Who doesn’t love chocolate? The Foster family of Kansas City has had decidedly mixed feelings about it ever since the two eldest Foster brothers conned their innocent siblings into selling them their modestly successful boxed chocolate company, then took it public and made it a multimillion-dollar concern. Could the poorer relations be the miscreants responsible for sniping at the shocking pink blimp their wealthier brothers have hired to promote the company’s 50th anniversary? Pesky restaurateur Heaven Lee (Red Beans and Vice, 2001, etc.) is sitting right there in the Plaza Mall with her newly divorced pal Stephanie Simpson, a distant Foster relative and owner of her own hand-dipped chocolates emporium, when the airship crashes and its pilot dies. Despite warnings from another pal, Sgt. Bonnie Weber, Heaven infiltrates the Foster’s factory and not only overhears the two brothers arguing about a rotten deal one of them has struck with Oliver Bodden of the West African Cacao Company to underwrite their expansion plans, but is on the spot to find Stephanie, murder weapon in hand, hovering over Oliver, dead in a vat of chocolate. The ever-bustling Heaven also finds time to (1) snuggle with her years-younger beau Hank, (2) Christmas shop with her daughter Iris, (3) catch Iris’s years-older lover smoking something illegal in the john, (4) attend a female bodybuilder’s competition in which a Foster relative and a rival seriously spat, and (5) wrap up the Foster vendetta by New Year’s.
A brainless plot, but Temple includes yummy-sounding chocolate recipes, alas not sampled.