Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Lethal Licorice: An Amish Candy Shop Mystery

Lethal Licorice by Amanda Flower is the second story in The Amish Candy Shop Mystery series.  Bailey King is now living in Harvest, Ohio and working at her grandparent’s candy shop Swissmen Sweets.  They are preparing for the Amish Confectionery Competition (ACC) where Bailey will take her deceased grandfather’s spot.  All items made for the competition can only be done the Amish way—no electrical appliances.  Josephine Weaver of Berlin Candies, though, is not happy with Bailey taking Jebediah’s spot since she is an Englischer, and she is not the only person who feels that way.  Just before the first round begins, Jethro, who is Juliet Brody’s polka dotted pig, disappears and she needs assistance in locating him.  Bailey goes into the church to search where Charlotte Weaver, a cousin, is playing the organ which sounds a little off.  Charlotte opens door to pipe area to see what could be the problem and screams.  Bailey peers inside to see a dead Josephine Weaver.  It is discovered that Josephine died from an allergic reaction to anise, and she had a piece of Swissmen Sweets licorice on her.  This puts Bailey on the suspect list which along with her natural curiosity makes it impossible for her not to investigate Josephine’s death.  Bailey must work in her sleuthing in between the rounds of the competition, looking for Jethro (he is still missing), manning the candy shop and offering Charlotte guidance on her future.  Will Swissmen Sweets win the competition?  Who killed Josephine Weaver?  Follow Bailey on her latest adventure in Lethal Licorice.

Lethal Licorice is written in a conversational writing style with a good pace which makes the story easy to read. I was drawn into Lethal Licorice immediately.  Lethal Licorice can be enjoyed without having read Assaulted Caramel.  Readers are given an abbreviated version of Bailey’s history and how she ended up in Harvest, Ohio.    The setting of Harvest, Ohio is brought to life thanks to Amanda Flower’s visual imagery.  There are a variety of characters in this series which I appreciate.  The characters are well-developed and relatable.  Jethro, the polka dotted pig, is a fun addition along with his owner, Juliet Brody (she is the quirky character in the story).  I like the chemistry (and interactions) between Bailey and Aiden Brody.   There is just the right touch of humor in the story. It is balanced with the seriousness of the murder and the intensity of the competition. The mystery is well crafted, and readers will be pondering the killer’s identity.  There are some good clues to aid in identifying the evildoer. Bailey, though, needs to work on her questioning technique (shape her questions differently and be subtler).  She is too blunt which is off-putting.  It turns off people because they feel like they are being accused of wrong doing.  There are tantalizing candy descriptions that will have you running out to purchase your favorite sweet treat (it had me craving my homemade peanut brittle). There was one scene that left me cringing.  There was a cat in the candy kitchen at Swissmen Sweets.  I hope the health inspector does not find out about it.   It was interesting to discover how various candies are made without the aid of modern technology.  Lethal Licorice is a feel-good cozy mystery.  It was pleasurable to read and when I finished reading it, I had a smile on my face.  Lethal Licorice is a cute and entertaining cozy mystery that will have you eager to read for Premeditated Peppermint (which will be out in September 2018).

Thank you for visiting.  I will be reviewing Raspberry Danish Murder by Joanne Fluke tomorrow.  It is the twenty-second book in A Hannah Swensen Mystery series.  May you day be filled with sunshine.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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