In Cold Chocolate by Dorothy St. James
I've been a fan of cozy mysteries since my mom handed me a Diane Mott Davidson novel. In Cold Chocolate was clearly not the first in the series, but I caught up easily enough. It also wasn't long before my mouth was watering for salted chocolate turtles, spicy truffles, and more. I can't wait to test out the two recipes in the back of the novel.
This is the third book in the series. Charity Penn is finding her place in the small beach town of Camellia Beach, South Carolina. Her handsome neighbor and his son are still becoming good friends, much to the dismay of the man's ex/boy's mother. Jody Dalton makes it clear that she dislikes Charity. Jody also seems to be very gleeful when announcing that Charity's lie is going to have her losing everything. Charity has no idea what she's talking about.
It's time for the turtles to hatch on the beach. Charity is invited to tag along and watch. She ends up stumbling onto another murder and getting grazed by a bullet at the same time. Jody is arrested for the murder of her lover, Cassidy Jones. When Jody's son asks Charity to prove his mom didn't do it, Charity agrees.
It's peak tourism season and the chocolate shop's business is booming. Between the murder, business at the shop, and whatever is going on with this "lie" Charity supposedly told, she has her hands full.
I liked the characters. I loved the descriptions of the town and the chocolates. I am kind of bummed that I pegged the murderer's identity way too early. The moment the police came to the crime scene to investigate the murder, I had the killer pegged. It was a bit predictable to me.
In the end, I would have loved In Cold Chocolate far more if I'd had a harder time solving the crime. It was a good read, but the bottom line was I knew the outcome long before I think I should have.