Six Sweets Under
True Confections Mystery #1
By Sarah Fox
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Former actress Becca Ransom lived her dream in Hollywood for seven years before returning to her hometown of Larch Haven, Vermont. Known as the Venice of North America, Larch Haven has canals instead of roads, gondolas instead of cars, and charming cottages that look like they were plucked from the pages of a fairy tale. It’s also where Becca is pursuing her newest passion as a chocolatier at True Confections, the chocolate shop owned by her grandparents, Lolly and Pops.
While Becca’s testing new flavors and reconnecting with old friends, the town is gearing up for the annual Gondola Races, popular with both residents and tourists, with one exception. Local curmudgeon Archie Smith wants nothing more than to keep tourists away from Larch Haven. He’s determined to derail this year’s event and does his best to stir up trouble for the organizers, including Becca’s grandfather.
Following a heated argument with Pops, Archie is found floating face-down in the canal, and Pops finds himself in hot water as one of the top suspects. Becca’s determined to clear her grandfather’s name, but when the case heats up, she could be facing a sticky end. (From Goodreads)
This is an excellent first in Sarah Fox’s new series! I am captivated by this charming little “Venice of North America” with its canals and gondolas, and many of the cottages take us to the English countryside. I feel as if I already know a lot about Becca even while learning about her grandparents and her best friend, Dizzy. This reader enjoyed descriptions of the various sweet treats at True Confections, a family owned and operated candy store. I think I hear a couple of the treats calling me…and can feel the added weight just from reading descriptions of Becca’s creations.
After college, Becca was an actress in LA with regular roles on at least two different television shows. The time came in which the growing fame, money, and glamour couldn’t compete with her hometown of Larch Haven, Vermont, her friends, and family. Rebecca was ten when she began to learn to make bonbons, truffles, and other chocolates from her grandparents, who are now 80 and starting to retire. Her cousin, Angie, manages the office and the storefront, and Becca is now the chocolatier. Other family members help in the shop, as does Becca during the busiest times. She loves her life here and even though she misses her boyfriend, Justin, an entertainment industry attorney, he is arriving in a couple days for a visit and to consider moving there.
Pops, Becca’s grandfather, had gotten into a loud disagreement with Archie, the crusty, 60-something neighbor who was not well-liked around the village. Pops, who rarely raises his voice for any reason, had caught Archie slipping in amongst the boats at the Boat Barn, and Archie took exception to being turned in, as well as the accusation of having stolen Pop’s vintage scooter. The gondola race was due to begin, and Pops didn’t want Archie to damage any of the gondolas or sabotage the races in any way. Archie tried to slug Pops, twenty years his senior, so Becca got in between the two. Just before Archie slugged her, Sawyer, a police officer that she had known from the time they were children, dragged Archie away before his fist made contact with her face.
Several days later, Archie’s body was found floating in a canal. He had suffered a head injury before landing in the canal. Pops was the last person he was seen arguing with. He did not have an alibi for the time frame in which Archie died, and he was very cagey about answering any questions. The police were looking at other people, also, but 80-year-old Pops was the primary suspect. Becca and her best friend Dizzy determined to do whatever was necessary to find the killer, or at least stronger suspects, so the police would stop looking at Pops.
I was so pleased that it was easy to get to know Becca, Dizzy, and Becca’s family! They are engaging, very likable, and overall positive people. We learn enough to picture the individuals, but we learn much more about who they are. One thing Becca says when feeling sad or angry over certain things is “I shook off. . .”. Oh, I do wish she would explain how she does it! The author is very familiar with feline behavior. She relates antics of Becca’s cats Binx and Truffles in a completely realistic manner.
Becca and Dizzy muddle through their first encounters of questioning people about their whereabouts when Archie was killed, and they learn through those experiences. Sawyer, in true police officer manner, tells Becca that she needs to leave the investigation to the professionals, but to his credit, he listens to what they learn from other people. The victim was disliked by almost everyone, and many folks had a grudge against him. I was somewhat surprised at who the bad guy was, as I had thought about, then discarded, the person. The murder was successfully solved, leaving no outstanding issues. I highly recommend this novel and am looking forward to returning to this New England paradise soon!