Chocolate-whisperer Hayden Mundy Moore has just arrived in Portland, Oregon, where she’s about to scarf soufflés and sip cacao-based cocktails at her friend’s engagement party. Fresh from nabbing her first candy-covered killer, the last thing Hayden wants to do is mix her love of chocolate with criminal mischief again. But then the groom-to-be turns up dead before beginning his renowned Chocolate-After-Dark tour. . .
Hayden’s friends insist that Declan’s death was a freak accident, but she knows there’s no mistaking the bitter aftertaste of homicide. In the midst of habañero hot chocolate and mocha-chunk gelato, a choco-crazed killer waits to strike again. Hayden will need to use more than her extraordinarily gifted taste buds to bring this murderer to justice, but she just might have bitten off more than she can chew in the process. . .
Why reading this book is like living inside a chocolate shop
When the first book in my “chocolate whisperer” cozy mystery series came out earlier this year, I was thrilled. I couldn’t wait for readers to meet Hayden Mundy Moore, my chocolate expert turned amateur sleuth—for them to discover firsthand Hayden’s world of traveling, perfecting chocolates, and hanging out with her sidekicks, Danny and Travis. To my (endless) delight, readers liked Criminal Confections…and they continue liking it even now, months after it was released. Hooray! To say I’m happy about that would be like saying caramel praline truffles are “okay.” It would be an understatement, is what I mean. So, thanks, everyone!
Some of the most frequent feedback about Criminal Confections surprised me, though. I heard variations of, “This story had TOO MUCH CHOCOLATE.” (Is that really a thing?) Or, “I had to stop reading and go bake brownies.” (Hey, I’ve got a great recipe for that coming soon on my website!) Or, “I was craving chocolate like crazy by the time I finished this book.” (Me, too!)
I can only conclude that these folks need more chocolate in their lives, not less. Right? They need to be helped along with samples of the best small-batch chocolate chip cookies, the most delicious chocolate butter, and the tastiest chocolate “un-cinnamon” rolls (one of the recipes featured in Dangerously Dark, the second book in the series). They need to whip up a batch of almost-instant (but no less scrumptious) “You Won’t Believe It” chocolate mousse (a three-ingredient recipe featured in Criminal Confections), or try a drizzle of hot-fudge sauce on their oatmeal one rainy morning. Why not? Chocolate makes almost everything better.
I like to think that chocolate makes my books better, too. While I couldn’t give an expert like Hayden too much competition (I don’t have any couverture spoons, for one thing), I’ve learned a lot of interesting things about chocolate—and I love to share them! I understand the difference between conching and tempering, and I’ve visited enough artisanal chocolateries, both in the US and abroad, to know that for me, Belgian chocolates trump Parisian delicacies (surprise!), British confections are a dream come true, and US artisans make some of the most intriguingly creative bars. But I still can’t say I’ve had too much chocolate. Not yet. Maybe not ever.
Chocolate is much too versatile for me to ever have “too much” of it. In a cake, it’s a happy birthday shared with loved ones. In a cookie, it’s a welcome-home-from-school treat. In a cocktail, it’s sophisticated, and in an over-the-top chocolate stout affogato, it’s (really) eye opening. Then too, the chocolate industry belongs between the pages of a book. Like so many other “luxury” industries, chocolatiering is full of drama and intrigue, back-stabbing and secrets-stealing, personal conflicts and egoists run wild…and so much more!
Given all that, how could I not pack as much chocolate as possible into every book? I went all out in Criminal Confections (set across the bay from San Francisco), and I didn’t take my foot off the gas for Dangerously Dark (set in the up-and-coming foodie city of Portland, Oregon), either. But now I want to know—can there be too much chocolate in a chocolate-themed mystery? Is it a bad thing to read about something and immediately want to make it? (If so, I’m guilty.)
Please tell me what you think! In the meantime, I’ll be making some delicious chocolate mug cake (courtesy of Cooking Classy!) and working on sending Hayden to London for book number three!
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Colette London sometimes eats salad. She always eats chocolate. And she’d love for you to join her chocolate-loving community! If email isn’t your style, but you want to get new recipes and occasional book news, drop by her Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+ pages right now. Let her know you came from this site, and she’ll send you a bonus recipe!
p.s. – Colette London is a pseudonym for a best-selling novelist who’s published more than three dozen books worldwide. Want to use your Google Fu to find out her secret identity? Nah. Don’t spoil the surprise. Use your powers for good and order Dangerously Dark instead!