Review: “Town in a Sweet Pickle” by B.B. Haywood

Town in a Sweet Pickle by B.B. HaywoodA review by Danielle.

It’s the day of the amateur cooking contest in Cape Wellington, Maine. For months, Candy Holliday and Wanda Boyle have planned this event down to the last detail so on the day of when Wanda is a no show, Candy is both annoyed and concerned. Wanda essentially came up with this idea, never one to miss out on an opportunity to be in the spotlight, soaking in all the glory, it is very out of character for Wanda to not even call to say she is running late. As the contest gets underway, a mysterious late entry is discovered by Candy and the judges: a jar of pickles labelled Sweet Deli. While this is supposed to be an amateur contest for the town’s residents to showcase their own skills the judges can’t resist adding the pickles to the contest, anxious to try them and see if they really are the pickles from the Sweet Deli that mysteriously closed down overnight several years ago. The best pickles anyone had ever eaten, all the judges agree.

Suddenly, a member of the crowd collapses, stopping the judging and tasting. It is discovered that several jars of The Sweet Deli pickles are showing up all over town and they are tainted with poison. Panicked and scared, the town’s people turn both to and on Candy, seeing that she is again at the center of another murder mystery in their sleepy little coastal town and hoping that, like all the other tragic events that have happened over the last five years, Candy can solve this mystery too. Now Candy must find out who is behind this latest attack, to clear her name and dig deeper to see if all these murders are part of a bigger plot for the town and quickly before anyone else gets hurt.
I am a huge fan of B.B Haywood and all of the Candy Holliday mystery books, but I have noticed that as the series gets closer to a big reveal of a deeper storyline that each individual book works toward, the series has become more predictable and boring. I am sad to say the quality of the last two books in this series have really fallen compared to the first four. Town in a Sweet Pickle was not only dull with minimal action, but the suspect list for the murderer was as shallow as a kiddie pool. I guessed the murderer’s identity before the second body hit the floor and the twists I usually don’t see coming in this series were lackluster and more of a curve into a dead end plot than a corkscrew in a literary metaphorical roller coaster. I’m not entirely sure how many books are slated for the remainder of the series but given all the background knowledge and foreshadowing dropped over the span of the six books, I’d wager I already know who the real masterminds are behind all of Cape Wellington’s misfortune and why they are so keen on destroying the little town. I will keep my fingers crossed for the next book to not only end the series, but also return the quality to its original glory. Also B.B., can we please get Candy a solid love interest for all of us single girls’ sake?

My rating: 2.5 /5 stars.

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