Playing With Bonbon Fire: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
by Dorothy St. James
Playing With Bonbon Fire: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
2nd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (March 13, 2018)
Hardcover: 352 pages
Digital ASIN: B074MBXLWX
Chocoholic Charity Penn must smoke out the killer to stop her newly inherited beachside chocolate shop from going up in flames in Dorothy St. James’ decadent follow-up to Asking for Truffle.
Chocolate shop owner Charity Penn is finally settling into life in the quirky South Carolina seaside town of Camellia Beach cooking up chocolate treats. She’s even helped organize the town’s lively beach music festival which has brought rollicking crowds eager to dance the Carolina Shag. That is until one of the band’s lead singers is found dead beside a beach bonfire.
While also trying to balance the amorous attention of music star Bixby Lewis, in town for the festival, and her quest to perfect a new hot flavored bonbon, Charity dives into the investigation. Though it’s more spice than sugar when she discovers a threatening note, comes across decades of age-old secrets, and Bixby comes into the line of fire when a gas grill explodes on the deck of a beachfront house.
Now Charity must turn up the heat and catch the killer before her chance melts away in Playing With Bonbon Fire, the delightful second Southern Chocolate Shop mystery served up just right for fans of JoAnna Carl and Joanne Fluke.
Camellia Beach is going to be filled with music and people as the Beach Music Festival begins. Thanks to a little help from her half-sister Tina, Penn is able to book the famous Bixby Lewis to be the headliner of the festival. The event is also going to mean The Chocolate Box is going to have tons of customers. She is still learning to make the perfect bonbon, but with Bertie’s help, they will have enough chocolate treats to serve the masses.
But the first night of the festival brings tragedy. A body is found in the bonfire and Penn can’t help but jump right into the investigation. She is also helping Bixby with a stalker, trying to keep her business open after several freaky occurrences, plus she is dealing with a lawsuit over ownership of The Chocolate Box and oh, she also wants to create her own special spicy hot bonbon while trying to find her birth mother.
We are getting to know these characters better and Penn is opening up more in this story. She is making friends and getting involved in the happenings in Camellia Beach. But top on her list is finding her mother and proving that the chocolate shop left to her should be solely hers. I don’t know how any person could handle everything that she had to deal with in this short time span. Thankfully she had her friends and her sister to lean on and step in while she was running all over town chasing down leads and trying to keep the festival on track.
The author really blends two mysteries together in this book. A murder mystery and the search for Penn’s mother. They coexist very naturally together. Both have surprising twists. The main mystery, the murder, had many topsy-turvy turns. There was so much going on and I was not sure how the whole plot was going to come together, but when we reached the end, it all did.
I usually read a book like this over 2 evenings, but I was having a very hard time putting this book down the first night. Finally, my body made the decision for me, when I could no longer keep my eyes open. I hated having to work the next day because I would have rather been reading, but I escaped back into it before supper was even on the table. The ending was surprising and not what I was expecting at all. Fantastic storytelling by this author.
I can’t forget to mention the bonbons, the truffles and all the other goodies for sale at The Chocolate Box. You may want to have some chocolate on hand while reading this story because the descriptions will have you drooling.
I enjoyed everything about this story. Dorothy St. James has packed these pages full of mystery, drama, action, and chocolate. I am excited for the continuation of this series.
About the Author
Mystery author Dorothy St. James was born in New York but raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on an artsy island community in South Carolina with her husband, a neurotic dog, and fluffy cat. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.
Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn’t as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she could not ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.
Known for the White House Gardener Mystery series, Dorothy is going back to her roots and setting a mystery series in a Southern beach town much like the one she’s called home for the past 20 years. The Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries combine her love of fine chocolates, quirky Southern charm, with a dash of danger.
* Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of the award-winning multi-published author, Dorothy McFalls. She enjoys writing in several different genres. Her works have been nominated for many awards including Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called her work: “amazing”, “perfect”, “filled with emotion”, and “lined with danger.”
Praise for Playing With Bonbon Fire: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
by Dorothy St. James
A good plot, with just enough twists and turns to keep me guessing, PLAYING WITH BONBON FIRE, was a quick, enjoyable read.
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews
Swirls of complications at every step as Penn tries to build a life and business for herself and understand her beginnings.
I was loving the emotional depths that this book took and the mystery itself was more involved than most as well. I think that all chocolate lovers should read this book/series and the cozy mystery fans in general.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews
This book has really made an impression on me. It’s getting harder and harder to find books as well done as this one.
This story had plenty of unique characters that readers will enjoy. It was as though you were truly visiting a festival, allowing yourself to people watch.
A story to be savored and enjoyed like a fine piece of chocolate. Playing with Bonbon Fire is sure to leave you craving more from this hit series by Dorothy St. James.
~A Cozy Experience
Even when all the chocolate has been eaten (oh, woe is me!), this delicious story will tickle and tempt your tastebuds! There is enough sugar to make this a sweet story, but not so much that it becomes cloying. Bonbon Fire is just right.
Dorothy St. James is an amazingly talented author who paints a picture of a town and characters so well that you get lost in the story, only fully emerging upon turning the last page.
~The Montana Bookaholic
The town is filled with fun and quirky characters that care of each other and help solve the mystery in their own unique way.
~My Reading Journeys
I loved the story and I didn’t want to see it end. . . My advice is to get a copy and get comfy. The story is a page-turner and one you will not forget.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”