Candy Apple Dead, the first novel in the Candy Shop mystery series by Sammi Carter (the pseudonym of a popular mystery and romance author), features Abby Shaw, a 39-year-old attorney turned small-business owner trying to start over in Paradise, Colorado, after a messy divorce in California.
It's only been six months since Abby inherited the Divinity Candy Shop from her late aunt, and she's been working diligently to continue the confectionery company's success. She's also working hard to begin a new life -- without the unwanted complications of dishonest men. But when Brandon Mills, the "tall, dark and incredibly handsome" owner of a men's clothing store down the street, starts putting the moves on Abby, she agrees to have dinner with him. When he misses the date and is later found dead inside the smoking remains of his store, Abby vows to get to the bottom of the mystery -- especially after her ill-tempered older brother becomes the prime suspect!
Fans of amateur-sleuth series like Nancy Fairbanks's Culinary Mystery sequence and Cleo Coyle's Coffeehouse mysteries -- sagas that highlight recipes from plot-relevant dishes and beverages -- will enjoy the numerous candy recipes within. But the recipes are just the icing on the cake; Candy Apple Dead is powered by its endearing central character, Abby Shaw, a complex, realistic middle-aged woman dealing with complex, realistic middle-aged issues. A combination of Willy Wonka and Sara Paretsky's V. I. Warshawski, Abby Shaw is definitely a character to watch, one with plenty of room for growth -- and new mysteries to solve. Paul Goat Allen