as perplexed as everyone else that anyone would kill Sam. Once again Meg puts her mind too discovering who the murderer is. In her own poking around ways serendipity steps in and with a cold chill down her back she knows who did it.


Rotten to the Core by Sheila Connolly An Orchard Mystery Book 2. Narrated by Robin Miles

Rotten to the Core, book cover, image
Rotten to the CoreAn Orchard MysteryBy Sheila Connolly

Rotten to the Core 
An Orchard Mystery Book 2
By Sheila Connolly
Narrated By Robin Miles
Audio Book
9 hrs and 43 mins
Audible Inc.

Robin Miles Narrator
Narrator Robin Miles

An author builds a story with words, and a narrators performance almost magically brings those words to life, carving out their own interpretation of the characters and events. Robin Miles has that magic when she reads The Orchard Mysteries Series. Her rendering of Meg is perfect, making it easy to visualize what Meg is thinking and feeling. Bree, Meg's orchard manager is Ms. Miles' gem, the tone of voice, the inflections, wow. Ms. Miles does indeed express this prickly woman accurately. Robin Miles is multi talented narrator and her credentials are stellar.

Audio Book Review: Rotten to the Core, by Sheila Connolly

Sheila Connolly Author of The Orchard Mysteries Image

Author Sheila Connolly

Meg Corey intended to put the two hundred year old house in shape for sale but slowly Meg has come to love and appreciate the history of the house. She's finding her own roots in the area go deep with her connection to the Warren family. When Meg learned she had 15 acres of apple trees many which are heritage, Meg, was completely captivated. 

Downsized from her job in Boston as a municipal financier, country living, fresh air, and new friends, were all were drawing her into appreciating a slower more peaceful lifestyle. If only bodies would not show up in her orchard life could be nearly idyllic.

It's a fine spring day and Meg has a yen to check her apple trees and just enjoy the day. When an out-of-place aroma reaches her, sniff, sniff, smells like something dead. Following her nose she finds the body of a man in her spring house. thankfully this time it is no one she knows. She learns it is Jason an organic activist from Green Grow, and what is he doing in her orchard. Not only is she worried about how another body in her orchard may affect her reputation for her first apple harvest it means dealing with the disagreeable Detective William Markus again.

Romance is also in the air with Seth Chapin. Meg wants to take it slow in the romance department as she is totally absorbed with the endless needs of the house and learning about the orchard. Yet there is no denying the budding attraction between them that no matter how she tries to put it out of her mind, it keeps pulling at her.


An Early Wake (A County Cork Mystery. Book 3) By Sheila Connolly Narrated by Amy Rubinate

An Early Wake 
A County Cork Mystery. Book 3
Sheila Connolly
Amy Rubinate
7 hours 21 minutes

An Early Wake  A County Cork Mystery. Book 3 Sheila Connolly Amy Rubinate
An Early Wake by Sheila Connolly

Amy Rubinate narrator photo
Narrator Amy Rubinate 

Amy Rubinate gives a spirited presentation of An Early Wake. Her previous narrations of the County Cork Mysteries, Buried in a Bog and Scandal in Skibbereen were remarkable and Book 3 is equally well done. With warmth and enthusiasm Ms. Rubinate skillfully winds her way through a cast of characters unlike many in the previous two books of County Cork Mysteries, Buried in a Bog, and Scandal in Skibbereen. A well presented reading from a top-notch narrator, will certainly make you want to catch the next flight to County Cork, Ireland.

Sheila Connolly photo
Sheila Connolly author
Book Review: An Early Wake

A County Cork Mystery. Book 3
By Sheila Connolly

Maura Donovan, owner of Sullivan's' Pub in Leap, Co. Cork  Ireland is still unsure of herself and what the future of the pub might be. She is if anything more unlikable in An Early Wake, more peevish, and testy than the previous two books. So it is strange that with a thoroughly unlikable protagonist  the stories are compelling and the writing is satisfying and I continue to listen and enjoy them. Connolly also has excellent titles and the cover art is good. 

New businesses are cropping up giving more competition to Sullivan's Pub, spreading the already thin supply of Euros around even further. Maura has cleaned up the pub but has not had enough money to do much towards upgrading anything even as simple as new curtains.

When Timothy Riley a music student from Dublin drops into the Pub and unwittingly changes the fate and finances of Sullivan's by asking Maura about the music jams that took place in the pub back in the nineties. Bewildered, Maura has heard nothing about the pub being an iconic musical hot spot. As usual she goes to Old Billy to find out about it,

Old Billy, the local color and storyteller informs her how the music jams brought in hundreds of people eager to listen. She ponders the idea of bringing together the now ageing musicians and hopefully increasing the pub's coffers again. Slowly at first musicians show up then as it gains momentum it suddenly explodes into a gathering of grand proportions.

When Maura goes to the pub to clean up from the festivities she's appalled  to find a dead man in the backroom. Confused about how he even got in, Maura is sure she checked for stragglers before she left for the night.

Maura is no Nancy Drew or Kinsey Millhone and she doesn't have a true sleuthing strategy. Her mind drifts through different possibilities and then she finds something or overhears something and lets her mind wander again till she almost accidentally solves the murder.

Overall a good book with lots of excellent descriptions of the surroundings. Enough characters that are interesting in their own ways to overshadow the insecure and rudderless Maura. Shelia Connolly is very precise about her facts so although this is fiction and a Cozy Mystery, you can rely on the authenticity of what she writes.    


Scandal in Skibbereen Book 2 by Sheila Connolly, Narrator Amy Rubinate

Scandal in Skibbereen
County Cork Mystery Series Book 2

Sheila Connolly 

Narrator: Amy Rubinate

Tantor Audio

8 hours 7 minutes

Narrator Amy Rubinate photo
Amy Rubinate

It's marvelous how well Amy Rubinate expresses the testy personality of Maura. Equally well done is the pushy and unwittingly rude New Yorker Althea Melville. With her clear and well modulated voice Amy Rubinate transports us to County Cork, Ireland. The reading pace is good, easily drawing us into the story. Ms. Rubinate has a captivating voice enhancing the pleasure of a well written and fast unfolding novel. Amy Rubinate also narrated Book 1, Buried in a Bog, by Sheila Connolly.

Audio Book Review: Scandal in Skibbereen, 

A County Cork Mystery, Book 2

Sheila Connolly photo
Sheila Connolly
Twenty five year old Maura  has now been in Leap Ireland for three months and much has happened to her in that time. she's inherited Sullivans' Pub, but unsure of it's future and ability to stay in the black, she takes it at a slow pace as she gets to know the regulars and her newly found relatives. When she first arrived in Leap, she was alone in the world after her Gran died, to her delight she has found she's related to many people in Leap

When a storm blows Althea Melville into the pub, she pushes all of Maura's buttons with her crankiness and complaints. Althea is from New York and at the end of her endurance for traveling and the seemingly constant rain. She is desperate to find a Van Dyck painting that she thinks will save her job in a museum. She persuades Maura to help her, along with Old Billy, the local color and regular occupant of Sullivans.' Althea learns of Mycroft House making her anxious to go there. Alas, the people of this area live a slow life and nothing happens fast like Althea would like it to.

Scandal in Skibbereen book 2 takes place in Ireland
Scandal in Skibbereen by Sheila Connolly
Quiet and orderly Leap is suddenly the center of attention again when the mentally challenged gardener at Mycroft is found dead. Maura is taken aback when she learns from Althea that she had been at Mycroft the night of the murder. Althea becomes a prime suspect even though no one can envision the elegantly dressed New Yorker of killing anyone. Maura's imagination kicks into gear as to who and why, would anyone kill the docile gardener.

One Bad Apple by Sheila Connolly Narrator Robin Miles

One Bad Apple: An Orchard Mystery
Series: Orchard, Book 1
By Sheila Connolly
Narrated By Robin Miles
Length: 10 hrs and 25 mins
Audible Studios

Sheila Connolly author of One Bad Apple book 1 Orchard Mystery Series
Author Sheila Connolly

Narrator Robin Miles of The Orchard Mysteries
Narrator Robin Miles

Robin Miles is an extremely talented narrator. I loved listening to her read the Orchard Series. She's versatile and expressive. I really did not like many of the women in the Orchard Series, and Ms.Miles' narration was able to amplify to excruciating levels just how annoying these testy, self centered, whining women are. Truth is I did not like Maura Donovan in Sheila Connolly's other series The County Cork Mysteries. Nonetheless the books are all very good. I especially enjoyed the first five of the Orchard books. 

One Bad Apple: An Orchard Mystery
Series: Book Review

One Bad Apple, is the first in the series. Meg Corey has been downsized and ousted from her job as a commercial loan clerk, her boyfriend  recently broke up with her. Megs' mother suggests that she could go to Granford, Massachusetts and get a house ready to sell. Meg, agrees with her mother that getting away from Boston would be a good thing and without seeing the house Meg agrees to use her severance money for any repairs and so forth that the house might need and she'll regain her investment from the proceeds of the sale. 

What Meg couldn't have foreseen is just what bad shape this rambling old colonial house is in. Her mother inherited it twenty years ago and let an attorney handle it. So for twenty years it was rented out while she just banked her rental income giving the house no more thought. It's cold, drafty, and sorely in need of a new, well, just about everything. During her first week there the septic system needs replacing. Her Realtor hooks her up with Seth Chapin, plummer extraordinaire. Seth digs up her sewer pipes and septic system to find that age has taken its toll and it all needs replacing. 

That evening Megs' ex-boyfriend shows up at her door, he's as surprised to see her as she is to see him. Unknown to Meg is he is in town to do a strip mall contract that he's trying to push the city and some property owners to agree to. They go to dinner that night and between the time they have dinner and the next day he is found blocking up her still unfilled sewer and quite dead. Meg is a prime suspect.

Meg is another one of Sheila Connolly's protagonist that is not very likable. I never did warm up to her but she is not as bad as Maura in the County Cork Mystery Series, that distinction will go to a yet to arrive in a later book as Meg's orchard manager. Again although I did not ever care much for the miserable Meg, I do enjoy the Apple Orchard Series. 

Buried in a Bog, Book 1. By Sheila Connolly Narrated By Amy Rubinate

Buried in a Bog
County Cork Mystery Series, Book 1
By Sheila Connolly
Narrated By Amy Rubinate
Tantor Audio Length: 7 hrs and 38 mins

Amy Rubinate Narrator photo
Amy Rubinate
Amy Rubinate has a very lovely voice that I enjoy listening too. Although I'm not familiar with Irish accents, I thought her accents were well done and credible. Her voice is very clear and her inflections are nice.

She does a good job expressing the sadness in Maura. Maura's Grandmother recently died, the apartments where she lived were to become condominiums so she has to move out and she is alone in the world and has little going for her, leaving her feeling depressed and lost.

I thought it was a bit of a task for Ms. Rubinate to capture Maura's, personality as Maura is like quicksilver emotionally. and doesn't have a strong personality for Amy Rubinate to grab onto. So she did do a fine job jostling back and forth through the mood swings.

I would like to hear the pace picked up a couple notches as reading to slow and carefully drags out the negative tones of the book.
The third in the series An Early Wake , Ms. Rubinate does read it faster which I liked very much.

Sheila Connolly Photo
Sheila Connolly

Buried in a Bog: Audio Book Review:

I really did not like Maura Donovan, she is a bore and whines a lot. Maura is constantly questioning herself. On the one hand she wonders if she's done something offensive or out of line, and on the other hand she is curt and sounds rude. You could get dizzy the way she switches emotional gears and she's so full of self-doubt. I swear she's a public hazard. Sometimes I wasn't sure if the slowly paced narration and inflections increased the drabness of Maura or Maura is such a tiresome person. All in all Maura Donovan is a very unlikable person.

After her father died and her mother took off to parts unknown, Maura was raised by her grandmother. So it's just her and her Gran. When her Gran is dying she tells Maura she wants her to go to Ireland, Maura agrees just to please her, knowing full well she has no money to take that kind of trip. A couple weeks after the funeral Maura is packing up the contents of their apartment, and finds a box of photos, letters, and money enough to fly to Ireland. It seems as if her Gran had been planning for Maura to take this trip for a very long time.

Following instructions she got from Bridget Nolan, her gran's life long friend from her hometown in Ireland. Maura gets off the bus in Leap (pronounced Lep) and goes into Sullivan's' Pub. Her first impressions are wow, what a dump. Rose the young bartender knows who she is and tells her Bridget left a note with instructions when she arrives in Leap.

First on the list is to go across the road and rent a room from Ellen. After a good nights sleep but still feeling some jet lag, Maura finds Bridget has arranged for her grandson to drive Maura to her place for a visit. Maura finally learns from Bridget many things about her family that she never knew before.

Bridget lets her use her dead husbands car to get around on her own while she's in Ireland. Maura does not know how to drive a stick shift but somehow manages miraculously to teach herself in a short time by trial and error. On her way back to Leap she stalls where the police are swarming the area.

She ask a policeman (called garde in Ireland ) what they are doing and chats with him for a bit. Seems they are dredging up a body from the bog. This is big news in the area and business is brisk at Sullivan's Pub when she gets there.  Rose is handling it alone so Maura asks her if she needs a hand. Of course she is happy to get some extra help. God knows where Maura gets the energy to work till midnight with jet lag, a stressful afternoon with the car and an emotionally draining visit with Bridget.

Although Maura is a strange character and I did not like her, I liked the book. The descriptions of the Irish countryside are a pleasure to read and make it possible to visualize the area. The concept is intriguing and most of the cast of characters are interesting. There are many situations that are highly unlikely to happen but I overlook them as it is fiction. I can recommend the book if you enjoy a cozy type mystery that moves along at a good pace.