First-Degree Fudge, by Christine DeSmet (Obsidian; paperback, $7.99), will tingle your sweet tooth at the first mention of Cinderella Pink Fudge, even if this pastel treat may be a murder weapon. Ava Oosterling, sharing counter space in her grandfather’s live-bait store, envisions her confection in Hollywood swag bags if a visiting former movie star gives it her blessing at a local gala. Instead, Rainetta Johnson becomes “a fudge fatality.” Suspects: Ava, her former fiance and a young assistant. But Ava is baffled by an ingredient added to that fatal bite: a stolen diamond. Another victim surfaces, along with Ava’s pink candy garnished by another hot rock. Is this a flavor to die for? DeSmet includes the recipe for Ava’s creation, but go easy on the edible glitter.
Just as Halloween merchandise starts nudging aside back-to-school bargains, along comes Vampires, Bones, and Treacle Scones (Kensington, $24). Liss MacCrimmon returns in this seventh of Kaitlyn Dunnett’s Scottish mysteries, this time spearheading the transformation of an abandoned mansion into a spooky attraction for All Hallow’s Eve. The house in Moosetookalook, Maine, last owned by a long-gone Boston mobster, is complete with hidden rooms and rumors of Blackie O’Hare’s missing treasure. It should make an ideal haunted house, although Liss frets when random items start disappearing, then showing up in different spots. Is this Blackie’s ghost, or are the sullen teens on Liss’s committee punking her? Then a fake skeleton is replaced by a real body — which Liss recognizes.