Coconut Milk Casualty
by Agatha Frost
Published July 14th 2020 by PINK TREE PUBLISHING
With the renovations complete, candles poured, and shelves stocked, Claire Harris is ready to stand behind the counter of Claire’s Candles and take her place as Northash’s newest shopkeeper.
That is, until a menacing message spray-painted across the front of her candle shop on the evening before the grand opening douses the light of all her enthusiasm and hard work.
When spray paint escalates to murder, and all the evidence points to Claire’s Uncle Pat pulling strings from behind his prison walls, Claire and her family can no longer keep their heads in the sand. Their monster in the basement isn’t content to remain ignored, and the longer they go without facing it, the more strained all their relationships become.
And that’s before Claire discovers the connections between the old friendships, deep-rooted rivalries, and clandestine casinos that keep upping the ante and complicating the crime.
When all the cards are on the table, will Claire be the one with the winning hand?
This is the third book in the Claire’s Candles series by Agatha Frost. Every book of this series has a title which features that month’s top selling candle scent. This time it is the coconut milk candle.
I have to admit that when the word “Congratulations” got sprayed across the front of Claire’s new candle shop window, I thought it was her mother trying to go over the top with the well wishes. I mean, Janet is a woman who has a bit of controlling issues where it comes to her daughter.
Then Claire thinks she has found the culprit of the defacing of her business, she follows him only to find him dead shortly later. Claire and her friends Damon, Ryan and Sally help her along the way to uncover the culprit. I think this friendship assistance is what makes this book work so well.
I think it is the community aspect about this story that makes it so successful. I love following along with Claire’s life and seeing what is going on. I still can’t figure out why DI Ramsbottom is even in the constabulary. The guy seems to look to Claire for any clues to solve his case. I almost wish Claire’s dad Thomas would take back his position as the Detective Inspector and make everyone’s life a little easier. Love Claire’s quip about Ramsbottom “The only thing he can get to the bottom of is a bag of crisps.”
Some of the minor characters here grow as the story moves along and I love that. Ryan is coming into his own knowing that painting is a good thing to focus on to help him get over his wife leaving him. And Claire is realizing that she never stopped loving him after her school girl crush on him when she was a teen.
If you are from America, you might notice the odd slang used in Agatha Frost books, this is because both series are set in England and they use English slang which I find quite enchanting. Loving both of her popular series so much!
If you love a good cozy mystery, definitely check this one out.