Pros: Fun characters and a strong plot
Cons: Issues early on that could easily have been me
The Bottom Line:
Grumpy neighbor killed
Cozy Capers on the case
Fun return visit
Bad Neighbors Become Murder Victims
I loved the first book in Maddie Day’s Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery series, so I was looking forward to visiting the gang again in Murder at the Taffy Shop. Fortunately, I really enjoyed this return visit.
If you missed the first, it features a group of friends who live on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. They meet together weekly to discuss a different cozy mystery. Naturally, they use the knowledge they gain from their books to jump in when they find murder hitting close to home.
Our main character in the series is Mac Almeida who owns a bike rental shop. When visiting her parents, who live just down the street in her town of Westham, she encounters Beverly Ruchart, their neighbor. Beverly is always complaining about something, be it the local soup kitchen or Mac’s parents’ puppy.
Mac goes walking every morning with her friend Gin, who owns the town’s salt water taffy shop. When Mac goes to meet up with her two days later, she finds Gin crouched over Beverly’s dead body. When the police begin to suspect that Gin had something to do with the death, the Cozy Capers jump into action to clear one of their own. But can Mac piece together the clues everyone is finding?
There are a lot of characters in this series. The members of the Cozy Capers don’t get equal page time, but as each pop on the page, we do get reminders of who they are, which helps us keep them straight. With a group this large, I’m sure we’ll get to know them all as the series progresses and different books give each a chance to shine. I did miss some of their conversations about mysteries in real life versus fiction we got in the first book, but that’s a minor complaint.
I also had trouble keeping the suspects and their relationship to the victim and each other straight near the beginning of the book. I have a feeling that is on me – I was a little distracted by life as I started reading. However, as the book went along, I was able to get that all straight in my mind. The suspects are strong characters once we get to know them.
The plot was definitely strong. It’s obvious early who the victim will be, and the book spends just enough time to introduce us to her and a couple of suspects before the murder takes place. While a universally despised victim gives us plenty of suspects, I appreciated that Mac’s investigation led her to a few people who did like Beverly. The ending was a bit abrupt, but things made sense.
I have to give a special shout out to Mac’s pet. No, she doesn’t have a typical cozy pet but an African Gray parrot named Belle. Belle has a couple of scenes that made me laugh out loud.
Since Mac and her friends love cozy mysteries, we get to see the occasional reference to an author I recognize. I always enjoyed those nods.
As an extra, we get five recipes for everything from an adult drink to a twist on bear claws. There is something to everyone to enjoy after you’ve finished reading the book.
Murder at the Taffy Shop is a great return visit to these fun characters. If you enjoy cozy mysteries, you’ll enjoy solving one along with characters who love them as much as you do.
NOTE: Like the first in the series, this book is a Barnes and Noble exclusive release for the first year. Links currently take you to bn.com. In 2021, it will be available from all retailers in all formats.
NOTE 2: I received an ARC of this book.