Title: A Christmas Candy Killing (A Killer Chocolate Mystery)
Author: Christina Romeril
Published on: 11 October 2022
Genre: Cozy Mystery
A Christmas Candy Killing is the first book in Christina Romeril’s Killer Chocolate Mystery series.
Identical twin sisters Hanna and Alex are the owners of Murder and Mayhem, a mystery bookshop that also sells their famous poison-themed Killer Chocolates. Shortly before Christmas, one of their neighbors – Jane, confides to Alex that a murderer from a true-crime show has taken up residence in their village.
Jane has formerly accused many villagers of being criminals – courtesy, her addiction to true-crime shows. But this time, she might have struck gold… or rather, murder. Jane asks Alex to come over to her place so that both of them can watch the true crime show and Alex can judge for herself if one of the villagers is a murderer. But they never get to watch the show together…. when Alex reaches Jane’s place, she finds the front door unlocked. And when Jane is nowhere to be seen, Alex walks into the bedroom to find Jane lying in a pool of blood.
Just when Alex had opened the door, she thought she saw someone walking out of the back door. A hooded figure… who very well might have been Jane’s murderer. The sheriff zeroes in on two suspects – one of whom is arrested for Jane’s murder. The second suspect is none other than Alex – as Alex was listed as one of the beneficiaries in Jane’s will. To prove her innocence and bring Jane’s killer to justice, Alex decides to solve the case… Well, this isn’t as simple as eating a piece of chocolate, you see.
OMG! What a fantabulous, completely engrossing and delicious (the killer chocolates are to die for! pun intended) cozy series debut. I absolutely loved and enjoyed reading every bit of this book. Be it the story telling, the characters (I love twins, fictional and real!), the mystery and chocolate-and-murder-themed cozy mystery – absolutely marvelous!
The story begins with Alex and Hanna having just another busy day at Murder and Mayhem. Their Killer Chocolates have gained fame and people from the neighboring towns come over to buy chocolates and books. Jane and her book club members have just finished their meeting and Jane confides in Alex that they have a murderer in their village. Jane has previously ‘accused’ neighbors of being criminals but this time, it looks like she was right.
Jane also confided her doubts to Netta at the post office and the murderer overheard their conversation. The next thing you know, Jane is brutally stabbed in her own house. A young handyman named Zach is arrested for the crime – his fingerprints were found at the crime scene. Also, he has a criminal record. But Zach claims his innocence. He admits he was the hooded figure that Alex saw that morning – but Jane had shown him where the spare key is kept so he made use of it to get in and pick up his tools.
The local sheriff wants to close the case before Christmas and refuses to look beyond Zach’s arrest. Soon, Alex learns she too is a suspect – Jane has made her a beneficiary and Alex gets to inherit most of Jane’s stuff. Alex decides to find the killer – how difficult would that be, eh? All she has to do is replay the true crime shows, find the murderer and case solved, right?
Well, it is not as easy as it sounds. For one, the true crime shows that Jane recorded are gone; erased, probably by the killer. Also, with hundreds of true crime shows, how will Alex know which is the one that Jane was talking about?
We also have a dash of budding romance here. Tom, the local vicar and Alex’s neighbor is recently widowed. They get along well and when Tom learns Alex is sleuthing, he decides to partner with her. Where there is romance, there is a third person wanting to throw a wrench in the love story (not always though). We have Penelope, four-times-divorced and looking for husband no #5 and she has her eyes set on Tom.
Alex runs the bookstore while Hanna, her twin, is in charge of making chocolates. I really loved the bond that the two sisters share – they have had their share of failed romance, mummy issues, and career choices. But it was good to see them work at their store as well as solve the case together.
The identity of the killer was a huge shocker. This was a wolf-in-sheep’s clothing kinda situation. Alex comes face-to-face with the killer, not once but twice. The first time, she somehow managed to escape. The second time… um, well let’s just say the killer was caught red-handed at the end.
I absolutely loved Christina’s writing. A perfect and fantastic debut novel. If you are looking for a Christmas themed cozy mystery filled with chocolates and mystery, I recommend you to give Christina Romeril’s A Christmas Candy Killing a try.
BTW, there are chocolate recipes at the end. As a chocolate-making enthusiast (ahem!), I cannot wait to try these recipes. 🙂
Before I end this review, some of the chocolates available in Alex and Hanna’s Christmas Killer Chocolates include Candy Cane Coniine, Gingerbread Gelsemine, Fruitcake Fluorine, Strychnine Strawberry…. Ooh my! Where do I buy these?
I received an ARC from Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.
Poison chocolates–that sounds fun!
There’s a mystery classic by the same name. 😊