Stephanie Smith writing for Caroline Clemmons
Cruel Candy is the first of 22 and counting Cozy Corgi mysteries. They star Winifred "Fred" Page and her Corgi Watson, who have moved home to Estes Park, Colorado to fulfill her dream of opening a bookshop. Fred expects to deal with her mom and hippy stepfather, but not murder. Her stepfather has been charged with murder and she must clear his name while dealing with the town's characters of all sorts.
I love this series. I have read every one of the books and really enjoyed them. Ms. Abbott has a corgi and she really breathes life into the character of Watson. He becomes the bookstore's mascot and is really the co-star of the series. He is a grumbly curmudgeon who loves only a few and tolerates the rest of the population of Estes only as much as he has to.
Fred is a well-drawn character that grows through the series, yet always remains true to herself. Her major problem is that she keeps stumbling across corpses. She feels compelled to find out what caused their deaths. This despite the danger to herself, her dog, and her loved ones. Soon she becomes known for her sleuthing or snooping as some call it. The town starts expecting her to solve these mysteries and the culprits try to prevent her from doing so. Don't worry, each story ends happily.
While each book can be read as a stand-alone cozy, it is best to read them in order. You get so much more out of the books if you do so. Start with Cruel Candy and get ready to get lost in these books.
Estes Park, Colorado: picturesque mountains, charming shops, delightful bakeries, a cozy bookstore… and murder.
Winifred Page and her corgi, Watson, move to Estes Park to hit the Reset button on life. Fred is about to open her dream bookshop, and the only challenges she anticipates are adjusting to small-town life, tourists, and living close to her loveable mother, Phyllis, and hippy stepfather, Barry.
When Fred steps into her soon-to-be-bookshop for the first time, she expects dust bunnies and spiders… not the dead body in the upstairs kitchen. The local police have an easy suspect—Barry.
Determined to prove quirky Barry innocent of murder, Fred puts on her detective hat, and with Watson by her side, she explores her new town and gets acquainted with her fellow shopkeepers. Could one of her friendly neighbors be the real culprit? And what would be the motive for killing the owner of the Sinful Bites candy store? The secrets Fred discover put her at odds with the local police sergeant and threaten her cozy future in Estes.
With snow falling outside, all Fred wants to do is curl up by the fire with a good book and Watson snuggled at her feet. But before she can begin her new life and put her plans for her bookshop into action, Fred and Watson have a mystery to solve…
(This culinary cozy mystery includes a recipe for delectable lemon bars.)