"All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality -- the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape."
--Author Christopher Benson



Thursday, February 3, 2011

Candy Holliday Murder Mysteries by B.B. Haywood

Cover Illustration by Teresa Fasolino
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
A Division of Penguin Publishing
1st book In The Series
  • ISBN-10: 0425232654
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425232651
  • Welcome to the wonderful coast of Maine and to Cape Willington. Candy Holliday has left the rat race of the big city of Boston to come to Maine to work with her Dad on his Blueberry Farm. But even in the small town of Cape Willington, bad things happen. Bad things like murder and not just one murder but two murders back-to back.  
  • An aging local hero takes a plunge off a cliff and the just crowned Blueberry Queen/Gossip Columnist is killed right in her own home.  
  • When a local handyman, Candy's friend, and local town resident who treats his tools better than some people treat their children is accused of the murders, Candy can't help herself from getting involved and starts to investigate to clear her friend's name. The more clues she uncovers, the more secrets that come out, the more people she talks to, the stickier things become.  Can Candy get this town out of it's "blueberry jam"?

Cover Illustration by Teresa Fasolino
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
A Division of Penguin Publishing
2nd book In The Series
  • ISBN-10: 0425240010
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425240014
In the second trip to Cape Willington, we arrive just in time for the Lobster Stew Cook-off. Competition has always been stiff and for years the very same recipe always won the cook-off, but both those residents, that shared that recipe, have retired from the contest and become judges for the contest.

That is until one of them, Mr. Sedley, disappears and can't be found, the guest judge can't make it, and the other judge, Wilma Mae Wendell, faints at the start of the judging.  Candy is asked to step in for the judge who disappeared, a friend of the newspaper editor is asked to fill in for the guest judge. Oh I forgot to mention, that recipe that won for so many years, the recipe that was hidden away in a secret place at Wilma Mae Wendell's house, has been stolen.  So now there are only 2 judges deciding the winner.  The judge that would have recognized her stolen recipe is out of commission, lying down recovering from whatever shock made her faint just before the judging started.

Candy is sure something fishy is going on, especially when the guest judge disagrees so vehemently about the actual winners.  Candy who took over the Gossip Column vacated in the last book when that reporter was murdered, has learned quite a bit about reporting the news.  Those instincts seem to kick in.  Candy may end up in some hot water but she is going to boil down the clues to figure out who stole that Lobster Stew recipe and where in the devil is Mr. Sedley.

I enjoyed both of this books from the first page to the last. It took awhile to learn Candy's back story but she really has turned out to be feisty and fun.  I felt for her Dad with his issues have how hard farming is and that he admitted to his daughter that he needed her help. Candy's friend Maggie definitely brings in the comic relief needed in this genre.  The most important part to this reviewer was that the mysteries in both books were plausible and were well thought out. These books are very well written with flawless continuity which I always worry about when two writers are writing one book.  I seem to read a lot of books set in the state of Maine, it seems to be a popular spot for cozy mystery writers to set their stories. The Candy Holiday Mysteries do take on a unique idea focused around yearly events taking place is the fictional town of Cape Willington.  It will be interesting to see what major town event the authors draw upon for the next book in this entertaining series.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the second book free from Berkley Prime Crime,  a Division of Penguin Publishing. The first book was from my own collection. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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1 comment:

Steve Capell said...

Both of these cozy mysteries sound outstanding. I don't believe that I have read any books from Maine ... maybe it's time I do! GREAT review.