Book Critique - The Dangers Of Candy Canes

For review of all books in the anthology: Go here.

Stars: 2.5 / 5

Recommendation: Way too much cozy and mundane, way less thrill of a mystery or romance for me in this book. Not my cup of tea, but could be for some of you who like this kind. 

The Dangers of Candy Canes is the second novella in the anthology Candy Cane Murder by Laura Levine published in October of 2007, as part of her Jaine Austen Mystery series. She co-authored this anthology with Joanne Fluke and Leslie Meier.

One of Jaine Austen's client Seymour Fiedler is being sued for a wrongful death by Seymour's client. Now Jaine is tasked to investigate the death of his client to clear his name. A freelance writer by profession, Jaine puts her amateur detective skills to use to help her client.

Jaine Austen seemed to be one of those ordinary gumshoes who always gets into trouble, have mis-steps and make wrong turns, yet in the end solve the crime. I could have accepted if that was all Jaine was. But Laura had to go and tie her to a cat from hell, a cat that was more a tyrant than a pet. As if that was not enough, she made Jaine malleable to puppy eyes and pleading tones, making her wide-open for manipulation by even teenagers. 

The whole plot is written in first person narration, and at times it got a bit dragging when the narrator was going on and on about a few things, here and there. Laura did put in gentle humor all around but I really felt them fall flat in some places. Jaine's musings or the world she goes off into in her mind were sometimes saving grace to the flat humor. 

Laura gives us great tips on gardening like using old CDs to scare away squirrels from fruit trees though. And at least she has given Jaine good taste in movies or the books she listens to.

Author Laura refers to Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen books in her plot. And she also has one of the suspect's last name as Bascomb, same as Mayor Bascomb from Hannah Swensen books. Kind of ties the two novellas, giving it another thread other than a Christmas and candy canes theme. 

Despite the humor and a light mystery to solve, I was not taken neither by the heroine nor the way the plot went. Laura did give a good ending which I liked. However, I am not sure if I will pick any of her books again. Way too much cozy, too much mundane, and way less thrill of a mystery or romance in there. 

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. Fiedler on the Roof Roofers is owned by Seymour Fiedler. His wife is Maxine. 

b. Jaine's cat has a thing for Gregory Peck, so they watch the 1953 classic Roman Holiday time and again. I think I watched this, but not sure, have to watch it again to remember. She muses about watching Stakeout I and II, though I found Stakeout and Another Stakeout that released in the 90s. Perhaps those were the movies she was referring to. 

c. Jaine listens to, at least tries to, Anna Karenina, a novel I have been thinking of reading for a long time. 

2. Sub-Plots:

a. Jaine Austen Gierard has a cat named Prozac. Her parents live in Florida. Her best friends are Kandi Tobolowski and Jose Cuervo.

b. The Law enforcement that Jaine reaches out to - Lt. Frank DiMartelli

3. Grammatical / Character / Location / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:

a. Towards end of Pg. 185, author Laura mentions about Hari Krishna at an airport. Although there are no Hare Krishnas at the airports now, there used to be some 50 years ago, not recently. Also she mis-spelled Hare Krishna.


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