Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
The characters you loved in Hot Chocolate are back with more escapades of life in Houston’s wealthy River Oaks.
Lila Mae is in a tizzy over the Chocolate Ball – a huge event that she and her sisters, Dorothea and Madge, host every year. But due to unusual circumstances, Dorothea and Madge dump everything in Lila Mae’s lap. If it weren’t for Julian Gillespie of Event Is King, the Chocolate Ball would have melted.
Bernie, the Alcott sisters’ 92-year old father, decides he wants his Bentley back. The sisters and Bambi are horrified. They hire Joseph’s cousin Chewie as Bernie’s new chauffeur.
Wolfram, Lila Mae’s new astrologer, gives clues of things to come. This leaves Lila Mae and her sidekick Amelia with brows furrowed.
On her day off, Amelia decides to bake a chocolate blueberry pie. She discovers she needs to make a grocery run. When she returns home, she discovers her kitchen door is slightly ajar. Arms loaded with groceries, she toes the door open.
Three things catch her attention: a vase of flowers on the kitchen island that was not there when she left the house, her marble rolling pin covered with blood… and a dead body on her kitchen floor.
Amelia’s eyes drift toward the dining room and beyond – is the house empty, or is there a murderer in the house? She backs up, turns and hurries outside. After setting the bags on the ground, she slips back into the kitchen and snaps a picture of the dead guy. Then she calls Detective Chance Walker, Lila Mae and finally… 9-1-1.
I waited patiently greatly anticipating the second book in the Alcott Family Adventures as a result of being totally captivated by the first book. This second book carries on from the previous story, with the family surprised by the fact that Dorothea (at 55 years old) finding herself pregnant…and at the same time as Bambi, the now previous private nurse to Bernie Alcott (Dorothea’s 92 year old father!). And the father to Bambi’s child is Berni and NOT Bambi’s recently murdered hubby, Jimmy Ray.
Due to the murder of Bambi’s husband, Jimmy Ray Chaline, in the previous book, Bambi turns out to be rich beyond her wildest dreams. So what does any recently rich woman do???? Shop of course!!! With the help of the Alcott sisters, Bambi purchases and furnishes a house (or should I say mansion). It was nice to see Bambi get out of the trailer park (though she does own it thanks to Jimmy Ray and his hidden investments). I felt that Bambi gained a bit of depth as a character in this book. Bambi had some touching, heartfelt moments trying to calm Dorothea and her drama with respect to being pregnant again at 55. I do love that the sisters Alcott are cognizant and thoughtful of others (even with their opulent, rich lifestyle) and plan a surprise baby shower for Bambi only as this is her first baby and try not to combine it with a shower for Dorothea.
The romance continues between Lily Mae and Chance, though I must say, a bit more pizzazz might be worth writing in. I found their relationship to be boring in all honesty. The story does contain budding romances for two other new couples…can’t wait to see where they go!
I am happy to once again report that I did not figure out “who dunnit” until the very end. And that is just the way I like my cozy mysteries.
I would have to say the most engaging storyline had to do with Lily Mae’s pooch, Louie, and his fight with the next door neighbor…a bully of a cat! This is when I felt Lily Mae had the most passion.
We get to have further interactions with Uncle Tito. And let me tell you he is an interesting and engaging character, with whom I can see more potential as the series continues. And since he was hired as a consultant with the local police, I would think he would be around more as the story continues.
While I enjoyed the continuation of the Alcott story, I felt this book did not have the “spark” I found in the first book. Now that is not to say that I did not enjoy the story and the characters because I did. And a chuckle or two emanated from me as I was reading this delightful cozy mystery. I will wait once again with baited breath for the third installment in the series.
I’m glad you enjoyed ‘Bitter Chocolate’.