By Collette London
Published by Kensington Books (27 January 2015)
Hayden Mundy Moore is an expert on everything chocolate, helping clients develop new products and revamp recipes until they're irresistible. But sometimes, a dash of murder finds it way into the mix…
Hayden Mundy Moore has bushwhacked through African jungles and haggled in exotic markets to find the finest cacao beans and the most flavourful blends. It's thrilling work but rarely dangerous - until a colleague turns up dead at the exclusive chocolate-themed Lemaotre resort spa in San Francisco.
Adrienne Dowling's heart attack is blamed on an accidental overdose of the secret ingredient used in Lemaotre Chocolate's new line. Hayden can't believe that conscientious Adrienne would make that mistake. And between chocolate body scrubs, cocoa mud baths, and a non-stop frenzy of chocolate-based treats, Hayden starts to suspect that she, not Adrienne, was the intended target. Finding a killer among the rival chocolatiers and potential suspects won't just be satisfying - it might save her life...
I received this book as an Advanced Reader Copy through NetGalley. As a chocoholic, I wasn't going to turn down the chance to read a novel with chocolate at the heart of the storyline.
This book is a combination of chick lit and a whodunnit. It reminded me of the Murder She Wrote TV series and Agatha Raisin's books, as well as being a lighter version of an Agatha Christie's Miss Marple novel. I was relieved that it wasn't a 'happily every after' and 'girl gets boy' ending, although the book came to a satisfying conclusion. The ending suggests that there will be another book in the series to follow this one.
I am not sure how realistic the story is in terms of the criminal investigation. I was surprised that the police didn't conduct a full investigation, even if they suspected that the first death was accidental poisoning. And they also weren't interested when a second supposedly accidental death occurred.
However, it's an enjoyable story and on the whole well written, although I felt in places stricter editing would have cut out some unnecessary waffle.