The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss
A Domestic Diva Mystery #9
By Krista Davis
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Domestic Diva Sophie Winston is in charge of the sweetest event in Old Town this summer. Amore Chocolates is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary with a chocolate tasting at the mansion of the company’s CEO, Joe Merano—and Sophie is running the show. With cookies, candy, and five kinds of chocolate cake, it’s a chocolate lover’s dream! But when Joe goes missing, the celebration becomes bittersweet. And when Sophie discovers the body of a competing chocolatier in the guesthouse, the event turns downright deadly.
As if that wasn’t enough, Sophie’s been receiving daily boxes of sweet treats. After ruling out her new beau and her exes, Sophie wonders if someone’s trying to send her a message—and if she’s next on a chocoholic’s hit list…(Goodreads)
The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss is the ninth installment in the delightful Domestic Diva Mystery series. Sophie is an event planner in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, and is in charge of local business Amore Chocolates’ sixtieth anniversary extravaganza. Amore has sponsored a recipe contest, and the chosen winners, along with their winning chocolate recipes, are to be highlighted at a gala taking place at the Merano family mansion. Everything goes well until Sophie learns that the host, Joe Merano, has been missing since the night before, and the family suspects he has been kidnapped. To add to the mounting stress, she discovers the strangled body of Amore’s new competition, Belgian chocolatier Arnaud Turnebe. Of course, the family members are the prime suspects, and even Sophie is briefly considered a suspect. Sophie is asked by the family to find Joe, and the more she looks into things, the more secrets she finds, and the body count rises.
This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series, and Chocolate Kiss is a really strong entry. I love Sophie, the always calm and collected consummate hostess with plenty of food and the perfect table settings. However, she is not too perfect, and her inquisitive nature is her worst (and possible best) asset. Her nemesis of sorts is Natasha, and she fancies herself the next, better Martha Stewart. Even though she has a local television show, she is constantly in search of the next “good thing” that will bring her national fame. Unfortunately, she is so over-the-top and lacks common sense, and her ideas are at best eccentric and at worst downright bizarre. She is a polarizing figure to readers, and you either love her or hate her. Personally, I find her hilarious in her cluelessness.
Sophie’s other friends and family are a quirky, loveable mix, and most of them appear in this outing. I particularly enjoy Mars (her ex-husband) and their dog Daisy. They add comic relief and depth to the story. They have become like old friends. The new characters presented in this mystery are equally interesting and well developed. They provide excellent twists and turns as the mystery unfolds.
My only quibble, and it is small, is the quasi love rectangle that is going on. The amiable ex-husband, the ex-boyfriend police detective, and the current jealous lawyer boyfriend are a bit much all together. However, I enjoy each of them as characters and hope to see them in future installments.
The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss is full of murder, secret identities, poison, missing persons, and chocolate treats. Ms. Davis weaves it all together seamlessly, and her writing is flowing, yet clean, and compels the reader to keep reading until the last page. Delicious looking recipes are included, and I will definitely try some of them.
I greatly enjoyed The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss and highly recommend it to fans of Davis, foodies, and those who enjoy a smart protagonist.