Title: Vanilla Bean Vengeance (Claire’s Candles #1)
Author: Agatha Frost
Published on: 28 February 2020
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Vanilla Bean Vengeance is the first book in Claire’s Candles series by Agatha Frost. Frost is well-known for her Peridale Café cozy mystery series. Having read a raving review of Vanilla Bean Vengeance from a Goodreads friend, I decided to give it a try.
I must say I am a little disappointed with the character and plot to story development. As a debut in the series, it is obvious that emphasis is on character introduction and theme of the series. In Vanilla Bean Vengeance, we had a whole lot of characters and some of them were quite annoying. Take Claire’s mum for example. She has a problem with everything Claire does. Claire’s 35 and single so her mum complains of ‘lack of grandkids’ in the house; Claire was an average student at school – problem! Gosh!
Also, our main character Claire has been working at the candle factory for seventeen years. She hasn’t been promoted. At all! And what’s her work at the factory, you ask? Labelling the mason jars. Claire has no house of her own, no savings at all, lives with her parents (nagging mum too) and for seventeen years, she’s been comfy with having achieved nothing??
Niggles aside, I liked the murder mystery. Claire and her friend Damon find their boss kissing a fellow employee’s husband. Few minutes later, the boss falls to her death. The case goes unsolved for a few days as the local bobbies are baffled and have no strong evidence as to who would have wanted the Nicole(boss) dead.
The identity of the killer was unexpected and shocking. I could not identify the perp until Claire’s lightbulb moment. There are a lot of characters in the story and at times, it was difficult for me to remember who’s who. The plot to story development could have been better.
Claire is not likeable. Also, as the story ends, the only change we see in Claire is – she gets to do what she loves the most (making candles) and finally owns a shop. But, when you look at it in terms of character growth, there isn’t much to talk about.
Vanilla Bean Vengeance was an okay read. I am in the minority here because this book has lot of 4 and 5 starred reviews on Goodreads. Also, as a series debut, this book hasn’t captured my attention so I might not be following the series.