Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Criminal Confections (A Chocolate Whisperer Mystery)

Author:  Collette London
Genre:  Mystery

Four Stars

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 its 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 flavorful blends. It's thrilling work but rarely dangerous--until a colleague turns up dead at the exclusive chocolate-themed Lemaître resort spa in San Francisco.

Adrienne Dowling's heart attack is blamed on an accidental overdose of the secret ingredient used in Lemaître Chocolates' 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...

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Hayden Mundy Moore works as a 'chocolate consultant,' which means her clients are chocolate companies (and businesses that deal heavily with chocolate) to find out how they can improve and streamline their products for a larger profit.  When she accepts a job at Lemaître resprt, she also gets more than she bargained for.  While attending a private function at the resort, her friend Adrienne dies under suspicious circumstances, but it is ruled a terrible accident; an overdose- but Adrienne was young, and had no problems as far as Hayden knew.  And when there is an attack on Hayden, she knows there is something else going on.

At least she has her friend Danny, a security expert with a shady past, with her to help.  As Hayden questions the resort's employees and guests, she finds that there are more than a few skeletons in the closet that people don't want exposed.

As the first book in a new series, I believe that this one is good.  Hayden is skilled and well-traveled.  She's good at what she does, fiercely loyal to her friends, even the ex-con Danny; but in turn, he's also fiercely loyal to her.  The mystery is well-written, and even though I figured out who the killer was before Hayden (I'm pretty good at it though; I read a lot of mysteries), it was fun getting there.  But I didn't understand why there were no police involved, even when there was a second 'accident.'  You'd think by this time people would be questioning, but only Hayden and Danny were even interested in finding out the truth.

If there was one part that I didn't care for, it was when I learned that her uncle's will allowed her all the money she wanted, but only 'if she kept moving.'  In my book, this isn't conducive to anything remotely resembling a relationship, and doesn't allow her at any time in her life to want to put down roots anywhere.  You'd think even the most adventurous traveler would want to have some sort of a home someday, and possibly a significant other of sorts.  Aside from this, I enjoyed the book and look forward to the next in the series.  Recommended.

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