Publishing Info: February 2, 2010 by Penguin
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: May 19, 2012
In the seaside village of Cape Willington, Maine, Candy Holliday has an idyllic life tending to the Blueberry Acres farm she runs with her father. But, when an aging playboy and the newly crowned Blueberry Queen are killed, Candy investigates to clear the name of a local handyman. And as she sorts through the town's juicy secrets, things start to get sticky indeed...
Breaking It Down Further: Small town Cape Willington, Maine is famous for its blueberries… And is starting to get famous for its murders. Starting with the suspicious death of town legend (professional swimmer) and playboy Jock Larson and following up with town gossip columnist and overall nuisance Sapphire Vine, rumors and accusations begin to fly. When local handyman Ray is accused and arrested of Sapphire’s murder, our girl Candy Holliday just knows he’s innocent – One thing leads to another and she’s on an unplanned but unstoppable mission to prove Ray’s innocence and free him from police captivity. When Candy starts unearthing all of the secrets that Sapphire had been holding, she begins to put the puzzle together about the killer… and put her life in jeopardy.
You know, I really enjoyed this little story. It’s the first book I’ve read that’s set in Maine (a place I so desperately want to visit — Heard it’s just gorgeous there!) and despite some super cheesy names like Candy Holliday (nicknamed ‘pumpkin’ by her dad – both names because she was born on Halloween), Sapphire Vine, and Jonathan “Jock” Larson (why do they always have cheesy names in these cozy mysteries? If I weren’t so sucked in to these kinds of books, I might actually be really annoyed!), I thought this book was a lot of fun! I really liked Candy’s character a lot. We didn’t really get too into her past, but we do know that she gave up her old life after many hardships and came to live with her dad “Doc” Holliday (another name… sheesh, guys) on the blueberry farm in SE Maine. I really liked her switch from business exec to blueberry farmer. Unlike a couple other cozies who have tried to make this transition, Candy has already fully come over to the rural side of life and we weren’t bothered by the awkwardness of having her feel like an outsider or someone who hasn’t found her place. Instead, it was quite natural to be in the rural Maine setting and I found the town and other characters in the town quite pleasant!
That being said, I will say that I’m getting a little tired of so many cozies using a “slow” character (mentally) as a common scapegoat for a crime. It’s happened in quite a few cozies that I’ve read recently (maybe it’s just the order I’ve happened to choose to read them in), but the reoccurrence among authors is getting a little old! Ray the handyman is the “slow” character in this book and of course gets blamed for a murder he didn’t commit, and this spurs on Candy’s investigation. I just found that story line a bit tiresome.
Other than that, I really did enjoy the mystery. I had guessed a couple of smaller puzzles that had come up throughout the book, but as for who the killer was, I was actually pretty surprised in the end. Glad they didn’t go for something too easy!
I liked it! It was a cute story, I really enjoyed Candy as the protagonist, and I certainly find myself looking forward to reading the next adventure.