Unfortunately, Allie finds him dead, covered with screaming chicken fireworks, just before the entire warehouse of pyrotechnics goes up in smoke. Is it arson or murder? Allie and her bichonpoo, Mal, must sift through the suspects until the killer is caught and the island can enjoy a star-spangled celebration,
Allie McMurphy runs the McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop, as well as makes the fudge. She's preparing for a riotous Fourth of July with the help of her employees, and is also responsible for coordinating the fireworks this year. When she receives several strange calls from her pyrotechnist. Rodney Rivers, and sets out to find him at the warehouse, she arrives and finds that the warehouse is booby-trapped and barely makes it out before everything explodes. When her dog, Mal, finds another suspicious fire soon after, she begins to believe that the warehouse wasn't an accident.
As the set fires begin to escalate, and Allie herself is eventually injured in the process, she has more to worry about. She needs to find replacement fireworks, someone to detonate them, and wonders who is setting them off and why, even as she is warned to stay out of the investigation.
For the most part, I liked the book and thought it was light, even enjoyable, reading. Then why the lack of a star? Well, it quickly began to grate on my nerves that Allie was describing every single thing everyone in the book was wearing, every single time we encountered them, right down to their bedclothes. Really? I need to know what type of pajamas her father wears? I expect to encounter this in say, a Regency novel, where clothes were extremely important, but not in a mystery.
The second was that she took Mal everywhere. Yes, I understand that Mal was a big part of the book, but it appears she is the only dog on the island. Nowhere is it mentioned that anyone else has a pet, and the only other animal mentioned in the book is the new-found cat. I also didn't agree with the idea of bringing animals to fireworks displays. They are frightening for animals, and Allie needs to learn that sometimes it is kinder if you leave your pets home. She also isn't able to control Mal. She either needs a stronger leash or Allie herself needs some serious wrist-training. This is a bishonpoo, not a Great Dane. She should be able to hang onto the leash of one very small dog, but for some reason, she can't. Mal escapes constantly. (I owned a Cocker Spaniel, and she never escaped from me one time.) But, to be fair, if Mal didn't escape, Allie might not find herself in some of the positions she got herself in - all the more reason for a stronger leash (ha). And the last thing that bothered me is the fact that every single (younger) woman is gorgeous, and all the men are hot. At least to Allie.
Aside from these three things, the book has a comfortable feel to it. It's one of those books you can read on a lazy afternoon without thinking too hard about whodunit and know that in the end, everything will come out alright. And it does. Recommended.