Asking for Truffle: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery

Asking for Truffle: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery

by Dorothy St. James

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683312918
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication date: 09/12/2017
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,262,476
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Dorothy St. James is the author of the White House Gardener mystery series. For the past twenty years she made her home on Folly Beach, an artsy island community in South Carolina with her sculptor husband. Dorothy is a member of Mystery Writers of America (MWA) and the International Thriller Writers (ITW). This is her first Southern Chocolate Shop mystery.

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Asking for Truffle: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
EileenAW More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading Asking for Truffle by Dorothy St. James her first book in her Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series. This story captured my interest from the first chapter. There is really so much that goes on in the book and just when I thought I had it figured out, something else would happen. Lots of yummy recipes added that I plan to try. I genuinely enjoyed reading this book and had trouble putting this book down. The story line was riveting and kept my attention to the very end. Ms. St. James does an excellent job keeping her readers on their toes as they read her stories. I highly recommend this book to other readers. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book
CozyMarie More than 1 year ago
This book is a solid foundation for this series to grow on and from. It sets the table and gives us a glimpse as to who Penn is (our protagonist hates her first name – you’ll find out why as you read) and also a look into the community of Camellia Beach, South Carolina where the majority of the story is set. The recipes will make your mouth water and the characters were complex and interesting. I can't wait to see where the author takes the series next!
anneinaz More than 1 year ago
Asking for Truffle, a Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery by Dorothy St. James, is the first in a new series. It features Penn, a trust fund baby who has no control over the money in her trust fund, which, which people don't discover until they try to take advantage of her. She is 35 years old and this has been happening her entire life and she has grown suspicious and cynical. Her latest "mistake" is her boss, the Cheese King of Wisconsin, who convinced her he loved her so he could use her money to expand his business. Penn got a very odd letter from someone in a small town, Camellia Beach, South Carolina, stating that she had won a contest and the prize was cooking lessons at the place there called, The Chocolate Box. Knowing she hadn't entered a contest test she is understandably curious but not will to take a chance she asks her childhood friend and computer nerd, Skinny, to go there and look into the situation. After several days he calls her and laves a message, excited, telling her she won't believe what he's found and she needs to join him right away. Before she can get there, Skinny is murdered and dumped into a vat of chocolate. Penn arrives in Camellia Beach with her dog, Stella, an unwelcome gift from the Cheese King and very temperamental (cranky and prone to biting) companion, where everyone seems to good to be true, and so happy to see her. I found this to be a very scattered but enjoyable read. Lots of personalities and suspects; several police departments; lots of family; imported, special reserve chocolate; mixed signals from a great set of brothers; and a Sweets on the Beach festival that the town desperately needed that wouldn't happen without Penn and the Chocolate Box. Lots going on...including a satisfying conclusion. I was given a copy of this book at no cost in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
SewWrite 3 months ago
Having never entered a contest, how could Charity Penn have won the prize trip to Camellia Beach, NC to take cooking lessons at The Chocolate Box? She asks her long time friend to research this prize for her. After leaving Penn a message telling her she needs to pack her bags and come take the lessons, her pal is found dead in a vat of chocolate. Penn feels she must find out what happened to her friend who only went because she asked for his help. I really enjoyed getting to know all the characters in this series. The story was intriguing and there were many possible killers. I kept track of all the clues and found myself constantly changing my thoughts on who might have committed the crimes. I look forward to reading the next two books in this series.
Marla-Bradeen 7 months ago
A fun read, ASKING FOR TRUFFLE stars a somewhat lost heroine faced with several unanswered questions. I enjoyed the beach setting, the myriad of characters, and the mystery and its conclusion. I also appreciated the message about real-world issues concerning the chocolate industry. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book.
arkieclown More than 1 year ago
ASKING FOR TRUFFLE is the first book in the A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series. It’s a very well written cozy mystery that will have you turning the pages trying to figure out, along with the main character, Charity Penn, whodunit. The story revolves around the little town of Camellia Beach, South Carolina. Penn, as she wants to be called, get a mysterious letter claiming she won a trip there and free cooking lessons at The Chocolate Box. The first mystery is how could she have won when she didn’t enter when she never enters contests. Penn has been dealt a raw deal in life. From being abandoned as a baby, to parents and grandparents that seem to loath her much less show her any signs of affection, and it goes on to the worse choice in men including her last one, The Cheese King. All she got from that relationship was a yappy, snipping little dog named Stella. After talking to her friend, Skinny McGee, he agrees to go to the town and nose around to try to find out how or why she “won” this contest. He gets murdered in the process but not before leaving her a message that he has great news for her and to get there as fast as she can. When the cops claim he was killed in a drug deal, Penn feels obligated to go to Camellia Beach to clear his good name. Once she arrives she meets a whole host of characters including: the owner of The Chocolate Box, Mabel Maybank and her friend, Bertie Bayes – Bettie’s eccentric daughter, Althea – the Dalton brothers, Harley (attorney) and Cal. Finding no help with the local law enforcement, Penn decides to take the classes she “won” to try to find out more information. In a very short time she finds she likes Mabel and really loves chocolate and making the candy. Sadly Mabel dies right after the classes are over and leaves the shop to Jenn in her will. But why? It isn’t until Penn gets to discussing details with Detective Gibbons that her claims and information are taken seriously. They find out they have not one murder but two to figure out. Will they find out before someone tries again to take out Penn. They’ve tried before but didn’t succeed, but she knows that Mabel’s will would play out differently if she were to have an “accident” before five days after the will reading. This book is full of excitement taking you down different paths almost like a maze hitting one dead end after another but the prize at the end is very well worth all the head butting along the way. Jenn finds a HOME – a place to belong and with folks that really care about her. Finding out about the cacao beans, chocolate making process and the description of the truffles and candy were enough to make your mouth water. I was thrilled to see the recipes at the back of the book. Loved the cover before I ever read the book, but after reading it I think I can actually smell the chocolate and hear Stella yippty yapping. I’d recommend ASKING FOR TRUFFLE to anyone that wants a GREAT cozy mystery to read. I can’t wait for book #2 to hit the shelves!
Debb23 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this first in a series. Penn receives a notice that she won a cooking prize that she never entered. Her friend decides to check it out for her and ends up dead. Penn is a refreshing character in the fact that she has a family history and also boyfriends that have given her trust issues, totally understandable, my one drawback was that it was mentioned a little too frequently for my taste and her dog that barks and bites everybody, granted that she didn't have much time to work with the dog but it did get a little irritating, however the plus side is that it appears that it will be a help in her sleuthing. The side characters I fell in love with, you get the sense of being there with them. The mystery was excellent just when I thought I had it figured a new twist would arise. It is a little slow getting into it but once it starts it just keeps picking up more momentum. I will definitely continue on with this series and eagerly await the next. *I was lucky enough to have received a copy of this book and this is my honest opinion*
CozyUpWithKathy More than 1 year ago
an interesting vibe ASKING FOR TRUFFLE by Dorothy St. James The First Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery Charity Penn, who eschews the name Charity, is far too familiar with charlatans and con artists to be taken in by the scam offering her free chocolate making classes in South Carolina. Especially since Penn never enters contests. Curious, however, she asks her childhood friend to do some Internet checking for her, but he decides to visit the town in person. Shortly after calling Penn to tell her to come down in person, Skinny winds up dead-in a vat of chocolate. Feeling responsible for his death Penn descends on the town only to discover a run down struggling beach community inhabited by strange residents. Now Penn will try to discern the truth as she tries to sort out the motives of the townsfolk while dealing with her horribly behaved dog and learning to make sublime chocolates. There's an interesting vibe to ASKING FOR TRUFFLE. Penn is a very jaded, suspicious person with a fairly dim outlook on life. While it's understanding given her past, it doesn't make her very likable. The residents of Camilla Beach also have a dark cloud around them. We see unpleasant sides to nearly all of the characters and so nearly all become suspects and none are trustworthy. Yet in this derelict world, there's something more, something good. Penn's viewpoint starts to change and ours with her. Unlike most cozies, ASKING FOR TROUBLE is more negative. Not dark, but drab, yet somehow compelling. Penn's attitude toward her dog as well as her relationships with her surrogate granny and her half sister show that there is a light inside of her. There is some humor to be found here along with some wonderful descriptions of chocolate to lighten the outlook. I'm curious how Penn will continue to grow and how the community of Camilla Beach will change with her as the series progresses. Recipes included. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book in the hopes I would review it.
Nancy0708 More than 1 year ago
When Penn receives a letter about winning a trip to the beach and a free cooking class at a chocolate shop her friend Skinny offers to look into it for her. But when Skinny's body is found in a vat of chocolate she knows she needs to find out why she got this letter and if it is related to Skinny's death. The story is full of unique characters and at one time or another you will find your self suspecting each of murder only to find out you are wrong, or are you? This is a great mystery with interesting characters that will have craving chocolate. Don't worry, you can find chocolate recipes in the book too.
Rockport_rocker More than 1 year ago
This first book in the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series is excellent! Within minutes I was attached to Charity Penn and wanted to see things go well for her. Asking for Truffles gives us a good balance between strong characters and a well-developed, complex plot. Based on this taste of her writing, I am anxious to read White House Gardner, Dorothy St. James's other series. When a friend is murdered checking out a contest that Penn won without entering, she is sure his death is related to the letter announcing that she has won a trip and chocolate making lessons. Penn heads to Camilla Beach to discover what really happened to her friend. Suspicious of everyone, Penn is amazed to be warmly welcomed to the South Carolina beach town and the chocolate shop that is apparently the source of the letter. Somewhat overwhelmed and still suspicious Penn ends up taking and loving the chocolate making lessons as she tries to discover who murdered her friend. Suspects in the murder of her friend abound but clues are not so plentiful. In spite of the fact that she may have a target on her back, Penn is easily convinced to keep the shop open until a local chocolate festival that will give the town a great chance for increasing business. Few things are as they seem, and her attachment to the people of the town makes it hard for her to see a murderer in the face of any of her new friends, but she knows it must be one of them. I requested and received an advanced readers’ copy of Asking for Truffle via NetGalley. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I always review books that I enjoy.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts As soon as I saw this cover pop up on Facebook I knew I needed to read this book! Look at those truffles and the cute puppy. Ms. St. James starts us out just up the highway from where I am sitting here in Wisconsin, when Charity Penn (Penn) learns she has won a trip to Camellia Beach, South Carolina and The Chocolate Box. Thinking is has to be some kind of scam she doesn’t get too excited. Then a friend, Skinny McGee, says he is going to be in South Carolina area and tells her he will check the place out. After a phone call from Skinny gets cut off and she learns he was found later dead in vat of chocolate, she has no choice but to venture south to find out what happened. She is not welcomed with opened arms by everyone but the ladies at The Chocolate Box are sure happy to see her. But there is something very wrong in Camellia Beach, in addition to the death of her friend, and Penn is not heading back to Madison until she gets to the bottom of it. I really enjoyed this story. Penn reminds me a little bit of myself, we both have the “waiting for the other shoe to drop” mentality. She has kind of closed herself off due to her upbringing making her very independent but hard for people to get to know. She is clearly an individual that has a deep hurt that has affected her for a long time. Still she hops on a plane to a place unknown to her to find out why her friend was killed. Everyone in the town was sketchy from police chief, to the local lawyer, and even the ladies at the chocolate shop were hiding something. Her skeptical nature serves her well in this town. I appreciated the character development throughout the story while still allowing room for the characters to continue to grow over the course of the series. The plot itself has several twists giving several viable suspects but I was on the right track early on. I always say, first books in a cozy mystery series are a heavy lift because the author not only has to introduce the main character and the people around them but give us a mystery that clicks with the readers and engages them to come back for future books. The author did that here with an extra twist in the plot away for the murder/s. Something that the reader is unsure about until almost the very end of the story. While the murder was solved she left other questions I need answered. I am definitely excited for the next installment. Learning about the cacao beans, where they come from and how to work with them was super interesting too. The candy descriptions had be drooling and craving chocolate. Oh and just a little heads up – that cute little puppy on the cover is a feisty little creature known to bite even her owner. She also has to deal with another animal in this story and when it was introduced I could have fallen out my chair laughing. This series is off to a great start and I am excited to see what happens next.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Asking for Truffle by Dorothy St. James is the first story in A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series. Charity Penn lives in Madison, Wisconsin with Granny Mae Stoughton who helped raise her. Penn has won a trip to Camellia Beach, South Carolina along with cooking lessons, but she never entered a contest. She is suspicious (fears it is a scam or someone trying to get her money) and asks her best friend, Skinny McGee to check it out for her. Skinny leaves her a message stating he knows why she won the contest and to start packing her bags. He promises to call the next morning to share what he discovered. Unfortunately, Skinny is drowned in a vat of chocolate at the Chocolate Box during the night. Penn along with her dog, Stella (a barker and a biter) heads to Camellia Beach to find out what happened to her friend. Penn visits the Chocolate Box and starts taking chocolate making lessons from Mabel Maybank and her partner, Bertie Bays. But it is not all sunshine and rainbows in this small, island town. Another death occurs and Penn is dropped into the middle of a controversy. Penn needs to find the guilty party before she becomes the next casualty. Asking for Truffle had such an interesting premise. I liked the Chocolate Box, Mabel, Bertie, Althea, and the luscious sounding chocolates. Penn, on the other hand, is very unlikeable. She is prickly as a porcupine, standoffish and a whiner. Penn complains constantly about her family (I admit they leave a lot to be desired, but I tired of hearing about them), her trust issues, people wanting to get close to her because of her families’ money, her lack of cooking skills, how her grandmother dislikes her, her dislike of anything related to magic, ghosts, crystals, etc. The same details are repeated over and over (I’m surprised someone had not tried to kill her prior to this). Penn states she has learned from her past mistakes, but she keeps making the same ones. Her dog, Stella (a gift from Erik, the Cheese King) is a horror (bites everyone and barks constantly—though it does seem like a smart dog). It might help if Penn actually tried to train Stella or showed her love. Asking for Truffle would have been a better story if the author had made Mabel and Bertie the main characters. The story is too long. If all the repetition had been left out, it would have been a better length. There are actually two mysteries (the murder and a burglary). Neither are difficult to solve. Penn is lacking as a sleuth. She comes to town and spends more time learning to make chocolate than investigating Skinny’s murder. She receives an envelope from the detective with paperwork that Skinny received prior to his death, and Penn does not open it. These are just two examples. The conclusion was very unsatisfying. The author should have included an epilogue to tie up the loose ends. What is the Cheese King doing that is angering Penn’s family? Why did Mabel change her will a month before Penn arrived in town? Who is Penn’s mother? These are just a couple of unanswered questions (very frustrating). I am rating Asking for Truffle 2 out of 5 stars (I did not like it). If you are looking for a good escape book, then I do not recommend Asking for Truffle. There are some scrumptious chocolate recipes at the end of the novel.
wizkids32 More than 1 year ago
Awesome book loved it great to see how Penn found out who killed her friend and in the end found her family and got Harley as well and how she learn to trust people and got her dog to trust people as well loved the whole story and can't wait for the next book to come out in the series Thanks for an amazing book and Dottie is a great author too
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
Penn Finds More Truffle than She Bargained For I can’t resist culinary cozies. Oh, I am trying to expand my reading horizons and start some other types of cozy mystery series, but I keep coming back to these culinary cozies. It’s why I picked up Asking for Truffle, the first in a new Southern Chocolate Shop series, and it’s a delicious debut. Charity Penn, Penn to her friends, has learned not to trust anyone. An unplanned child, she was left with her father, and his family has never forgiven her for, well, existing. But the Penn family is rich, so she has also learned that other people are only interested in her for her money. That’s why she is immediately suspicious of a letter she got announcing she’s won a trip to a chocolate shop in Camilla Beach, South Carolina, for cooking classes. Since she didn’t enter a contest, she knows something is up. She asks her friend to look into it for her, and he heads to the shop. After leaving a voicemail that he has exciting news to share that he wants to hear her reaction to, he winds up drowned in a vat of chocolate. Naturally, Penn holds herself responsible for what happened to her friend, so she packs her bags and heads down to Camilla Beach. But with everyone in town a suspect, who can she trust? What is up with the contest? And what really happened to her friend? I will admit I was hesitant to pick up this book because I’d read early reviews from people who had trouble with Penn. She certainly isn’t like normal cozy heroines since she has a very hard shell. The book makes the reason behind it very clear. In fact, I found her background quite refreshing just because it is something different. By the end of the book, we can see her shell is beginning to crack, and there is definitely potential for great character growth in this series. And the other characters more than make up for Penn. While she is understandably suspicious of everyone she meets, she meets some truly wonderful people. They are a bit eccentric, but who isn’t in a cozy mystery, right? I’m anxious to get to know them better in future books. My biggest issue with the book was actually the plot. It was very uneven. I’m not sure how it really could have been handled better considering everything that had to happen here, but it took a while for the mystery to really take off. Once it did, however, it contains some nice surprises along the way to the climax, and it pays off the set up of the first half nicely as well. And I love the setting – an island off the coast of South Carolina. It’s the kind of location I want to visit on vacation. A book is the next best thing, right? Naturally, there are some recipes included at the end of the book. We get recipes for chili, chocolate shots and hot chocolate, plus a dark chocolate hazelnut truffle. That’s a good thing considering how the talk of chocolate made my mouth water. Now that the series has been set up, I can see lots of potential in future books. Like any good piece of chocolate, Asking for Truffle teases more delicious mysteries to come. NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.
TheCozyReview More than 1 year ago
Series: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery Author: Dorothy St. James Genre: Culinary Cozy Publisher: Crooked Lane Books Charity Penn won a trip to Camellia Beach, South Carolina and free cooking lessons at The Chocolate Box. She knows that she didn’t actually win because she never entered. She figures it is just another scam, like so many before trying to get into her bank account. Too bad that the scammers didn’t know how little control she had over her trust fund. Her best friends and former school friend, Skinny offers to look into the situation and ends up drowned in a vat of chocolate. Charity “Penn” as she is known, hurry’s to the seaside town determined to find Skinny’s killer. As much as she distrusts everyone, and tells herself that she wants to get in and out of the decrepit old town, she finds herself enjoying her time and the people. That is until she gets involved in a second murder and puts her life in danger to solve both. -- Penn is a bit too untrusting and not a very likable character, at least not at first. Her childhood issues continue to plague her and make her into an angry and at times rude individual. Her mistrust of everyone and everything gets in the way of her truly learning to live. She is given the opportunity of a lifetime but can’t accept it for what it is, a genuine gift. In many ways, the character of Penn is not in the least unusual is the real world. However, the fact that she continues to hold onto her issues in the face of acceptance and love is in no small part the attraction to the character and the story. The reader has to keep turning the pages to find out if she will ever let go of the past and find true happiness, and solve the murder of her friend. This story is fast-paced, entertaining and filled with possibilities. The twists and turns often leave the reader reeling from the harshness of Penn’s thoughts and attitudes. There comes the point when the reader may want to shout at the character, shake her and tell her to stop living in the past and to look at what is right in front of her. In the last few chapters, the reader is left with a sense of anxiousness and satisfaction, knowing that they didn’t waste their time reading to the end. The ending gives people joy and an outlook on life that all things are possible even for Charity Penn. Asking for Truffle is the first book in a new series and is highly recommended for its entertainment value as well as its ability to pull an emotional response from the reader. Those who enjoy a good who done it will love this book.
BookloverUT More than 1 year ago
When Charity Penn receives a letter stating she won free cooking lessons at a chocolate shop, called the Chocolate Box, in South Carolina, she’s very skeptical because she doesn’t remember entering any contest. She decides to send her friend to check it out, but he winds up murdered in a vat of chocolate. Can Charity find the truth before she winds up dead by chocolate? I really wanted to like this book, but in all honesty, it depressed me. I got tired of reading about Charity’s family issues and that nobody loved her. I read these books as a form of escapism, but I didn’t want to escape into Charity’s world. The read wasn’t exciting, and I didn’t feel the tension that one should when reading a mystery. An Advanced Reading Copy was received in exchange for an honest review.
Cynthia181 More than 1 year ago
Wonderful I won this book from Goodreads giveaway. I was asked to give a honest review, all thoughts are my own. This is a wonderful cozy-mystery, I found that the characters had a very interesting interaction. I feel for Penn, not knowing who her mother, and being raised by family members who treated her like she wasn't family. Know she has been ask to go to learn how to make Chocolate but in truth she will be inheriting the business. But before she goes her best friend goes down then and then is killed, and there will be a few more through the book.
Missisue4 More than 1 year ago
I'm going to tell you that NO review or comments will do this book justice ! Asking for Truffle by Dorothy St. James is a MUST, MUST, MUST read !! The first sentence "The strange letter I'd received in the mail earlier today had me popping chocolate squares into my mouth as if they were candy." ..... Tell me that doesn't make you want to keep reading. Here is an author with intrigue and humor and its only the first sentence !! And the main character....the girl is named Charity by a grandmother who hated that fact that her precious son got a girl pregnant in college and the girl took off leaving the baby, Charity, on their front steps. So Charity who hates her name (Obviously !!) goes by her last name Penn. So this strange letter that she received in sentence one tells her that she won a trip to a chocolate store in a seaside town and cooking lessons at the candy store. Are you in yet ?? Who wouldn't want to win a trip like that !! But she, of course, is skeptical, not because of her upbringing but because she didn't enter the contest. So her good friend Skinny, yes that's right another great nickname, offers to go to the seaside town and check it out for her. Unfortunately he is killed in a vat of chocolate right after he leaves an exciting but mysterious message for Penn. Penn has no other choice but to go there herself to check out the chocolate store and find out why Skinny was killed. Have you packed your bags yet ?? Okay well once she gets to this rundown seasside town she meets a bunch of interesting people, 2 very attractive brothers, and the owner of the chocolate shop that insists that she take the cooking lessons. She does, of course, take the lessons but because of her upbringing she is extremely skeptical. After all she didn't enter the contest and her friend was killed in the store !! Once you start reading you will find it hard to stop. And as you get into the story you will begin to think you know who killed Skinny but then you will turn the page and read something else that will change that thought. St. James will have you reclined in the chair turning pages and keep you guessing all the way until the end....and isn't that what you want in a book ?? There is so much to love about this story.... the people, Penn's past, Penn's future, the 2 attractive brothers, the Chocolate Box, the quaint little seaside town, the chocolate, Penn's crazy and vicious dog.... And like I said no review will do it justice.....YOU have to read it for yourself !!! The only thing that you will not like is that it ends.....but hopefully it won't be long before there is a second book in this AMAZING series.
Ellen-oceanside More than 1 year ago
ASKING FOR TRUFFLE by Dorothy St James Chocolate is eaten by savor in on the palate, not popping in one's mouth because of a strange letter.From childhood Charity confided to Skinny guy who still is a whiz at computers. He will be in the area and will check it out, leaves her a message to pack her bags. He knows who sent letter and it's really cool. Newspaper next day Skinny been murder, at the Chocolate Box. Now going to Camellia Beach for another reason, for Skinny. Maybe to learn about classes, making chocolate delights, from someone who can't cook. It will give her a chance to explore the beach town and talk to people. Will she find the answers of why she got letter, and what did Skinny stumble into. A delightful beginning to a new series and all will enjoy reading. Given ARC by Net Galley for my voluntary review and my honest opinion. SEPT. 12