Thursday, March 09, 2023

A Study in Chocolate by Amber Royer

A Study in Chocolate (Bean to Bar Mystery, #5)A Study in Chocolate by Amber Royer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another clever chocolate-forward puzzler from the pen of Amber Royer!

Synopsis from the author: Felicity Koerber's bean to bar chocolate shop on Galveston's historic Strand is expanding, as it has become a gathering spot for the community, despite having been the scene of multiple murders. Artists she met while doing a chocolate sculpture are now working out of the shop. So when Felicity is invited to tea by an eccentric art collector, she's intrigued, especially when she gets asked to pose for a portrait done with chocolate on chocolate. Only, where there is a murder the next day at the same historic house where the tea was held, one of Felicity's artist friends becomes the main suspect.
When the killer threatens that unless Felicity unravels the murder, one of her two love interests will be the next victim, she finds herself unwittingly at the center of a puzzle with a Sherlock Holmes-obsessed murderer who wants to be the next Moriarty - and wants to cast Felicity as Sherlock.
Felicity starts finding unexpected connections between her friends and acquaintances and must deal with the idea that someone who knows her is a murderer. At the same time, she has to keep her business running, despite construction dust and unruly customers - and an unexpected order for thousands of truffles. 

Satchmo the retired police-dog-turned-therapy dog returns to help her sniff out a few clues, and the kidnapping of Ruffles, the quirky artist's cat, helps lead Felicity into the puzzle. Can Felicity solve it in time to protect the people she cares about from becoming additional victims?

My Review: A Study in Chocolate is another well-done addition to author Amber Royer's virtually delicious Bean-to-Bar Mystery series. Picking up only a short time after the conclusion of the previous novel, Felicity Koerber's renown as a sleuth may be outpacing her reputation for creating gourmet chocolate fantasies. Although understandably pleased that she's been able to help bring killers to justice, her true focus remains on her culinary and, more recently, artistic culinary endeavors. That is, until Logan is threatened.

The book's title serves as a teasing reference to the Sherlock Holmes puzzler, A Study in Scarlet, and learning the literary ties in each of the books in the series is something I look forward to as each new story drops. In this instance, Royer enhances her story with Holmes-like elements, making for a fun and entertaining mystery.

The question of the Logan-Felicity-Arlo love triangle is ongoing. I enjoy the drawing out of Felicity making a choice, though, as I have waffled from Team Arlo to Team Logan and back again over the course of the series.

Besides the clever tie-ins, romantic tension, and solid mystery, the starring feature of the entire series continues to be the chocolate. I always learn something new and interesting about it and always seek out and devour every morsel I can find in the house while reading one of these books.

I recommend A STUDY IN CHOCOLATE to cozy mystery readers who enjoy culinary-themed stories and fans of the previous books in the series.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author through Lone Star Book Blog Tours.

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