A chocolatier’s caring nature and lack of self-preservation skills put her in danger yet again.
Hayden Mundy Moore, whose trust fund requires her to travel six months a year, is visiting Saint-Malo to see her mentor, Philippe Vetault, who’s retiring from the chocolate business. The Vetaults’ 17th-century château is run as a superior B&B by Philippe's wife, Hélène, who seems to Hayden to be acting both scattered and drunk. Hayden is devastated when Philippe is murdered at his retirement party and annoyed that the police, in the form of Mélanie Flamant, are not doing enough to catch the killer. Danny Jamieson, Hayden’s oldest friend and enforcer, a tough guy with a criminal past and two university degrees who’d ordinarily be on the scene, is laid up. Instead, Hayden finally gets to see Travis Turner, the sexy-voiced financial adviser she’s never met, when he turns up to protect her after claiming for years that he has a fear of flying. Philippe had been in talks to sell his business to his daughter Nathalie’s fiance, the wealthy scion of the Poyet family, who own many chocolate stores. Despite Travis’ protests, kindhearted Hayden, no stranger to murder (The Semi-Sweet Hereafter, 2016, etc.), investigates and finds that not everyone loved Philippe. His surly apprentice, Mathieu Camara, only confirms Hayden’s conviction that the man she saw standing over Philippe is the murderer. Hubert Bernard is not only the gardener and part owner of the château, but also Helene’s lover. Hayden, who’s jealous when Travis cultivates the acquaintance of Flamant in order to keep up with the police investigation, finds herself flirting with a French pop star who’s making a series of music videos in the area—and whose camera drone may hold the key to the murder.
Chocolate lovers will appreciate the detailed information on all things chocolate; the less besotted may find the heroine too ditzy to be a credible sleuth.