About 15 Minutes of Flame
As Stella Wright’s Nantucket candle store thrives, her knack for solving mysteries burns equally bright—especially when a Halloween haunted house uncovers evidence of a centuries-old murder . .
When Stella’s friend inherits a creaky, abandoned home in Nantucket, she knows it’s the perfect setting for the town’s annual Halloween fundraiser. A deserted, boarded-up building on the property—once used as a candle-making shop—adds to the creepy ambiance. But as Stella explores the shack’s dilapidated walls, she discovers a terrible secret: the skeleton of a Quaker woman, wrapped in blood-soaked clothing and hidden deep within a stone hearth . . .
While police investigate, Stella wastes no time asking for help from friends with long ties to Nantucket’s intricate history. The key to the murder may lie within a scorching 18th century love triangle that pit two best friends against one another over a dubious man. But before the case is solved, another life will be claimed—leaving Stella to wonder who in Nantucket is friend, and who is foe . . .
About Christin Brecher
CANDLES AND PLOTS
When plotting the Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries, I always enjoy developing Stella’s candle creations, which she makes and sells at her store in town, the Wick & Flame. The inspiration for these candles comes from research, personal projects, plot related twists, and on and on. In Murder’s No Votive Confidence, Stella’s design for a personalized wedding candle sets the wheels in motion. In Murder Makes Scents, her knowledge of scents helps her investigation. In 15 Minutes of Flame, the latest book in the series, which takes place during Halloween, Stella explains that she had loads of fun coming up with “some unique scents for the holiday, like Eyeball of Newt and Spider Soup for those who were really into the spirit of the season.
As you might imagine, Halloween is one of the highlights of the year at the Wick & Flame. I light many candles to turn up the spooky vibe, albeit one that includes jack-o’-lantern candles scented with pumpkin spice and glow-in-the-dark ghost candles. This year, I’d added the Tinker Special to my product line. It was a black cat, inspired by my feline friend, Tinker, wearing a jaunty orange witch’s hat from which the wick extends.”
Another fun invention I discovered while writing 15 Minutes of Flame is candle clocks. In the book, Stella accidentally stumbles upon these kinds of candles because of a deal on Ebay for two hundred candle clock holders at a good clearance price from a junk shop in Illinois. The concept of a candle clock is new to her, as it was to me, and both of us couldn’t resist tinkering around with the idea. These clever devices have been around since medieval times, before mechanical clocks had been invented, and were useful for marking time indoors or during cloudy days when following the sun was hard to do. At its simplest form, evenly spaced markings were made on a candle so that as the wax burned past each marking, the owner could follow the passage of time. When a nail was inserted into one of the markings, the candle could also be used as an alarm clock, since the nail would fall and make a clattering sound when the wax around it melted. In the book, the project starts as a fun new addition to Stella’s candle classes. Her pupil Cherry Waddle, dies her wax orange and sculpts her coil into a round shape with added decorative pumpkin eyes, a perfect Halloween candle for her windowsill, and one she could time to “die” at midnight.
I was struck by how candles could be used as timers as well. In this form, the candle is made of long, beeswax coils which wind their way up a base and are threaded through a metal clip at the top. The user decides how long the candle should burn by adjusting the length of wax above the clip. Then, when the wax melts down, the candle self-extinguishes. I enjoyed using this idea as a feature to build the mood in an old house Stella stays in during the book. And as the story progresses, these unique candles even offer a solution for how to catch a killer. I’d tell you more, but who likes a spoiler? “Mwah ha ha!”