It’s July in Christmas River, and the temperature isn't the only thing flaring out of control.
After a fire destroys her best friend’s ornament shop, pie baker extraordinaire Cinnamon Peters soon discovers that the blaze was no accident. Just days before the annual Christmas River in July Parade and Play, it becomes clear that a maniac is roaming the tourist-packed streets of Christmas River. And he’s got a flair for the dramatic.
Will Cinnamon and her sheriff's deputy boyfriend find out who’s behind the blaze before the rest of the town goes up in flames?
This is the second in the Christmas River series (sequel to MURDER IN CHRISTMAS RIVER), but can be read alone. Cinnamon owns a pie shop, lives with her wise grandfather Warren, and is dating Daniel who wants Cinnamon to stay out of the Play and not get involved in the arson investigation. This is especially true when it seems like the arsonist is targeting the businesses of the women in the play. But Cinnamon wants to do something to bring the arsonist down as a way to avenge her friend Kara who is the first victim. Kara's also the only reason Cinnamon is in the play - she takes over as Mrs. Claus when Kara's shop goes up in smoke. Her involvement in the arson isn't the only tension between Daniel and Cinnamon though. She has major trust issues she hasn't come to terms with as yet. There are multiple twists and turns to the unfolding mystery and the solution is not obvious, but believable. Enjoyable read that kept my interest.
The main characters are well-developed with tension and romance that makes sense for the context, including the old sheriff who has a penchant for Cinnamon's pecan pie. As said, this can be read as a stand alone, but to appreciate the relationships and romantic tension, I'd recommend reading the MURDER IN CHRISTMAS RIVER first. The other books in the series are: MADNESS IN CHRISTMAS RIVER and MALICE IN CHRISTMAS RIVER. I've added these to my very large TBR pile. November saw the release of ROASTED IN CHRISTMAS RIVER: A Thanksgiving Cozy Mystery Novella. Meg Muldoon is also the author of the Cozy Matchmaker Mystery Series (see 9/18/2014 review of BURNED IN BROKEN HEARTS JUNCTION).