Happy Birthday Carrot Cake by Edith Maxwell

Edith Maxwell’s MULCH ADO ABOUT MURDER is the fifth Local Foods mystery. She recently threw a fifth birthday party for the series, and baked a (local organic) carrot cake for the celebration.

Happy Birthday Carrot Cake

Recipe adapted from the Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup safflower or canola oil (Option: use 2 sticks softened butter instead of oil)
4 local eggs
3 cups finely grated carrots (about five-seven medium)
Butter for greasing


Grate carrots and set aside. Grease a tube pan or bundt pan.

In a mixer, beat sugar and oil, then beat in eggs one at a time.

In a large measuring cup, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda, salt, and spices.

Stir in dry ingredients and carrots and beat.

Pour batter into prepared pan and tab on counter to release any air bubbles.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for fifteen minutes. Invert and remove from pan. Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.


It’s been a hot, dry spring in Westbury, Massachusetts. As organic farmer Cam Flaherty waits for much-needed rain, storm clouds of mystery begin to gather. Once again, it’s time to put away her sun hat and put on her sleuthing cap . . .

May has been anything but merry for Cam so far. Her parents have arrived unexpectedly and her crops are in danger of withering away. But all of that’s nothing compared to the grim fate that lies in store for one of her neighbors. Nicole Kingsbury is the proud owner of the town’s new hydroponic greenhouse. She claims the process will be 100% organic, but she uses chemicals to feed her crops. To Cam’s surprise, her mother embarrasses her by organizing a series of loud public protests against Nicole’s operation.

When Nicole is found dead in a vat of hydroponic slurry—clutching another set of rosary beads—Detective Pete Pappas has a new murder to solve. Showers may be scarce this spring, but there’s no shortage of suspects, including the dead woman’s embittered ex husband, the Other Man whose affair ruined their marriage, and Cam’s own mother. Lucky for Cam, her father turns out to have a knack for sleuthing—not to mention dealing with chickens. Will he and Cam be able to clear Mrs. Flaherty’s name before the killer strikes again?

Praise For The Mysteries Of Edith Maxwell!

Murder Most Fowl

“Another intelligent installment in this unusual cozy series. Maxwell keeps the dialogue as fresh as Cam’s produce in this nice mix of cozy ambience and a realistic story of greed and hidden secrets.” —Booklist

“Entertaining . . . cozy fans will enjoy spending time with Cam and friends.” —Publishers Weekly

Farmed And Dangerous

“Quirky characters, lots of organic farming tips, and a well-developed mystery make this Cam’s best outing yet.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Maxwell’s feisty heroine and the interesting background detail on the realities of organic farming blend to deliver a clever, twisting mystery . . . Fans of other mysteries involving organic farming, or of foodie mysteries in general, will find plenty to enjoy here.” —Booklist

“For all cozy readers, especially fans of Joanne Fluke and Diane Mott Davidson.” —Library Journal

‘Til Dirt Do Us Part

“There are plenty of farming-based cozies on the market today, but this one stands out.” —Booklist

“A most enjoyable look at organic farming with some charming characters and cooking suggestions thrown in.” —Kirkus Reviews

A Tine To Live, A Tine To Die

“With an insider’s look at organic farming and a loyal, persistent heroine, Maxwell offers a series that cozy mystery fans will root for.” —Lucy Burdette, author of Fatal Reservations