My heart goes out to the people of South Carolina and all states that have suffered the loss of life and damage due to Hurricane Florence.
In Cold Chocolate: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
by Dorothy St. James
About the Book
In Cold Chocolate: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Crooked Lane Books (September 11, 2018)
Hardcover: 350 Pages
Digital ASIN: B078M3N9TC
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.
Bullets! Missing turtle eggs! Missing chocolate turtles! The quiet seaside town of Camellia Beach, South Carolina is having a crime wave. A local man is dead and someone is stealing sea turtle eggs from the nests on the beach, and Sea Salt Chocolate Turtles are disappearing almost right before Charity Penn’s eyes from her shop. Jody Dalton has accused Penn of lying to get The Chocolate Box Sweet Shop and taunts her almost daily about it, but when she is arrested for Cassidy Jones murder Penn just can’t believe it. Then Jody’s young son begs Penn to help get his mother out of jail. She finds herself quickly promising that she will do just that. There is nothing sweet about the point Penn finds herself in. There are several suspects in addition to Jody, but Penn needs to be careful or she may end up the killer’s next victim.
Penn has so much on her plate in this third Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery. Penn has found her mother, but the family has opened up yet another lawsuit to try to take The Chocolate Shop away from her. The shop is busy so she needs to hire more help and she is still trying diligently to learn all she can about making luscious chocolate treats. She has started observing with the sea turtle watch team her friend Althea Bays is in charge of. Her relationship with Harley, Jody’s ex, is starting to move in a new direction. And on top of all that she has told Harley and Jody’s son, she will get his mom out of jail before school starts next week.
I really enjoy how all the recurring characters not only grow from book to book but within the pages of this story. Penn is getting comfortable in Camellia Beach and is meeting new people and making friends. She is still struggling with the chocolate making but the woman does not give up. She has a great core of support when any sort o trouble arrives, but she is learning to stand up for herself much better when her family tries to take her shop away. She learns something in this story that shakes and bends her but doesn’t break her.
The author has written a dynamic story with a couple of mysteries swirled together with family drama. I really like the way all the subplots flowed together with the main plot almost effortlessly. This seaside mystery does have its share of red herrings and diversions that keep us readers on our toes. Penn seems to hone in on one individual but my mind kept pulling me in another direction. In my mind, the answer really depended on if the mysteries are separate or connected. The family battle over Penn’s inheritance gets a new twist that made me dislike members of that family even more. The ending left me surprised and wondering how I was going to wait the approximately 6 months until the next book comes out. 🙂
It was fun learning about the sea turtles and the great lengths people go to to protect their eggs and the species.
Oh and the chocolate! I have learned to have some nearby while reading this series. It doesn’t come close to what Penn and Bertie create for The Chocolate Box, but it takes care of my cravings.
Ms. St. James has penned another delectable treat for her readers to enjoy. I hope she writes the next one fast!
About the Author
Mystery author Dorothy St. James was raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on the outskirts of Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, a neurotic dog, and a 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.
* Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of 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.”
This was a fun end-of-summer read. I enjoy these Southern Chocolate Shop mysteries a lot.
The conflict was tantalizing. I was on the edge of my seat while I was turning through the last quarter of the book. St James threw down and didn’t hold back and I loved every second of it.
This series gets better with every book!! The mix of chocolate and mystery is a combination that I find hard to resist.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews
The atmospheric and multilayered In Cold Chocolate is an impressive, compelling, and engrossing read. It not only fulfilled all my expectations for an enjoyable cozy read but took everything several steps higher.
~The Power of Words
Author Dorothy St. James really tugs the heartstrings of readers in this very special South Carolina Lowcountry cozy mystery.
~Mallory Heart’s Cozies
. . . this has Southern Charm and Midwestern tenacity in abundance and I want more!
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog
Another delicious 5-star dangerous investigation.
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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.”