Pros: Strong characters and great plot
The Bottom Line:
Strongest in series
Elements come together
For a great cozy
This Book is Goody Goody
There are some series I keep coming back to despite some flaws, and Sammi Carter's Candy Shop Mysteries are one of them. I just love the characters and have to see what is happening with them. I enjoy the books overall, but I have found the endings weak in the first three in the series. That certainly isn't the case here. Goody Goody Gunshots is the fourth in the series and by far the best book to date.
The series is set in the town of
Abby Shaw runs Divinity, a candy store located in the heart of this touristy
resort town, kept alive by the winter skiers. She inherited the shop two years
ago much to the dismay of several cousins who thought they should get it
instead. But she is determined to make it work.
One night while driving back from her brother's house, Abby witnesses a murder. She hears the gunshots and sees the man go down. Freaked, she leaves the area and calls the police. But when they return, there is no body and no sign of blood on the ground.
Over the next few days, no body turns up, and Abby is beginning to wonder what is happening. But life goes on. She agrees to be the assistant coach for her nephews' basketball team. And she hires a second assistant for Divinity.
But then Abby spots the "murder victim" across a parking lot. Before she can confront him, he drives off. Soon, a car is following her and a very real corpse turns up. Is all this connected?
As I said earlier, I love the characters. Abby is a strong lead character. She is reserved around strangers and loses her temper quickly. But she is working hard on overcoming those flaws, something that is very evident here. Once she does warm up to someone, she cares deeply for them and does everything she can to help them, a trait I love. Her relationships with her family are realistic. Her brother and sister-in-law are equally strong characters. I found some of their interactions very realistic. The one cousin who does help Abby with the candy store, Karen, is equally strong. I love the police love interest, and the new clerk could grow into as interesting a character as everyone else.
The suspect characters created for this book feel like real people as well. A couple of them are a little shallow when you think about it, but that's not obvious when reading the book. It probably has to do with how much time they have on the page more than anything else.
The plot was wonderful. I had no clue what was going on most of the time. It wandered all over the place, giving me clues and red herrings like crazy. Only at the end does it all begin to make sense. My complaint with the other endings is that the solution seems to fall into Abby laps so the book gets wrapped up. Here, Abby actually figures most of it out on her own, and she asks the right questions to get the rest. The solution was logical and the climax was exciting.
The first person narration is smooth, making this an easy book to get through. And for the more ambitious, there are several candy recipes at the end that sound good.
As much as I love the characters, I will be back for the next book in the series. But I hope that Goody Goody Gunshots is the start of a trend to tighter endings that really satisfy.
And if you are looking for more sweet mysteries, here are the Candy Shop Mysteries in order.