Dairy farmer Ruth Willmarth struggles with a mad cow plague, a squatter family of volatile Irish Travellers, a beautiful runaway woman--and Murder. According to Kirkus Reviews: "The masterfully evoked terror of Mad Cow makes Ruth's fifth her most sharply focused yet." Mystery by Nancy Means Wright; originally published by St. Martin's Minotaur
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Mad Cow Nightmare

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Dairy farmer Ruth Willmarth struggles with a mad cow plague, a squatter family of volatile Irish Travellers, a beautiful runaway woman--and Murder. According to Kirkus Reviews: "The masterfully evoked terror of Mad Cow makes Ruth's fifth her most sharply focused yet." Mystery by Nancy Means Wright; originally published by St. Martin's Minotaur
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Series heroine Ruth Willmarth's (Stolen Honey) persistent suitor-now her lover-invites some distant relatives to watch Ruth's Vermont cows while her helper is away. Unfortunately, one of the rowdy relatives recently had surgery in Canada and may be carrying the mad cow virus. A solid farm-based series addition. Wright lives in Cornwall, VT. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Wright's latest Vermont idyll (Stolen Honey, 2002, etc.) plumbs every dairy farmer's worst nightmare. Life is so unfair. When her lover, Colm Hanna, enlisted a distant cousin, Darren O'Neill, to help Ruth Willmarth work her farm in her hired-hand's absence, Ruth had no idea that Darren would bring along his traveling family of Irish gypsies: his wife Maggie, her cousin Nola and Nola's boyfriend Ritchie, who's Darren's own cousin. And Ruth never could have imagined that Nola, whom Ritchie's just removed from a Canadian hospital, would still be sick with something that could well be Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human version of the dread mad cow disease. Clearly, Ruth needs to send the whole family packing. But before she can, Nola disappears and Ritchie is strangled to death. The obvious suspect is Nola, who hovers tantalizingly just out of reach, wandering from farm to neighboring farm. Like Calamity Jane, Nola endangers everyone she touches, from Lippitt Morgan horse breeder Franny Gates, whose beloved mare Ophelia has also gone missing, to hapless James Perlman, who just wants to put his past mistakes behind him and raise some uninfected sheep. There'll be suitably villainous supporting roles for Ruth's born-again ex-sister-in-law, Darren's uncle Tormey Leary and the United States Department of Agriculture. The mystery of Ritchie's death manages to be both tangled and predictable, but the masterfully evoked terror of mad cow makes Ruth's fifth her most sharply focused yet.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940043339416
  • Publisher: Belgrave House
  • Publication date: 8/30/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 888,316
  • File size: 632 KB

Meet the Author

Nancy Means Wright lives, writes, and teaches in the environs of Middlebury, Vermont. This is her eleventh book and her fifth mystery featuring Ruth Willmarth. Ruth is also the protagonist of the novella Fire and Ice, in Worldwide Library's anthology Crimes of Passion.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2005

    A Surprising Rural Mystery

    I have loved all Wright's Ruth Willmarth mysteries; her latest is no exception. Ruth Willmarth, a dairy farmer in rural Vermont, is strong, gusty and intuitive. Each of the mystery novels takes on an issue or two of particular interest to Vermont and, probably, other rural communities. This one tackles mad cow disease and its ramifications, based on a true incident involving sheep in central Vermont. Romantic readers will be pleased to know that Ruth and her long-time man friend, Colm, move a step further to a larger commitment. Another fascinating element in this book is the history and data on Irish travelers, new to this reader. Wright does her research and her characters are fascinating. A warning, however, the ending is quite a stunner. As Wright knows, Vermont is not all idyllic , not always the land of milk and honey.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer


    Nola is recovering from brain surgery in a Toronto hospital when her significant other Ritchie forces her to leave and go to Ruth Wilmarth¿s Upstate New York dairy farm to talk to his brother. Darren. Apparently Darren has left his Uncle Tormey¿s Tonawanda farm to work as a hired hand for the summer at Ruth¿s spread.................... Nola left the hospital without being released and a patient died there from Creutzfeldt Jekob disease, a form of mad cow disease that people can catch from infected food. The hospital wants Nola to return so they can test her, but she wants to get her son away from Tormey first. Darren, who is Colm¿s cousin and Ruth¿s lover, refuses to go back to his uncle¿s farm despite his brother¿s pleading. Ritchie turns violent even towards Nola, but soon is found dead. Everyone except Ruth thinks Nola killed him; Ruth, though she has problems with the USDA confiscating her herd, tries to prove Nola is innocent although her lover Colm is on the police force and convinced Nola killed Ritchie.......................... Torney is a first class villain who has terrorized Nola, Ritchie, and Darren using an inheritance as a lever to control the trio. When they revolt, he becomes angry and unstable and there is no telling what he will do. Ruth is furious with Tormey because he sold her claves that might have mad cow disease. There are plenty of folks with a motive to kill Torney, but fans will keep reading to learn who performed the deed........................... Harriet Klausner

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