Assaulted Caramel
Amanda Flower     

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: An Amish Candy Shop Mystery
Book: 1

Sometimes you need a sweet tooth to take a bite out of crime . . .

Bailey King is living the sweet life as assistant chocolatier at world-famous JP Chocolates in New York City. But just when Bailey’s up for a life-changing promotion, her grandmother calls with news that her grandfather’s heart condition has worsened. Bailey rushes to Harvest, Ohio, where her grandparents still run Swissmen Sweets, the Amish candy shop where she was first introduced to delicious fudge, truffles, and other assorted delights.

She finds her grandfather is doing better than she feared. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for a local Englisch developer, whom Bailey finds dead in the candy shop kitchen—with Jebediah King’s chocolate knife buried in his chest. Now the police are sweet on her grandfather as the prime suspect. Despite the sincere efforts of a yummy deputy with chocolate-brown eyes, Bailey takes it on herself to clear Jebediah. But as a cunning killer tries to fudge the truth, Bailey may be headed straight into a whole batch of trouble . . .

Recipe Included!

Bailey King is on the fast-track for a prestigious job as the chocolatier at JP Chocolates in New York City. She’s days away from the learning if she received the anticipated promotion when she must rush to her grandparents’ home of Harvest, Ohio. Her grandfather is very ill and Bailey wants to visit him as well as offer support to her grandmother. Bailey ends up helping out with their family business, Swissmen Sweets, the Amish candy shop where Bailey first learned about all types of chocolate candies. Just when Bailey thinks she can return to New York, her beloved grandfather becomes the main suspect in the death of a greedy land developer. In spite of what it could cost her, Bailey cannot leave her grandparents to face this alone and is determined to stay in Harvest to find the real murderer and prove Jebediah’s innocence.

Assaulted Caramel is the first in a new series by Amanda Flower, who also writes cozies under the name of Isabella Alan. The book has a familiar plot in which a young woman living in a large city returns to a small town to help with a family business. Flowers is able to give this familiar storyline a little bit of a twist. Bailey returns to check on the health of her grandfather and only gets involved with their business when an overbearing mother of a bride insists on going forward with the wedding and demands the promised desserts from Swissmen Sweets, in spite of the fact the shop is a crime scene and the victim is the groom’s father! Also adding a fresh take is the fact that Bailey’s grandparents are Amish. Bailey’s father had left Amish life so Bailey isn’t Amish, but respects their ways, which the reader learns a little bit about as the story progresses.

I admire Bailey’s kindness and love for her family. However, even though she cares for others, she isn’t afraid to stand up for herself or her family when the situation calls for it, such as dealing with noisy neighbors, pushy bosses, or difficult boyfriends. I like her friend Cass who is a true New Yorker, but somehow is able to fit in with Bailey’s family and new friends in Ohio while she visits. I like the way the murder investigation is resolved logically, but entertaining the reader as many secrets come out. The book’s ending has touches of both sadness and joy. I appreciate how the author is able to create interest in the next book in the series without leaving the reader hanging with an unresolved subplot. I enjoyed this fast and fun-to-read book and look forward to the next in the series. Readers who enjoy the Amish stories written by Laura Bradford or Marta Perry will be delighted by Assaulted Caramel.

~ Christine