Maple Syrup Mysteries #4 – 6

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Everything is on the up and up with Sugar wood, so Nikki decides to hire a photographer to get the website updated to increase business. However, during a tour, the photographer turns up dead and his girlfriend is missing. Nikki gets pulled into a new investigation. After meeting with the new Cheif of police, however, things get a little complicated as he doesn’t trust anyone in the town. She takes it as a challenge to find out who was the one who killed the budding artist.

I really enjoyed this book. The mystery was interesting and though it was a little hard to figure out who the killer until the very end, it was interesting. You have to wait until the very end to have enough evidence that actually points to anyone. The mystery was not a standard one for cozy mysteries, however, having the 2 stories hypothesis running parallel was interesting.

The character development was interesting in this book. The victim was really well developed in this book. We got to understand his motivations, and even get to understand his feelings towards his girlfriend. The funny thing is that the girlfriend isn’t nearly as well developed has the victim. Nikki and Mark work really well together in this book, and we even get to meet Mark’s mother in this book. Sadly it was a really quick scene as Nikki seems to always be getting herself in trouble.

I really love this book series, and it’s quickly becoming one of my favourites.

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Nikki’s mother decided to make a surprise visit to town, and things are off to a rough start. When some blood is found in the bathroom of the room adjacent to her mothers, Nikki gets pulled into another case. The chief of police reaches out to Nikki, and due to half of the department being out sick, he pulls her in on the case. She gets her mother cleared to help her with this case. Nikki can finally show her mother that she’s been doing just fine since her move to Fair Haven.

This mystery was interesting and nuanced. I really enjoyed the background to the murder victims as well as the murderer. You can actually feel for the murderer and their motivations. This is the first book in this series that actually makes you feel for the murderer and relate to them. The method of working the case was interesting, and I loved how the most important piece of evidence was provided by the murderer themselves.

We finally get to meet Nikki’s mother in this book, and we get to see Mark’s mother more in this book. The dynamic between the two mothers is really interesting. Though they both seem to want the best for the couple, they have very different ideas of what would be best. Nikki also gets to have a very important conversation with her mother in regards to her future and the issues that come with being a defence lawyer. I felt like Nikki really grew in this book, and we got to explore more of what makes her tick as a character and what she wants in the future. Mark and Nikki’s relationship also grew in this book, and they became closer as a couple.

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Nikki and Mark get to Washington to not only to check out the potential new job but also catching up with her friends. However, when something is obviously up with her best friend, Ahanti, Nikki get’s worried. Mark doesn’t even bat an eyelash when she decides to help. However, things get a little more confusing when Ahanti’s old boss is found dead. Now, Nikki must also walk back into her role as a lawyer to help out her friend.

This mystery was interesting but actually really easy to figure out. At more than one point I wanted to shake the characters and ask them why they were putting the victim in dangerous situations several times. I did enjoy them diving into Ahanti’s story and background. Though the mystery was straightforward, it was still really interesting.

We actually got to learn a lot about Nikki’s life before Fair Haven. We find out about her friends and family life. I do enjoy getting more background information to Bekki. We also get to see the dynamic in her family. She get’s a very interesting relationship with her father. The last book really helped Nikki and her mother’s relationship grow and heal. Nikki has also grown during her time in Fair Haven. She can finally see her parents trying to help her and not meddle with her life.

The version I read did have a fair number of typos in it, so just been warned.

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Maple Syrup Mysteries 1 – 3

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Nicole Fitzhenry-Dawes is always trying to catch up with her family of overachievers. However, when her uncle dies, she’s the only one who was willing to come over to Michigan and settle his affairs. However, when she was informed that she was bequeathed his sugar bush, she has the choice to leave her life as a lawyer behind and become a Maple syrup farmer. When some questions about her uncle’s death pop up, she decides to stick around for a little while.

The mystery as very interesting, and not really something that I’ve seen before. This was the first book that I’ve read from James, and I will say that she has a very good writing style. She uses the style to make you want to look where she wants you to look. I did have a guess to the murderer was, however, it was later on in the book. I really enjoyed the way that the mystery flowed and the information was provided.

This book has a lot of character introductions as well as town building. We get to a really good understanding of the murder victims as well as all of the characters in this book. The only thing that I don’t understand is that Nikki is so blind to the obvious clue that as mentioned at the beginning of the book. I’m sure it was put in the book on purpose, but I think it was more annoying than anything else. We have to watch Nikki make everything more complicated because she doesn’t know Mark’s “secret”. Hopefully, it is resolved later in the season.

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Caught in a snowstorm on her back into Fair Haven, Nikki ends up hitting a person. By the next morning, they realized that she wasn’t what caused for the victim’s death. She is quickly working with the police to try and figure out who would want to kill such a nice man. She also has to figure out what else is going in with the shelter, because things are just not adding up.

The mystery was very interesting and had some subtle nuances throughout the book. The mystery was fairly straightforward, however, it does deal with a storyline that is not normal in the cozy mystery genre. When dealing with a mystery in an animal shelter, the natural jump is to dog fights. This was the case in this book, however, it was handled perfectly and gave information about laws that would surround that issue.

They still haven’t revealed Mark’s “secret” in this book and this is getting really really annoying. I know, I know, it’s only the second books but it’s obvious that they are going to get together in the later books. Thankfully they already removed the love triangle that is normal in these books. I did enjoy the growth in the relationship between Nikki and Erik in this book. They have started becoming really good friends. I just really want the relationship between Nikki and Mark to just be ironed out.

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Nikki is finally in the full swing of things at the farm. However, when one of her employees has an accident, Nikki is pretty sure that something else is going on. Though she can’t convince the police to investigate, she takes matters into her own hands.  However, the more that she digs into the case, the more she thinks something is going on past a simple attack.

The mystery was really interesting, however, it felt like it was more running around trying to get the police to take on the case. I understand what was going on at the police station, however, it was a little much. There were obvious clues really early on to who the attacker is. Though James does try and focus our attention on another character throughout the book.

There was a nice throwback, however, it was only to the previous books. We ended up working with a character from the previous book, however, we didn’t really get to find out much about their past. The mystery did get Mark and Nikki closer and eventually together. Thankfully is open secret has been revealed to Nikki. I am so happy that it was taken care of, I think that was the most annoying thing in the book. We do get to find out more about Mark’s past as well as Nikki. We also now know why she had such a negative reaction when she saw Mark’s wedding ring.

Finally, this is a book that I really enjoyed.

I really enjoyed the book and I’m glad I picked up this book series.

Pistachio Lemon Glazed Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #12) + Candied Maple Bacon Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #13)

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When Heather finds out that her grandmother’s cook book has been stolen, she has her sights on one man, Geoff. But when she goes to confront her competitor about the stolen cook book she finds Jelly Polinski dead in his kitchen. After her Cook book is found in her possession, Heather finds out that she is the prime suspect… again. While trying to clear her name, Heather tries to figure out who would have wanted to strangle Jelly to death.

Heather is back to the snooping. Though she still studying in this book for her PI’s license, Ryan gives her the go ahead to investigates as he’s been forced to take a back set. Detective Davidson is a character that I just don’t like. He comes out of nowhere and is built to have a very abrasiveness. I understand the need to have another detective to investigate Heather, but he’s weird. With out much of a back story he doesn’t fit into the story very well. Other then that, I enjoy the little sleuthing that Amy and Heather do in this books. I feel like it’s a little weird that Ryan was so ok with it, but I’ve come to terms with the yo-yo in the character’s personalities. It’s a nice light read and a good continuation of the series.

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Heather gets a frantic phone call from Honey, the dancer she became friends with on a previous case. Once she’s found dead on Heather’s doorstep, she is filled with the need to find out who killed her. With Amy’s boyfriend, Kent, as a suspect due to his history with Honey. The worst thing is that Detective Davidson is not making the investigation easy, going after all the wrong leads.

Though Geoff was a little odd in the previous book, in this book, he ramps it up. With his doughnut shop open, he tries to get people to ditch Donut Delight. Though he doesn’t currently have anything to do with the story, I have a feeling he might. With Honey being the murder victim we do get to learn more about Kent’s background. Amy’s and Kent’s relationship is more in the forefront of this book rather than Heather’s. I enjoyed that because we got to see what makes Amy and Kent tick.

One thing I found odd is that Detective Davidson is still there. I don’t particularly like that character but I felt that his character was simply added to make Ryan frustrated because he can’t pursue the leads he wants to. I don’t know if this is going to lead into a larger overarching plot or he’s just a character added to be annoying.


Rhubarb Frosted Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #10) + Chocolate Revolution Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #11)
Cinnamon Nut Crunch Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #14) + Chocolate Crunch Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #15)

Maple Frosted Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #2)

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This is not the this isn’t the first time that Heather is the prime suspect in a murder case. But when the owner of a corporate doughnut shop is found dead the day after they had a public dispute, Heather is back in the hot seat. Though Ryan, a local cop, doesn’t actually believe that she did it, he still has to do his do diligence. Heather is back, figuring out who killed the man and clear her name… again.

This book feels very similar to the previous one. There is a little more depth given to the characters. I feel like Ryan’s personality might have flipped a little too quickly in regards to the books but if you remember that there are several months between the 1st book and the 2nd book it can be understood, we just don’t get to see it. Because the books are so short, and maybe because of Heather’s character, there isn’t much in the way of clues to follow to deduce the killers. Unlike other amateur sleuth novels, she’s not really looking into the case rather; everything is just falling into her lap. It’s still short and fun enough to read but don’t go in expecting anything highbrow.


Strawberry Cream Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #1)
Cadbury Creme Murder (Donut Hole Mystery #3)