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Tim Myers’ Cozy Mystery Candlemaking Series


Review by VickyJo


Working in a public library is never dull.  People come in all day long, looking for all kinds of information, or searching for the next great book to read.  Once, an elderly lady returned her books to me at the front desk, and then asked if I could recommend another book for her to read.  I asked what types of books she enjoyed.  She said, “I’d like a nice murder.  You know, nothing too bloody. Just…something nice.”  It’s a strange phrase, “nice murder.”  But what she wanted was a “cozy mystery.”

In the publishing world, a cozy mystery has specific guidelines.  It’s a murder mystery that features a bloodless crime, and has very little to no graphic violence, sex or language.  Quite often, the murder victim is someone the reader hardly knows, like the rich uncle or the reclusive neighbor, and thus isn’t someone we really miss.

The main character is very often an amateur sleuth, who gets involved and solves the crime for personal reasons.  The fun part about cozies is that the reader is encouraged to solve the crime first; the author gives clues to help the reader along, and all loose ends are always tied up by the end of the novel.

Agatha Christie wrote cozies, and her novels made the small English village a very popular cozy setting, but cozies take place anywhere.  They do tend to happen in small towns or settings, so that the pool of suspects is small and the murder can be solved.  You won’t usually find serial killers in a cozy.  Believe it or not, they are considered “feel good” stories; justice always prevails in the end, and the community is restored to peace and order.

The trend lately is to have a cozy series: a likeable character with a fun job who solves crime after crime in his or her small town.  Think Jessica Fletcher of Murder She Wrote.  Cabot Cove, Maine had a million murders, but intrepid, likeable mystery author Fletcher managed to solve them all (with a little help from her friends).

I’ve just finished reading a cozy series that I really enjoyed.  The author is Tim Myers, and he has written The Candle Making Series of mysteries, featuring Harrison Black.

The first book, “At Wick’s End introduces Harrison.  His great-aunt Belle has just died in a mysterious fall from a ladder, and she left her candle making shop to Harrison in her will.  Harrison decides to comply with Aunt Belle’s wishes and continue running the shop.  Once he arrives in the small town of Micah’s Ridge, he is surprised to discover that, not only does he own At Wick’s End, but he owns the converted, two-story warehouse that the shop is in, called River’s Edge.  There are several other shops, which make Harrison’s inheritance a bit more complicated than he originally thought.

Harrison also moves into Aunt Belle’s apartment above At Wick’s End, and is immediately suspicious when the apartment is broken into and searched.  Could his Aunt Belle’s death have been, not an accident, but murder?  Harrison decides he has no choice but to try and find out who would want to kill Aunt Belle—and why.

The second novel, “Snuffed Out” finds Harrison a little more settled in his shop.  He is getting used to retail selling and is finding that he has a real love and talent for making candles.  He is also becoming more comfortable in his role as landlord for the other shop owners at River’s Edge: Heather, who runs a New Age shop called The New Age; Millie, who runs a coffee/snack shop called The Crocked Pot, and several others.  So when the power goes out unexpectedly, Harrison is called upon to find the solution.  What he discovers is something else entirely: Aaron, who owns a pottery shop called The Pot Shot, is found dead at his pottery wheel, a frayed electrical cord and a spilled bucket of water telling the dismal tale of how he died.  Or does it?  Heather tells Harrison that Aaron hated electric wheels, and never used them to throw his pots.  He only had one for his students to use.

Harrison immediately becomes suspicious, but the local police seem content to accept Aaron’s death as accidental.  Besides, most of the admittedly small force in Micah’s Ridge is out with the flu.  So it looks like it’s up to Harrison to do some discreet investigating on his own.

In the meantime, Harrison does have a business to run.  He needs to find a new tenant for Aaron’s shop, and he thinks he’s found the perfect choice in Aaron’s ex-wife, Sanora, also a potter.  He gives her a two month lease, to see how things work out.  Little does he know that Sanora worked with Aaron before their divorce, and left about the same time some money mysteriously disappeared from another shop.  Needless to say, the other tenants of River’s Edge are not exactly thrilled to have Sanora back.  Heather, the owner of The New Age is especially put out; seems she and Aaron had been dating, but he dropped her when he thought he had a chance to reconcile with Sanora.  Harrison now finds himself between two women who both loved and lost the same man.  Could Sanora have killed Aaron out of jealousy?  Or, harder to believe, could Heather have killed him?  Harrison has become friends with Heather and doesn’t want to believe she could kill anyone.  But strange things keep happening around River’s Edge as Harrison gets closer and closer to solving Aaron’s murder.  And it doesn’t look good for Heather.

This second installment is another fun read.  If you’re looking for blood, chills, serial killers and nightmares, this series isn’t for you.  But if you want a quick, fun read with lots of atmosphere and candle making tips, try Tim Myers’ series.  He’s written four altogether; the third book is “Death Waxed Over” and the fourth is “A Flicker of Doubt.”  All four books are perfect for getting away for a few hours!



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6 Responses to “Tim Myers’ Cozy Mystery Candlemaking Series”

  1. Jerelyn H. (I-F-Letty) says:

    Your a dangerous woman Vicky, 3 more for the list. Great reviews, I love the “nice murder” story. Maybe the sleuth should be a small town librarian who rescues kittens. 🙂

  2. Lori B. says:

    Vicky, thanks for shedding some light on a genre I knew little about. The Jessica Fletcher analogy was just the clue I needed. Very interesting review. Tells enough to tempt me to read without spilling all the beans!

  3. Robin K. (jubead) says:

    I love cozy mysteries and as Jerelyn said, three more for the list…sigh.

  4. Deb B. says:

    As usual, great review. Gee, thanks for contributing to Mt. TBR (though I count 4, not 3, more for the list).

  5. Cricket B. (JiminyCricket) says:

    Thanks Vicki for reviewing a type of book I never considered, simply because there was no name available to me for what I wanted to read. I now know thanks to your talent of wording that what I often thought of as a “nice murder” kind of reading, is really called a cozies. I also had never heard of the author you mentioned but I’m going to read him solely based on you listing him as the example of a “clean, gore-less, nice” mystery….a cozies.
    Thank you for enlightening me. you’ve just expanded my reading world. Kudos!

  6. Brenna B. (demiducky25) says:

    Thanks for sharing this series, I’ve added it to my reminder list! 🙂

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