A STUDY IN CHOCOLATE
Bean to Bar Mysteries Book 5
Cozy Culinary Mystery / Women Sleuths / Romance
Publisher: Golden Tip Press
Date of Publication: January 27, 2023
Number of Pages: 260 pages
***** Scroll down for Giveaway! *****
Felicity Koerber’s bean to bar chocolate shop on Galveston’s historic Strand is expanding, as it has become a gathering spot for the community, despite having been the scene of multiple murders. Artists she met while doing a chocolate sculpture are now working out of the shop. So when Felicity is invited to tea by an eccentric art collector, she’s intrigued, especially when she gets asked to pose for a portrait done with chocolate on chocolate. Only, where there is a murder the next day at the same historic house where the tea was held, one of Felicity’s artist friends becomes the main suspect.
When the killer threatens that unless Felicity unravels the murder, one of her two love interests will be the next victim, she finds herself unwittingly at the center of a puzzle with a Sherlock Holmes-obsessed murderer who wants to be the next Moriarty – and wants to cast Felicity as Sherlock.
Felicity starts finding unexpected connections between her friends and acquaintances and must deal with the idea that someone who knows her is a murderer. At the same time, she has to keep her business running, despite construction dust and unruly customers – and an unexpected order for thousands of truffles.
Satchmo the retired police-dog-turned-therapy dog returns to help her sniff out a few clues, and the kidnapping of Ruffles, the quirky artist’s cat, helps lead Felicity into the puzzle. Can Felicity solve it in time to protect the people she cares about from becoming additional victims?
In this fifth and latest book in the Bean to Bar series, Felicity is thrust into a mystery that is based on Sherlock Holmes’s A Study in Scarlet and has aspects of the game of Clue. Holmes is a favorite of mine, as is Clue, so it was fun to see those story elements in this book.
While A Study in Chocolate is the fifth book in the series, it can be read as a stand alone. There are plenty of references to previous mysteries that have fallen into Felicity’s lap, so the reader has a good sense of what has come before, as well as the roles of the various continuing characters.
Overall it’s a good story, offering readers a classic whodunit, some quirky characters and a mystery that takes Felicity and Logan and Arlo down some challenging paths. Along with the mystery, the reader is treated to historic details about Galveston Island, as well as what is involved in the making of specialty chocolate.
Something new in this story is the concept of painting with chocolate on chocolate. I’d never heard of that, and the reference to it intrigued me. In previous books, Royer explained how to paint on chocolate with Edible Art Paint, but this appeared to be something different, and I would have liked to know more.
While I’ve enjoyed the previous stories for the mysteries and the fun characters, especially Gently and his cat Ruffles, the love triangle of Felicity and Logan and Arlo has not been a great part of the series for me. I think the focus on the fact that she has to choose between the two men has always diminished the other parts of the story. Of course, I’ve never cared for the love triangle trope in romance novels either, but at least in A Study in Chocolate, the heroine is not having sex with both men. I applaud Royer for keeping this a sweet romantic part of the story.
Overall, if you like a cozy mystery with some fun folks, and animals, this is a book for you. And oh, yeah, the chocolate. Who could pass that up?
Amber Royer writes the Chocoverse comic telenovela-style foodie-inspired space opera series and the Bean to Bar Mysteries. She is also the author of Story Like a Journalist: A Workbook for Novelists, which boils down her writing knowledge into an actionable plan involving over 100 worksheets to build a comprehensive story plan for your novel. She also teaches creative writing and is an author coach.
Amber and her husband live in the DFW Area, where you can often find them hiking or taking landscape/architecture/wildlife photographs. If you are very nice to Amber, she might make you cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes, of course! Amber blogs about creative writing technique and all things chocolate.
***** GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! *****
Signed copy of A Study in Chocolate + a chocolate bar from French Broad Chocolate.
(US only; ends midnight, CST, 3/10/23)
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