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Monday, September 07, 2020

A Murder Mystery Set in an Amish Candy Shop? Sweet!

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Bailey King learned everything she knows about sweets from her beloved Amish grandparents, who run a candy shop in sleepy Harvest, Ohio.  Although she's poised to become New York City's next great chocolatier, when she learns her grandfather's heart condition is worsening, Bailey books it to Harvest.  The old man is doing better than expected, but that doesn't last long.  When the corpse of a real estate developer who was pressuring Bailey's grandfather to sell is found at Swissmen Sweets, the elderly candymaker becomes the prime suspect in the dead man's murder.  Bailey doesn't care how hot the local deputy is, she's not going to let anyone accuse her family of doing something so nefarious.  If the police aren't willing to search for the real killer, she will.  As she channels her inner Nancy Drew, Bailey discovers that while Harvest may look quaint and sweet, something very rotten is going on underneath its placid surface ...

I used to be a big hater when it came to cozy mysteries, but my heart has softened toward them considerably in the last few years.  Although I'm never going to find one that is realistic or Nobel Prize-worthy, I can appreciate what the genre does offer—quick, clean, entertaining reads that don't tax the brain or cause nightmares.  I'll take it!  I'm still choosy about the cozies I do read, so I'm always happy when I find a series that appeals to me.  Carla over at Carla Loves to Read raves about the Amish Candy Shop Mystery series by Amanda Flower, so I gave the series opener, Assaulted Caramel, a go.  The setting charmed me right off the bat, not just because it's warm and unique but also because Flower imbues her little town with some Amish/Englischer tension that I didn't expect.  That makes the community feel more authentic while adding some interesting conflict to the story.  There are some fun characters in Harvest, although Bailey and Deputy Brody could both use some fleshing out.  Plotwise, this isn't exactly a nail-biter and you'll probably see the killer coming, as I did, but the story is still engaging enough to keep the reader turning pages.  All in all, I found Assaulted Caramel to be a fun, easy, entertaining read.  I'll definitely continue on with the series.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of cozy mysteries by Ellie Alexander, Vivien Chien, and Kylie Logan)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for violence and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

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Reading

<i>Reading</i>
Homecoming by Kate Morton

Listening

<i>Listening</i>
The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King



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