Dueling chocolatiers spell trouble for the stalwart citizens of Tinker’s Cove.
When Corney Clarke brings Ted Stillings, editor of the Pennysaver, the shocking news that Fern’s Famous Fudge has fallen to No. 2 in Maine House and Cottage magazine’s “Best Candy on the Coast” rankings, he hesitates not a moment before sending Lucy Stone (English Tea Murder, 2011, etc.) to interview the new winner, Trey Meacham of Chanticleer Chocolates. Unfortunately, before she can ask Meacham why he’s flavored his Mucho Macho truffles, priced at $5 apiece, with beef jerky and German fingerling potatoes, she’s stopped by the sight of Officer Barney Culpepper dragging Max Fraser’s frozen body out of the lake. Now Dora, granddaughter to the founder of Fern’s Famous, has two problems: the threat to her family’s empire from Chanticleer, and the demise of her kind but feckless ex-husband, who’d promised for ever so long to come up with some money so their daughter Lily can finish college. Lucy’s daughter Sara, who works at Fern’s, lets Lucy in on Dora’s secret: it’s not the penuche but the naughty chocolates, available only by mail order, that are keeping the business afloat. Lucy lets Sara stay at Fern’s but draws a line when Tamzin Graves, Meacham’s sex-bomb sales clerk, tries to hire Zoe, the youngest Stone, at Chanticleer. That line, of course, doesn’t stop Lucy from trying to discover whether Max met his end by accident or by more sinister means.
As usual, Tinker's Covers must huddle together to protect themselves from those nasty outsiders in Meier’s numbing 21st.