The Book of Candlelight (Secret, Book, & Scone Society, #3)
by Ellery Adams
This is a series that continues to grow as it goes on. I don’t mean character or plot development (there’s plenty of that) what I mean is each book is more intricate and surprising than the last. I was just commenting on the r/CozyMystery reddit that I thought cozy mysteries were evolving to focus more on the “feeling” of a cozy and leaving out the “mystery” part of a cozy. That is, it seems like a lot of cozy mysteries are just chick lit with a predictable murder plot thrown in as an afterthought and to me, that’s not a true cozy mystery. While Chick Lit has its place, and I’m not knocking it, I read cozy mysteries for the mystery not so much the cozy
This is probably the only series to blow that assumption out of the water. True, there’s a lot of “chick lit-y” type stuff in these – women’s issues, the tight bond of close girl friends and the power and strength of women. But what this series gets right is the powerful plots that dominate the story, keeping the reader in the dark until the last page. While this doesn’t sound like something extraordinary, let me tell you, as someone who primarily reads cozy mysteries; it is extraordinary.
Take this book; Nora is at the flea market picking up new knickknacks to use in her book shop when she buys a bowl from a local Cherokee artisan potter named Danny. Nora is struck by the obvious love Danny and his wife share, as well as the beautiful work he creates. When Danny is found dead in an overflowing creek, Nora puts the Secret, Book and Scone Society on the case. So while putting her heart and soul into finding out who killed Danny, Nora also puts her energies into helping Danny’s grieving widow, who is pregnant with their child. Along the way, Nora puts her heart to work to help a man suffering from a long-term ailment who has come to Miracle Springs in the hopes of finding healing, plus consoling and empowering her friends who are dealing with their own crises.
While it sounds like there’s a lot going on, this book (and this series for that matter) does a great job of blending the lives and personalities of the women with a taut, intricate mystery and the beautiful pacing slowly winds you into the world of Miracle Springs until you find yourself unable to put it down. The end result is a wickedly complex and tangled web of a story that traps you in its pages.
Spoiler: Highlight the space belowThe only knock I have against this book (well, it’s not much of one) is the plot of June’s son was never really resolved as to why exactly he targeted the others. I could understand why he targeted June because he was angry with her, but why target the others? How did he even know about them? Why would he think they needed to be targeted? Didn’t make any sense to me, I’d have appreciated more depth to that. Perhaps it’ll come up in future books, I don’t know. But I thought it was weird
Also, I’m 3 books into this series and it wasn’t until this one that I realized my “mental image” of Nora was wrong. I had her visualized as a small, skinny waif like woman with short dark hair, so I was shook when she “put her blond hair into French braids” like WHOA, seriously? So wrong.
Also, this series is available on Prime Reading so if you have Amazon Prime and a Kindle or a Kindle App, GO GET IT!
Published January 28th 2020 by Kensington Books