Why do cozy mystery sleuths always end up with the best jobs? Take Alex: along with her identical twin sister, Hannah, she acts as co-proprietor of Murder and Mayhem, a mystery bookshop that serves up poison-themed chocolates. On the flipside, after her friend and fellow true crime enthusiast Jane is found murdered, the sheriff has a short list of suspects and Alex’s name is right at the top. Not exactly a great trade-off for such a cool job.
Fortunately, author Christina Romeril in her debut cozy, A Christmas Candy Killing, has provided Alex with all the proper qualities to prove her innocence. She’s smart and generally collected. Romeril has crafted a grounded investigator who relies more on logic rather than brute-forcing her way through a mystery. Plus, as someone ensconced in crime in both her personal and professional life, she has a theoretical knowledge of murder that translates to well-thought-out snooping. This isn’t a cozy with explosions and whistles, but that makes the moments Alex does take a risk all the more pulse-pounding.
Yet it’s not just a fun job and solid detective work that makes this a success. All of this would be for nothing if Alex didn’t inhabit a fully realized, almost idyllic world—there’s a murder on, after all. Where on earth could a shop made up of toxic-punned chocolates and books succeed? Montana, apparently, with an absolutely charming lot of locals ready to help and hinder Alex’s prying. From unrequited love over freezer-burnt casseroles to a gossipy coterie of true crime buffs, Romeril has infused plenty of unique flavor to keep this new series going a good, long while.
Ultimately, A Christmas Candy Killing is a solid debut with the added bonus of featuring one of the best jobs in cozy fiction.
Title: A Christmas Candy Killing
Series: Killer Chocolate #1
Author: Christina Romeril
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: October 11, 2022
Classification: Cozy Mystery
Romeril’s Website | Publisher’s Page
Note: I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
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