Cover image for Till the cows come home
Till the cows come home
Clemens, Judy.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Scottsdale, AZ : Poisoned Pen Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
288 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


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Stella Crown works hard and loves her life. She runs her own Pennsylvania dairy farm with the trusted help of longtime farmhand Howie who stuck with her after her parents died. She rides her Harley on the weekends, and has just enough friends to suit her fiercely independent nature.But on her 29th birthday, things start to change. A local child dies from a strange and threatening illness, a string of mysterious disasters place Stella and her farm in peril, and her childhood friend Abe shows up with a new woman on his arm. It seems like bad luck run amok, but when her livestock begins turning up dead, Stella knows that something, or someone, is out to get her.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

She's smart. She's tough. She's sexy. She's a dairy farmer? However incongruous Stella Crown's occupation may seem in conjunction with her attributes, Clemens makes her not only believable but admirable. Left alone when her parents died, Stella runs the family's Pennsylvania dairy farm with help from her hired hand and second father, Howie. It's a hard life, and Clemens' vivid portrayal of the lot of the small farmer is eye-opening and disturbing. But Stella's troubles go beyond the everyday when it becomes clear that someone is sabotaging her. And, even more seriously, children are falling ill with a strange virus--one young boy is already dead. Stella deals with dead cows, arson, a missing dog, and a sick young farmhand while also attempting to sort out her love life. Alternately a Harley-riding, tough farm girl and a kindhearted, vulnerable woman, Stella makes an endearing heroine in a promising first novel. --Jenny McLarin Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in Pennsylvania dairy farm country, newcomer Clemens's absorbing mystery thriller explores the impact of runaway development and loss of agricultural land on farmers such as her engaging heroine, motorcycle-riding, 29-year-old Stella Crown. The story opens with the aftermath of a calving as graphic as any similar scene in James Herriott's All Creatures Great and Small: "I tried to wipe the blood off my face, but my gloves were too messy... I looked down at my boots and they were hidden beneath birth muck and manure." This sets the tone for a series of menacing incidents-a leaking hole in a manure pit, a dead cow, a missing dog, a flooded barn-that spell trouble for Stella and others in her rural community. Worst of all is a mysterious illness afflicting children. The author excels at drawing true-to-life characters, including Howie, Stella's family farmhand of 20 years; Zach, her 14-year-old helper; Carla, the veterinarian who sews up the cow that delivers the calf; and her fellow bikers. An attractive barn painter and an old beau provide some romantic conflict, while a suave developer makes a splendid villain. (Apr. 26) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Stella Crown runs the family dairy farm with alone farmhand Howie to help her. Together they stave off rapacious developers who have been buying up land near Philadelphia-but at the expense of Stella's social life. Just about the time a particularly obnoxious developer is again rejected, things begin to go wrong: someone sabotages the manure lagoon, a cow is purposely killed, the electricity is tampered with, and so forth. In addition, two neighboring children have died from a mysterious, flulike disease. Stella, full of foreboding, retaliates. Talented first-timer Clemens's solid, commendable prose, in-depth characterization, and sympathetic subject matter make this a good choice for regional and larger mystery collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.