Sunday, April 7, 2013

Book Review: Peppermint Twisted by Sammi Carter (Candy Shop Mysteries #3)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great characters, engaging plot
Cons: Weak ending
The Bottom Line:
Great plot, characters
Let down by weakish ending
Still enjoyable

Another Twisty Mystery

It's been a year and a half since the second book in the Candy Shop Mysteries came out. As a result, I had forgotten much about these characters when I picked up Peppermint Twisted. It was only a matter of pages before I was back up to speed, however. And it was a pleasure to be reintroduced to Abby Shaw. Abby inherited Divinity, a candy shop in the small town of Paradise, Colorado, from her aunt. It's a struggle, but Abby is making it work one day at a time.

Paradise is gearing up for the annual arts festival. It's just weeks away. Since Abby is the co-chair of the event, it is keeping her very busy. But things really heat up when Meena Driggs is replaced as chair by Felicity Asbury. Not only is Meena well loved and extremely competent, but Felicity is reviled, mostly because she has used her money to throw her weight around her entire adult life. And her first pronouncements do nothing to make the tense situation better.

The next morning, Abby awakes to discover a car in her parking lot. Investigating further, she finds Felicity stabbed with an awl. Because of her involvement with the festival and the location of Felicity's body, Abby feels the immediate scrutiny of the police and the town. While she has no desire to get involved, she begins to feel she has to in order to save her reputation and keep herself out of jail. Since Felicity had no friends, the list of suspects includes her own sister and her estranged daughter and granddaughter. But who was fed up with the woman enough to kill her?

As I said earlier, it truly is wonderful to check in with these characters again. Abby is a strong lead with a bit of a short fuse. I love her. Granted, I occasionally felt like she was overreacting to something, but it seemed within character for her. And she really seems to be growing and changing before our eyes. There are several series characters who appear as well, and it was nice to see them again. Well, most of them. In an on going storyline, Abby is still fighting with her cousin Bea who thinks she should have inherited Divinity instead of Abby. I am thankful this situation wasn't resolved in one or two books since it makes things so much more realistic. Naturally, the book introduced a whole new crop of characters as suspects, and they were all very real as well.

As with the previous books, the story was strong with plenty of suspects and false trails. I couldn't wait to see just what would happen next. I have always felt the weakness of this series was the climax and wrap up, and unfortunately I felt the same way with this book. Don't get me wrong, the ending was logical and I was leaning in that direction myself. But Abby was fairly stupid in the last few pages, which drives me crazy. And I really wish a couple comments from the last few pages had been elaborated further. They left me with a couple minor questions.

The writing is very good in the book. The first person narration drew me in and made it easy to watch the pages fly by. There are four new candy recipes at the back of the book, two of them peppermint themed.

Abby's fans will be quite happy to welcome her back into their lives. Here's hoping we don't have to wait nearly as long for Abby's next case as we waited for Peppermint Twisted.

And if you want to read more, here are the Candy Shop Mysteries in order.

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