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Candy Slain Murder: 10/28/22
Candy Slain Murder by Maddie Day and Laural Merlington (Narrator) (2020) is the eighth book in the Country Store mystery series. Robbie is looking forward to the Christmas season but things get weird when a man claims to be the long lost brother of her café assistant. Then skeletal remains after a fire force Robbie back into amateur sleuth mode.
I like how Maddie Day keeps South Lick and its surrounds fairly consistent. Even when the author doesn't need a new location for plot reasons, she includes enough extra geography and places it in relation to established and real world places to make Robbie's world seem real and consistent. Likewise, when she adds in new characters for plot reasons, they tend to stick around, meaning everything progresses, rather than each mystery feeling episodic.
This mystery is a cold case tied to a modern day mystery. While the newly discovered half brother serves as a possible suspect, he's clearly going to be more than that as the series continues. After having read two other long lost relatives where they were included to be temporary plot devices (and then fridged), I'm grateful to see genuine character construction here.
I also like that as Robbie's understanding of the diversity of South Lick and surrounds, that this enriched culture stays. Characters introduced continue to be customers, friends, employees, and so forth. With this new half brother, acknowledged by his birth mother, we have a man who is forging his own way with his Quaker upbringing and his conversion to Islam.
The mystery itself is a fun one involving a cold case, twins, and an obvious bad guy who is protected by privilege. In terms of the logistics of the mystery, I'm reminded of The Secret Staircase by Sheila Connolly and Emily Durante (Narrator) (2021) or Crowned and Moldering by Kate Carlisle (2015).
The ninth book in the series is No Grater Crime (2021).