Asking for Truffle by Dorothy St. James
Published by Crooked Lane Books on September 12, 2017
Series: Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Mystery
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When Charity Penn receives a letter saying she won a trip to Camellia Beach, South Carolina complete with free cooking lessons at the town's seaside chocolate shop, The Chocolate Box, she's immediately skeptical. She never entered any contest. Her former prep school friend offers to look into the phony prize--only to end up drowned in a vat of chocolate.
Struck with guilt, Penn heads to the southern beach town to investigate why he was killed. But as wary as she is of the locals, she finds herself lured into their eccentric vibe, letting her defenses melt away and even learning the art of crafting delicious chocolates. That is, until delight turns bittersweet as she steps straight into the midst of a deadly plot to destroy the seaside town. Now, only Penn's quick thinking and a mysterious cask of rare chocolate can save the town she's learning to love.
A chocolate shop, a feisty dog, and a murder mystery. Here I am—you rang? Asking for Truffle by Dorothy St. James is the first book in the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series.
Charity Penn (aka Penn) has won a trip to Camellia Beach, South Carolina. Part of the prize includes chocolate-making lessons at The Chocolate Box. The catch? Penn didn’t enter any contest to win this trip. Suspicious it’s a scam, Penn agrees to let her friend, Skinny, look into the prize and town. But tragedy strikes when Skinny winds up drowned in a vat of melted chocolate.
When the people of Camellia Beach insist that Skinny’s death was drug-related, Penn is determined to find the real cause. Skinny wasn’t a drug addict, nor did he associate with them. Something just isn’t right about his death, which couldn’t have been an accident either.
As Penn investigates Skinny’s death, she uncovers small-town secrets and mysteries. Along for the ride is her adorably vicious pooch, Stella. Penn also makes new friends in Camellia Beach—and possibly a new home—even as she gets closer to finding her friend’s killer.
Although I felt that the story ran a bit long, Asking for Truffle is definitely a fun read. Penn’s dog, Stella, steals many scenes with her mix of cute/vicious. As a heroine, Penn does her fair share of civilian investigating, but it felt believable to me (and that’s not always the case with cozy mysteries, I’m learning). Lastly, I loved the small-town setting and the supporting characters really help flesh out the story.
This is a strong start to the series and I look forward to reading the next book!
Rating: 4 stars