Wednesday, September 5, 2018

ARC Review: In Cold Chocolate by Dorothy St. James

In Cold Chocolate
Author: Dorothy St. James
Series: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (September 11, 2018)

Description: In Dorothy St. James’s third delectable Southern Chocolate Shop mystery, a new batch of chocolate and troubles of the heart cause a string of disasters for the Chocolate Box’s new owner, Charity Penn.

The vintage seaside town of Camellia Beach, South Carolina seems like the perfect place for romance with its quiet beach and its decadent chocolate shop that serves the world’s richest dark chocolates. The Chocolate Box’s owner, Charity Penn, falls even further under the island’s moonlit spell as she joins Althea Bays and the rest of the turtle watch team to witness a new generation of baby sea turtles hatch and make their way into the wide ocean.

Before the babies arrive, gunshots ring out in the night. Cassidy Jones, the local Casanova, is found dead in the sand with his lover Jody Dalton―the same woman who has vowed to destroy the Chocolate Box―holding the gun. It’s an obvious crime of passion, or so everyone believes. But when Jody’s young son pleads with Penn to bring his mother back to him, she can’t say no. She dives headfirst into a chocolate swirl of truth and lies, and must pick through an assortment of likely (and sometimes unsavory) suspects before it’s too late for Penn and for those she loves in Dorothy St. James’s third rich installment of the Southern Chocolate Shop mysteries, In Cold Chocolate.

My Thoughts: This story is the third of Charity Penn's adventures in Camellia Beach, South Carolina. She has inherited the Chocolate Box - a store making and selling unique chocolates from a rare cocoa bean - from a woman she believes to be her grandmother. However, her aunts and uncles are contesting the will because they don't believe Penn is actually their mother's granddaughter. One of the aunts did confess that she was Penn's mother but only Penn and her lawyer Harley heard the confession and now she's denying it.

Penn has gotten involved with the turtle watch because the island is a prime breeding ground for sea turtles. One of the other volunteers in Jody Dalton who is Harley's ex-wife and an anger-filled person who seems to have a particular grudge for Penn. When Jody loses her temper because a new owner hasn't turned off his house lights and takes out her gun to take care of the lights, an accident happens and the local lothario, and Jody's current lover, is found shot to death with Jody holding the gun. It should be an open-and-shut case but Jody says she's innocent and Jody's 10-year-old son Gavin asks Penn to find out the truth.

Penn begins investigating but she receives threats and discouragement from almost everyone. As she investigates, she finds that many people wanted Cassidy dead since he delighted in gathering secrets about the town people.

Because this is the third book in the series, a lot of Penn's background isn't stated. I did learn that she is not a trusting person who was abandoned by her mother and left on her father's doorstep as an infant. Apparently, he wasn't a loving father and his mother didn't nurture her either. She grew up feeling that she wasn't valued. That seems to be why she is so determined to make a place for herself in Camellia Beach where her mother's mother welcomed her and valued her.

I figured out who the villain was pretty early on in this mystery but that didn't stop me from enjoying this cozy mystery. I liked Penn and feel, from some information at the end, that she has more adventures in store. I don't think the question of her parentage has been resolved yet even though her inheritance seems to be. I liked the setting of this story and the quirky characters, including Penn, who inhabit this story.

Favorite Quote:
Names came flying at me too fast for me to categorize. There was Fletcher Grimbal who lost his job because of Cassidy, the woman in the turquoise muumuu who was found standing over Cassidy's dead body but felt her secrets too dear to stick around and talk to the police, Johnny Pane who'd been terrified by what Cassidy might say about him, and the island's oldest resident, Ethel Crump who could outshoot anyone. Even my own mother, Florence Corners, had been skulking around with Cassidy.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. A southern chocolate shop. This sounds so fun. And I love reading books set in my neck of the woods. That cover is too cute!


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