A Nutcracker Nightmare (A Killer Chocolate Mystery)
by Christina Romeril
About A Nutcracker Nightmare
A Nutcracker Nightmare (A Killer Chocolate Mystery)
2nd in Series
Setting – Montana
Crooked Lane Books (October 17, 2023)
Hardcover : 320 pages
ISBN-10 : 1639104917
ISBN-13 : 978-1639104918
Kindle ASIN : B0BSKRF471
Perfect for fans of Joanne Fluke and Laura Childs, when twin sisters Hanna and Alex help out at the local high school reunion, volunteering takes a turn when they find a former classmate’s dead body.
Hanna and Alex, owners of the Murder and Mayhem book and chocolate shop, are busy preparing for the Harriston High School’s reunion weekend. Neighbors will connect with old friends and perhaps try to avoid old foes. One person no one can avoid is Kyle, the former star quarterback, who is busy using his entire playbook to try and score with Hanna, even threatening her if she doesn’t play nice. At the reunion, Alex glimpses more drama than nostalgia as insults are flung around like a football at a Friday night game. The party is put on hold when Alex finds the dead body of none other than Kyle himself, bludgeoned to death by a nutcracker that the sisters admired earlier in the night.
Hanna quickly becomes the prime suspect—someone saw her slap Kyle in the face at the reunion dance. She’ll need her sister, their sleuthing canine, Watson, and their old friends and colleagues to help break this case wide open. While looking through old yearbooks and taking a stroll down memory lane, Alex uncovers a few secrets about Kyle, now, it seems like everyone had a motive to kill him.
But when the suspects start becoming the victims, Alex and Hanna know that they can’t melt under the pressure—they must find the killer before they become just another yearbook memory.
It’s Harriston High School’s reunion weekend and Hanna and Alex are going to be serving some of their special chocolates. It should be a good time for everyone to reconnect with their classmates and share news about their lives.
There is one person though that could ruin the whole event. Kyle Allerton, a former star quarterback, is a real piece of work and almost everyone is doing their best to avoid him. Hanna isn’t so lucky though, he just won’t back off and even threatens her. Alex notices it isn’t just Hanna who is getting annoyed.
When Alex later finds the quarterback’s dead body the party comes to an abrupt halt. The murder weapon appears to be a nutcracker Alex and Hanna had moved earlier. The entire place is filled with viable suspects but the police are focused on Hanna because someone saw her confrontation with Kyle that left him with a bloody nose. Alex knows Hanna had no part in the bully’s death and she, her friends, and her dog Miss Watson are going to help Hanna prove it. When her suspects start becoming victims she knows she needs to turn up the heat and crack the killer before the killer cracks her.
I really enjoy the premise of the Murder and Mayhem Book and Chocolate Shop. Hannah creates the chocolates with puny poison names and Alex takes care of the books, but they both help each other out as needed. They are a great team in everything they do. They are genuine and realistic and the relationship is comfortable.
Pastor Tom Kennedy lives next door to twins Alex and Hanna. After a shaky start he and Alex are trying to date but things like Penelope Shaw, a divorcee who wants Tom for herself, keeps getting in the way. It doesn’t help that she has another man interested in her either. Maggie Fletcher works with Alex and Hanna and is a true friend to them both. Miss T writes a gossip blog and while no one knows who the blogger is, they sure know things no one else should and “spills the tea” daily. All of Ms. Romeril’s core characters continue to grow and are very entertaining.
Miss Watson is one smart canine too. Hanna had dragged Alex to a rescue to “look” at the dogs. Miss Watson immediately melted Alex’s heart and now she rarely leaves her side. I love it when cozy characters have lovable pets that get involved in the story and sometimes save the day by calling the cavalry.
The mystery was very complicated due to the victim’s lifelong behavior. With a large number of suspects and many not being truthful or holding on to secrets, it was a hard one to solve. Alex did have a few moments where her investigative techniques needed to be reeled back a bit, and her internal dialogue needed to relax, but she was shuffling a lot of clues. Her A-ha moment did come at an inopportune time but I had gotten so caught up in the story I was right there with her. I was surprised and then delighted about how the whodunit was wrapped up.
Chocolates. Oh, my dear chocolates. The descriptions will have you salivating. The author includes wonderful directions for making molded chocolates and two recipes but we have a wonderful candy shop here in town that I visited after reading the first book in this series, A Christmas Candy Killing, and visited again after finishing this one. The candy there does not have the poisonish names like the ones in the books but it sure cures my cravings. I do wish there had been more emphasis on the chocolate competition Hanna had entered. I can never get enough chocolate and would have loved to hear about what everyone entered.
The Nutcracker Nightmare was a very enjoyable read filled with fun characters and a perplexing mystery. I can’t wait to return to Harriston, Montana, and the Murder and Mayhem Book and Chocolate Shop. Who knows what Hanna and Alex will get into next? I do know there will be “killer” chocolates involved.
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
About Christina Romeril
Christina Romeril is the author of the Killer Chocolate Mystery series. The series is set in Montana at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, one of her favourite places to visit. She and her husband live a few hours away in a small village in Southern Alberta. When Christina isn’t writing she loves to hike in Waterton Lakes National Park, or just hang out there eating gourmet hot dogs and ice cream. When the former banker isn’t enjoying nature, she loves to create and consume chocolate confections. Not necessarily in that order.
TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
October 23 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE
October 23 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 23 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT
October 24 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 24 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT
October 24 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
October 25 – Mystery, Thrillers, and Suspense – AUTHOR GUEST POST
October 25 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 25 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
October 26 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
October 26 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
October 26 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
October 27 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
October 27 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
October 27 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 28 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 28 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
October 29 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
October 29 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT
October 29 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
October 30 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 30 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
October 30 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?
Click Here to Find Details and Sign Up Today!
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.”