Town in a Sweet Pickle (Candy Holliday)
by B.B. Haywood
Review by Gayle Surrette
Berkley Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425252635
Date: 03 February 2015 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Candy Holliday and her father, Henry "Doc" Holliday, own and operate a blueberry farm in Cape Willington, Maine. Candy also works as the interim managing editor of the local newspaper, "The Cape Crier", which is celebrating its 200th anniversary with a special issue and sponsoring some events, including a cooking contest focused on amateur cooks.
The cooking contest has been a lot of work for Candy and the newspaper's Community Correspondent, Wanda Boyle. They've arranged for local business sponsors and for a few community leaders to judge the food. They're even bringing in a cookbook author, Julia von Fleming, who specializes in New England recipes. Things were looking like they were under control until the day of the contest.
A jar of pickles labeled "Sweet Pickle Deli" showed up on the pickled foods table. It was obviously not supposed to be there, but the judges were interested in tasting them because the deli was known for its fabulous pickles and it had gone out of business years ago. But before the judges could taste them, one of Doc's friends, who'd snuck a few pickles earlier, got violently ill. The reports starting coming in. More Sweet Pickle Deli jars had been showing up, and those who ate them either got very ill or died.
Once again Candy was in the middle of a murder investigation. Chief Durr was not amused and warned her to stay out of the case. But curious by nature and with a news reporter's instincts on alert, Candy couldn't help but ask questions and started to put the clues together.
This is another interesting entry in the series. If you haven't read any of the previous books, there's enough backstory to fill you in without bogging down the narrative. Candy is a likeable character and, while you might think she'd learn to be more cautious after the danger she's faced in previous investigations, she still manages to find herself trusting the wrong people. Readers may solve the mystery before Candy, but the town, the setting, and the community, along with a few twists and red herrings keep things interesting.