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Dead and Ganache

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Member Reviews

Dead and Ganache:  A Chocolate Whisperer Mystery
By Colette London
Kensington
October 2017

Review by Cynthia Chow

Hayden Mundy Moore rarely receives credit for the work she does, preferring to labor behind-the-scenes as she secretly improves chocolate recipes for her clients.  The self-described Chocolate Whisperer was traveling to Saint-Malo, France for the retirement party of the mentor who led her down the path of chocolate appreciation, chcolaterie owner Philippe Vetault.  His au revoir party was to coincide with the seaside town’s Fest-Noz, a Brittany nighttime party celebrated with fireworks, food, music, and dancing.  Before Philippe can make the special announcement he promised, Hayden finds him stabbed to death, with an angry man standing above him.  Local police refuse to arrest the gardener Hayden nicknames “Angry Bloody Hands Man,” inciting Hayden into action and investigating on her own.  With her usual best friend/bodyguard Danny Jamieson grounded due to a detached retina, there’s no one to reign in her impulsive, rather chaotic pursuit for justice.  Enter financial adviser Travis Turner, who has made his way to France to surprise Hayden, only to once again find her mixing chocolate with murder.  

Hayden has never met Travis Turner, but it’s not from lack of trying.  The owner of the husky, undeniably sexy voice has proven to be frustratingly resistant to Hayden’s teasing come-ons, refusing to overcome his aviophobia to board a plane and meet his client in person.  For someone with an abundance of curiosity and stubborn resilience, meeting her “keeper” and the one in charge of her finances has been the White Whale of Hayden’s existence.  Until now.

Travis is the opposite of Danny’s all-in, going rogue, avoid-the-police approach to investigations.  Au contraire, Travis has become very cozy with l ’agent Melanie Flamant, who takes a far more lackadaisical approach to her questioning of Philippe’s unmournful wife and his angry business neighbors.  Of course, being involved in a multitude of murders has had its effect on Hayden, who nevertheless remains unwaveringly loyal to those in the chocolate business.  The one opinion Danny and Travis share is that Hayden is far too trusting, placing her faith in people until proven otherwise.  Yet it is Hayden’s plucky optimism that makes her such a delight for readers, not to mention her enthusiasm for all aspects of chocolate.  The nuances of chocolate delicacies are only enhanced by the French setting, not to mention the sensual, gastronomical way of life.  This is a genuinely fun mystery, helmed by a relentlessly positive character who perseveres despite the death around her.  Chocolate, intrigue, and death has never been so entertaining.
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Hayley Mundy Moore has the perfect life - she is a "chocolate whisperer", an expert on all things chocolate and has the enviable task of traveling all over the world doing chocolate consultations.  She fixes recipes, and tweaks ingredients and techniques. But she also seems to be a bit of a "murder whisperer" finding crime and mayhem wherever she goes.  And, along with the help of her friend and financial advisor Travis, she is as competent a criminal investigator as she is a chocolatier.  In this story Hayley has come to the coast of Brittany in France to meet with the man who was her mentor early in her career, and when she finds that he was murdered she along with Travis will stop at nothing to find the guilty party.  This is a great series with a wonderful setting, interesting characters, and, oh yes- lots of delicious chocolate.  Have a box near you when you read this - you' want to dig into the chocolate and the mystery.
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