Don’t dare call moody un-foodie chocoholic Charity Penn, the heroine of this overly busy but compulsively readable series launch from St. James (Oak and Dagger and two other White House Gardener mysteries), anything but Penn. “Charity” was chosen by her rich, icy grandmother Cristobel Penn, reluctant custodian of a college-age son’s unplanned baby. Cut to blustery Madison, Wis., where Penn has won cooking lessons at a Camellia Beach, S.C., chocolate shop in a contest she never entered. Since Penn’s hacker-surfer pal Craig “Skinny” McGee happens to be headed to a surfing event an hour’s drive from Camellia Beach, he agrees to investigate the mysterious contest. Soon after arriving in South Carolina, Skinny drowns in a chocolate vat—in the shop where Charity “won” lessons. When the local police say that they found drugs in his jeans, Penn snaps and heads to Camellia. Will she solve the murder? Learn her unknown mother’s identity? It’s a circus with too many rings, but readers will cheer Penn every step of the way. Agent: Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Struck with guilt, Penn heads to the southern beach town to investigate why he was killed. But as wary as she is of the locals, she finds herself lured into their eccentric vibe, letting her defenses melt away and even learning the art of crafting delicious chocolates. That is, until delight turns bittersweet as she steps straight into the midst of a deadly plot to destroy the seaside town. Now, only Penn’s quick thinking and a mysterious cask of rare chocolate can save the town she’s learning to love.
Rich and decadent, Asking for Truffle, the first in a new cozy series by Dorothy St. James, is sure to be a delectable read for fans of JoAnna Carl and Joanne Fluke.
Praise for Asking for Truffle:
“Compulsively readable...readers will cheer Penn every step of the way.”
“The first in a new series for St. James features an appealingly reflective heroine and a varied roster of suspects.”
“Splendid...An easy reading cozy mystery that keeps you hooked from page one with delicious characters and a delightful story.”
“All that’s enjoyable about a cozy mystery: quirkiness, danger, feisty pets, humor, and chocolate...An addictive mystery that keeps you up late reading.”
—San Francisco Book Review
“I couldn’t put the book down...I highly recommend Asking for Truffle as your go-to book for a great September read.”
“Dorothy St. James has crafted a delicious concoction of murder and mayhem in her debut title Asking for Truffle. The spunky heroine, Penn, makes a refreshingly no nonsense amateur sleuth, working to discover who murdered her longtime friend while taking on the delicious task of learning how to make artisan chocolates with her adorable dog Stella at her side. I enjoyed every bite.”
—Jenn McKinlay, NYT and USA Today bestselling author of the Cupcake Bakery mysteries
"Asking for Truffle is a splendid twist on the cozy, offering a complex heroine, a coastal town full of secrets, and surprises around every corner. A heady delight for chocolate lovers and an enticing beginning to a new mystery series. I look forward to many more installments from St. James and her heroine, Penn."
—Bailey Cates, NYT bestselling author of the Magical Bakery mysteries
"Yum! Wear a bib when you read this one! The chocolate descriptions and the recipes will definitely have you drooling. An interesting heroine and a town filled with quirky characters, plus chocolate—what’s not to like? Dorothy St. James did a super job."
—JoAnna Carl, national bestselling author of the Chocoholic mysteries
"Asking for Truffle is a story as richly layered as the rare chocolate it features, with interesting and quirky characters readers will love, all wrapped in a lush setting that made me want to stake out a spot in town and stay there. Readers will definitely wish they could visit the Chocolate Box after reading this story."
—Jacklyn Brady, national bestselling author of the Piece of Cake mysteries
"An intriguing premise that will draw you in and keep you guessing, a spunky protagonist turned reluctant chocolatier, and the perfect blend of exotic chocolate makes St. James’s new series sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. The mystery of Penn’s past looms in this tightly plotted page-turner. Asking for Truffle will leave you hungry for a cup of creamy, rich hot chocolate and wanting to know what’s next for Penn and her new found family."
—Ellie Alexander, author of the Bakeshop mysteries
A woman who's never been properly loved has a chance for a new start in life.Charity Penn is the illegitimate daughter of the much-married scion of a wealthy family. She's never lacked for subsistence funding, but except for one half sister and Granny Mae, her relatives usually ignore her. When Penn gets a card telling her she's won a trip to Camellia Beach, South Carolina, along with free cooking lessons at the local chocolate shop, she's wary—who wins a prize for a contest she hasn't entered?—and asks her prep school friend Skinny, who's traveling to a surfing competition nearby, to check it out. Soon Penn gets a voicemail from Skinny telling her he's found exciting information and inviting her to come down. Before she can decide what to do, she learns that Skinny's been found dead in a vat of chocolate. Packing up her feisty papillon, Stella, Penn heads south. The police insist Skinny was killed in a drug deal gone wrong, but Penn knows Skinny didn't do drugs. Arriving in Camellia Beach, she meets Althea, the daughter of Bertie Bays, companion and helper to Miss Mabel, the chocolate shop owner who wants to teach her to make chocolate. Penn is quickly swept up in the tug of war between those who want to keep the natural beauty of the sleepy town and those who want to make a buck modernizing it. Even families are divided, as Penn learns when she meets two attorneys, Calhoun Dalton, a member of the tear-down group, and his brother, Harley, a defender of the status quo who had a nasty verbal encounter with Skinny the night he died. When Miss Mabel dies suddenly, Penn is shocked to learn she's inherited the chocolate shop—and so are Miss Mabel's relatives. Since South Carolina law will pass the inheritance to the family if Penn dies before five days are up, she has the world's best motive to solve the case. The first in a new series for St. James (Oak and Dagger, 2013, etc.) features an appealingly reflective heroine and a varied roster of suspects.