TOWN IN A MAPLE MADNESS, the eighth book in the Candy Holliday Murder Mystery series by B.B. Haywood, starts off with a bang from the very first page! The author sets the stage, pulling you in, keeping you guessing and turning pages throughout the entire book. The protagonist, Candy Holliday, works part-time for the newspaper in Cape Willington, Maine. She also helps her father, Doc, with their blueberry farm when it’s in season, and helps other farmers in the area during their particular seasonal crop. The town is preparing for a new annual celebration, Maple Madness weekend, to be held in conjunction with the state’s Maine Maple Sunday… and yes, I researched and found out Maine really does hold a Maple Sunday celebration! Cape Willington will be holding demonstrations on how sugar maple sap becomes maple syrup along with many ways to use and eat maple syrup. I was astounded at the variety of food the author weaves into the book and I enjoyed the tidbits of information surrounding the maple syrup small farm industry sprinkled throughout the book.
The setting of Cape Willington is a quaint, close-knit town with a history of a long-standing feud between the two wealthiest families who settled the area. There is a mystery surrounding this feud with the thread running through the entire series, however, the books can all be read on their own without the reader getting lost. Being a Southern California gal, my mouth dropped open when I read that Candy thinks it’s almost balmy in late March as spring is arriving… and it’s only a touch above 40 degrees! I have come to the firm conclusion that it takes a hardy person to live and thrive in Maine, especially during winter and early spring. Between the low temperatures and the icy mucky mud the residents have to endure, I have a new found appreciation for people who choose to live there.
However, on the positive side, the residents do get to indulge in fresh maple syrup each season. B.B. Haywood provides plenty of recipes at the back of the book for using pure maple syrup and they all sound fabulous! Being a huge fan of cookies, I chose to make Melody’s Cafe’s Maple Drop Cookies. A generous amount of maple syrup along with maple extract provide the recognizable flavor to these cake-like cookies. I always have a stash of maple sugar in my pantry and sprinkled some on top of the cookies just before baking for added maple sweetness. This recipe makes a lot of small, bite-sized cookies, which are sure to bring a smile to all those you share with!
The imminent arrival of spring has the locals gearing up for their sweetest celebration ever—the first annual Maple Madness Weekend. Along with maple sugar house tours, a community-wide marshmallow roast, and a weekend-long pancake breakfast, restaurants will be serving up special maple syrup dishes. But the weekend festivities are put in jeopardy when things start to get sticky…
One of Candy’s friends is accused of stealing sap from a rival’s sugar maple trees, and landscaper Mick Rilke is found dead, floating down the river wrapped up in a fisherman’s net. As Candy taps into Mick’s life, his unsavory side comes to light, as well as a possible connection to both crimes. Now it’s up to Candy to follow the flow of suspects to a cold-blooded killer…
A huge thank you to B.B. Haywood for providing a print copy of TOWN IN A MAPLE MADNESS to one winner. Limited to U.S. residents only, please. Contest ends Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 11:59 pm PST. Please use the Rafflecopter box located below the recipe to enter. Winner will be announced on this page and on Cinnamon & Sugar’s Facebook page, as well as notified by email (so check your spam folder!)
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I received an advanced copy with the hopes I would review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.