Title: A Christmas Candy Killing
Series: Killer Chocolate
By: Christina Romeril
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Their chocolates are to die for—but things aren’t so sweet when a real killer comes to town, in this debut mystery perfect for fans of Joanne Fluke and Laura Childs.
Identical twin sisters Alex and Hannah are the owners of Murder and Mayhem, a mystery bookshop that sells their famous poison-themed Killer Chocolates. But now, there’s a real killer in their midst. Shortly before Christmas, their septuagenarian neighbor, Jane, confides to Alex that a murderer from a true-crime show has taken up residence in the village. Unfortunately, she’s also shared her suspicions with town gossip Netta. The next morning, Alex shows up at Jane’s house to watch the show, but instead discovers Jane’s body, with a box of Killer Chocolates nearby.
The sheriff quickly zeroes in on two suspects: Alex, a beneficiary in Jane’s will, and Zack, a handyman who was seen leaving the crime scene. But Alex maintains her innocence and sets out to draft a list of other potential suspects—townsfolk who’d recently been seen arguing with Jane.
When Alex gets hold of Jane’s journal, she begins to understand the truth. But a bearer of ill tidings is arriving early this year—and Alex just might not make it to Christmas. (Goodreads)
A Christmas Candy Killing by Christina Romeril is the first book in the delightful Killer Chocolate series. Delightful because when one incorporates chocolate into a story…well…enough said (at least that is my opinion 😊). But seriously, this cozy mystery set around the holiday season is filled with mystery, intrigue, a couple of interesting twin amateur sleuths and a myriad of other town folks with “interesting” past lives.
The crux of the story is that the beloved, local septuagenarian, Jane (who everybody loves – or do they?) was murdered. The person to discover the body of Jane was none other than one of the owners (a twin in fact) of a mystery bookshop named Killer Chocolates. Alex Wright discovered Jane’s body as a result of a pre-arranged meeting between Jane and Alex to discuss the potential of Jane having discovered, through a televised true crime show, that a local resident was indeed a murderer prior to moving to Harriston, Montana. As Alex discovered the body (and it turns out she is also a major beneficiary of Jane’s estate – unbeknownst to her actually) – she is a prime suspect in Jane’s murder. To make sure she is not accused of the crime – Alex and her twin Hannah must team up and “chat” with the residents of Harriston to find the actual culprit. Now – if you are a fan of cozy mysteries – this is not uncommon – having amateur sleuths trying to solve the murder(s) that occur. I think the bit of twist for this series is that the sleuth is a set of twins.
Love the name of the twins mystery themed bookshop -> Murder and Mayhem. The twins also sell home-made chocolates as well, with fillings named after poisons often used in literature like their December’s featured chocolate Candy Cane Coniine (a subtly flavored white-chocolate peppermint ganache with crushed candy canes in a white-chocolate shell. Each month, the bookshop will feature one of their Killer Chocolates in conjunction with a mystery novel. A splendid marketing idea! So in between running a burgeoning new business – the twins work at solving the murder(s). As the story unfolds – we learn of a second murder… and time is running out for Alex, especially since the list of suspects is being whittled down and Christmas is fast approaching.
The clues unfolded in such a manner that it was not until close to the end of the book that I actually figured out who the real murderer was. Just the way I like my mysteries 😊. I found the portrayal of the myriad of townsfolks very entertaining and at times really good red herrings to the story. I was surprised as to how much detail we got for each potential suspect, which provided depth to the residents of Harriston.
Another aspect I quite enjoyed was that the twins were not too young nor too old at age forty-five – characters with some life experience, still looking for Mr. Right and getting started with second careers – a reflection of today’s world. Individuals still scoping out what life has to offer and open to all possibilities and adventures. This is especially true as Alex, as a young adult, had originally considered going into law enforcement but her mother discouraged it as an inappropriate career so that Alex went into finance instead. And now after all these years – she was finally pursuing one of her passions.
As a debut novel by this author – I found the story had all the necessary ingredients for an entertaining cozy mystery that captured my interest and held it throughout the reading of the book. I love discovering new to me Canadian authors who write in one of my favorite go-to genres for entertainment. I highly recommend A Christmas Candy Killing for those readers who like cozy mysteries, chocolate and Christmas. Settle in for a pleasant and entertaining read.