A CHRISTMAS CANDY KILLING by Christina Romeril
SERIES: Killer Chocolate Mysteries #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Crooked Lane Books
RELEASE DATE: October 11, 2022
Their chocolates are to die for—but things aren’t so sweet when a real killer comes to town, in this debut mystery perfect for fans of Joanne Fluke and Laura Childs.
Identical twin sisters Alex and Hannah are the owners of Murder and Mayhem, a mystery bookshop that sells their famous poison-themed Killer Chocolates. But now, there’s a real killer in their midst. Shortly before Christmas, their septuagenarian neighbor, Jane, confides to Alex that a murderer from a true-crime show has taken up residence in the village. Unfortunately, she’s also shared her suspicions with town gossip Netta. The next morning, Alex shows up at Jane’s house to watch the show, but instead discovers Jane’s body, with a box of Killer Chocolates nearby.
The sheriff quickly zeroes in on two suspects: Alex, a beneficiary in Jane’s will, and Zack, a handyman who was seen leaving the crime scene. But Alex maintains her innocence and sets out to draft a list of other potential suspects—townsfolk who’d recently been seen arguing with Jane.
When Alex gets hold of Jane’s journal, she begins to understand the truth. But a bearer of ill tidings is arriving early this year—and Alex just might not make it to Christmas.
New cozy mystery series make me happy. Christmas cozy mysteries also make me happy. So do cozy mysteries that I can totally see being made into one of Hallmark’s Signature Mystery series. I got all of the above in A Christmas Candy Killing by Christina Romeril, and I’m – of course – happy about it 🙂
Alex and her twin sister Hanna (spelled Hannah in the book blurb but Hanna in the actual book so idk) have opened a mystery-bookstore-slash-mystery-chocolate-shop in a quaint Montana village – a place (the village and the bookstore) that I would definitely be frequenting were it to exist in real life. Alex’s elderly friend Jane tends to see a local fugitive under every true-crime-TV-show rock, but this time her furtive request for Alex to stop by the next morning seems different somehow. And then when Jane is found murdered, Alex knows there must be something to whatever Jane thought she saw on the true crime show she’d been referring to. A couple problems, though: Jane never told Alex who she suspected or which show she’d been watching… and the smug sheriff has Alex in her sights as a top suspect.
I loved the premise of this plot, and the way Romeril weaves the clues together for readers who are clever enough to pick up on them. It has an easy and smartly-paced flow that, yes, did remind me of the mysteries I love to watch on Hallmark. I’m always bemoaning the fact that they stop the mysteries every holiday season for Christmas movies when there are plenty of great Christmas cozies that would make great movies – A Christmas Candy Killing being one such book! The characters (protagonists, suspects and other supporting players) are nicely layered, and I am curious to see where the author takes them in future books – particularly the hint of romance potential for both of the twins. I loved, loved, loved Pastor Tom (who is interested in Alex) and I hope we see lots more of him in this series.
Bottom Line: A Christmas Candy Killing is an entertaining (and completely clean) debut to what promises to be a thoroughly enjoyable new cozy mystery series. The charming Montana village of Harriston is the perfect setting for this story, and its residents reminded me of the people of Jessica Fletcher’s infamous Cabot Cove. In fact, nearly the whole book reads like a tightly-produced cozy mystery TV show, with the scenes, personalities, and movement of the plot all easily visualized in the mind’s eye. I couldn’t read fast enough but I also wasn’t ready for it to end – and I’m eagerly waiting on the next installment for answers to a couple of minor questions which were left unresolved. Readers will love twin sisters Alex & Hanna, their chocolates, their mystery bookshop, their community, their sleuthing skills… and even their sweet dog Watson. The perfect choice for your next read!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4.5 stars / loved it
Christina Romeril loves to plot murders, especially by poisoning. When she’s not plotting how to kill one of her characters she’s coming up with ways to dispose of the body. Since writing her debut novel her husband’s friends have been regularly checking on his well-being.
Christina also loves to read, eat chocolates, and travel when she’s not in her she shed writing. She grew up in Southern Ontario and spent most of her summers in Muskoka swimming, boating, and generally getting into mischief. She’s lived on both coasts of Canada and has a love of being near the water and close to a forest. Thus, it makes perfect sense that she moved to the prairies of Southern Alberta over twenty years ago.
During the warmer months you’ll find her escaping to nearby Waterton Lakes National Park with her cooler stocked full of chocolate and pastries. Occasionally, the once avid hiker will even set out on one of the many hiking trails and hope she doesn’t run into a hungry bear.
Christina is a member of Sisters in Crime and enjoys interacting on social media.
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What about you? What makes you want to read A Christmas Candy Killing by Christina Romeril?