Candy, Murder & Me - Carolyn Chambers Clark, Anthony Auriemma
Kindle - Ebook
* I reviewed this book as part of Indie of the Month. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions are my own.*
CANDY, MURDER, AND ME is an 80,000-word cozy mystery set in Florida, in and around a dress design company, which co-stars Sigmund Freud, a psychoanalyst dachshund.
When full-figure dress designer and candy addict Cookie Berelli discovers the PI she hired to clear her of embezzlement charges dead in her design studio, she investigates, to wacky results. For example, is Eugene Gemstone involved? After all, he is her number one fabric cutter at Florida Fashions, and he did start acting overemotional after he wore one of the dresses she designed into the ladies’ room at Chez Riso and got arrested. He's especially suspect now that he's disappeared with all of Cookie's candy stash. Then again, it could be that cute PI, Andy Shea, who shows up at the funeral of her dead PI, and makes her hear the love song from GONE WITH THE WIND in her head, or it could be just about anyone else on the planet.
Everyone's starting to look suspicious now, especially Yuri Yarutski, who owns a sports bar in the bad part of town and wants to go a few rounds with Cookie, the woman who lives in a tree (who in Florida can live withoutair conditioning?), and even Bernadette Humphreys of Bernie's Tattoos who comes up with the weirdest body art. Okay, yes, Cookie did find the body, in fact two of them,and so she has to clear herself, but does that mean the murderer has to go after her?
Recipes from her Norwegian and Italian heritage including Grandma Berelli’s Pralines (“Worth going to jail for”), Cookie’s Maple Candies (“So good they’re criminal”), and
Nana’s Kringlas (“To kill for” - ), among others, are available throughout the story to break up the mayhem.
I don't think I have ever ate so much candy while reading a book before. Good thing it was after Halloween so I had a stash to raid on hand. Candy aside, I honestly had fun reading this book. It is fast paced and crazy. At certain points I was even hearing the boss's voice from Charlie's Angels, (the old series from back in the day), which I thought was hilarious. I love candy and I am slightly crazy sometimes, (shut up wise children of mine or Santa will not stop by), my boots must match my dress and accessories must match my jacket and clothes, (honey please stop mumbling about money, fashion and this is Alaska while I'm writing my blog. You know you like how cute I look. Besides everything was on sale. Really.), so I could relate well to Cookie. She was hands down my favorite character in the book. I could imagine so many good times with her. I could see us sitting in the back seat of a cop car, looking at each other and asking , at the same time, 'what's your plan now?'.
There is a fair amount of violence in the book but nothing too graphic. It is a murder mystery so some violence is to be expected. There was no heavy sex scenes even though there is a possibility of romance. No bad language so it is perfect for those who wish to read without language issues. We meet Cookie's family and I really loved the strong bond presented there.
Cookie and Rhonda made a nice pairing. I could see Joey, (Cookie's brother), hooking up with Rhonda and PI Andy hooking up with Cookie. I hope there are future books with the four of them keeping open the business and getting into some zany predicaments.
The mystery itself was not too bad. It did seem slightly tangled as there were other issues going on. I would hope that the main mystery is just a bit cleaner next time. I was confused at the ending the first time I read it. I got it after reading through a second time. I did like that there were a few cases Sam was investigating when he died. It left more suspects and seemed more like an agency than it would have if Cookie's case was the only one. I liked that they were solved along the way and not just mentioned and dropped. I hate when that happens.
There are recipes scattered throughout the book. I liked that they were spread throughout the book, appearing wherever they were mentioned in the story. The one thing I would ask the authors to do is add an index with the titles of recipes and location of the recipe listed. I made the Cajun Chicken and it was great! However it is time consuming to go back and find the recipes I want to make.
Overall rating of this is 4 stars from me. I had fun reading it and that was the whole point. It moves fast and is not to lengthy. Just be sure to stock up on some mixed candy before starting it or you will be looking for some.
Other books by Carolyn include, (this is not a complete list):
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