Playing With Bonbon Fire: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery

Playing With Bonbon Fire: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery

by Dorothy St. James

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Overview

Chocoholic Charity Penn must smoke out the killer to stop her newly inherited beachside chocolate shop from going up in flames in Dorothy St. James’ decadent follow-up to Asking for Truffle .

Chocolate shop owner Charity Penn is finally settling into life in the quirky South Carolina seaside town of Camellia Beach cooking up chocolate treats. She’s even helped organize the town’s lively beach music festival which has brought rollicking crowds eager to dance the Carolina shag. That is, until one of the band’s lead singers is found dead beside a beach bonfire.

While also trying to balance the amorous attention of music star Bixby Lewis, in town for the festival, and her quest to perfect a new hot flavored bonbon, Charity dives into the investigation. Though it’s more spice than sugar when she discovers a threatening note, comes across decades of age-old secrets, and Bixby comes into the line of fire when a gas grill explodes on the deck of a beachfront house.

Now Charity must turn up the heat and catch the killer before her chance melts away in Playing With Bonbon Fire , the delightful second Chocolate Shop mystery served up just right for fans of JoAnna Carl and Joanne Fluke.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683314684
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication date: 03/13/2018
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Dorothy St. James is the author of the White House Gardener mysteries. 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 second Southern Chocolate Shop mystery.

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Playing With Bonbon Fire: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
MIBookLover More than 1 year ago
This is the second book in the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series. I enjoyed this book, even more than the first. The characters are fun and the setting is fabulous. Who wouldn’t enjoy a beach town setting? Charity (who prefers to go by Penn) is trying to create the perfect bon bon and help with the music festival, which is a lot of a person to handle. A singer is killed that is in town for a music festival, and Penn gets thrown in the mix to solve the case. Finding out who the killer was had enough twist, turns and red herrings to keep it interesting. The mystery was fast paced, the dialogue was great and the entire story flowed. I read the first book in the series, and I think that helped with the character development on knowing whom everyone was and the beginning of their back story. The family tension added to the book. Getting to know Penn’s half-sister, Tina, just added to the storyline. I’m looking forward to the third in the series
C_Fowler More than 1 year ago
Chocolate and a mystery? Frankly, I can't think of a better combination for a cozy book. Playing With Bonbon Fire is just as delicious as the wonderful chocolates Penn and Bertie make at The Chocolate Box store in Camellia Beach, South Carolina. I loved that this book has a beach setting and takes place during a beach music festival. I could just hear all of that catchy beach music while reading this book. Charity Penn (don't call her Charity, she may belt your for it) known to the friendly and diverse locals as Penn, is a wonderful character who perseveres despite her difficult childhood and someone targeting her chocolate shop and jeopardizing the music festival. Playing With Bonbon fire is rich with atmosphere, and has a mystery that kept me turning pages right until the very end. As this book is the second in the series, Asking for Truffle, being the first, there is a tiny bit of background that is missing, but it definitely does not detract from the story and makes me really want to read book number one. I highly recommend it and suggest that you read it with a box of chocolates by your side. I received a copy of this book from the author. All thoughts and opinions are solely my own.
MarshaG More than 1 year ago
Although this is the second book in a series it is the first one I have read. I enjoyed this book so much I have ordered the first one and can't wait to read it. The characters are quirky and likable. I was drawn in from the first chapter and had a hard time putting the book down. I almost finished it in one sitting. The main character Charity is well written and I like that she is not perfect, but strives to improve. I love dogs but her Papillon is one character I don't care for. The fact that she struggles with the bonbon recipes makes likable,as does the fact that she tries to make up her own bonbon recipe. The mystery is well thought out and is not immediately easy to solve like some I have read. Dorothy St. James does an excellent job with this book. I am looking forward to the next installment and am going to read the first one as soon as it arrives. I highly recommend this book to cozy lovers. I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. I truly loved this book. If I don't like something I read I just don't leave a review.
Lynette381 More than 1 year ago
Playing with Bonbon Fire by Dorothy St. James was a quick read. I was able to snag this copy for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. While I have never read any of her other books, I was enjoyed reading this one. The book was easy to read and had a whole host of characters who were captivating. I was a bit confused at first with all of the names of people who were in the book. There were a lot to keep track of, but as you read it got easier to see who belonged to whom and where they belonged in the story. The plot was much more believable than most that I have read, and it was nice to actually be able to not figure out who did it before I finished the book. I had an idea, as St. James kept hinting at certain things as you read, but I never quite figured out the whole reasoning behind the murder. I would love to be able to go back and read the rest of her books, and I will definitely be grabbing them up at the library the next time that I go. Thank you for letting me read this!!
CozyOnUp More than 1 year ago
Charity Penn is back and still working on perfecting her bonbon technique at the Chocolate Box, which her mater grandmother left her. While she may not be a natural born chocolatier, she gets an A for effort and is a stand out amateur sleuth. Adjusting to life in Camellia Beach, Charity agrees to help organize the summer music festival that will draw crowds to the town. Everything is set for a great time, one of the lead singers from a band is found dead. Secret, threats and more come out as Charity looks for the killer. There is also a story that spans the books as Charity searches for her Mother in the series. So while each book can be read as a stand alone, you will want to read the first one to capture all the little nuances that really grab you in and hook you into the series. The second installment in the Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries is just as delicious as the first. Cannot wait for my next visit to Camellia Beach!
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
Charity Penn is settling into her new life in Camellia Beach, SC running the chocolate shop she inherited. While still trying to solve some mysteries about her mother, she's making new friends, learning to trust people again, and getting involved in local events. Camelia Beach is trying to have it's second Beach Festival, the first was 40 years earlier. Penn has agreed to help Bubba, organize the event. Bixby Lewis, a well-known singer trying to reignite his career, has agreed to perform. It turns out he dated Penn's half-sister Trina. Penn is still dealing with her grandmother's children, who don't believe she's related to them or should have inherited the shop. All she wants is to find her mother who disappeared years ago. When Bixby fights with another band at the festival over rights to a song, and then the current song owner winds up dead in a bonfire, Penn is pulled into the investigation. Penn's mother's history is tied up in this mystery and it all comes to a head in a big scene at the end of the book. Can Penn help solve the mystery, save the festival as well as her shop? I enjoyed this book more than the first. Penn finally comes to grips with her past and begins to develop a positive relationship with Trina, her half-sister. She is becoming a more self-assured young lady and does not complain and whine about her past like she did in the first book. There is a pleasant cast of characters in this book with some good connections. I enjoyed more the presence of Althea, the crystal store owner, Penn's best friend and magic aficionado. I liked the further development of Penn's personality and style and she seems to have a fair balance of when to push and when to back away in terms of investigating any crimes. She is definitely developing her skills as an amateur sleuth. The mystery had me guessing throughout most of the book. I had an inkling of who the murderer was and I was correct, but the reason behind it and how it tied in with the missing song was well done. There was enough humour in this book to keep a cozy mystery lover happy, especially when it comes to the display window in the Chocolate Shop. I appreciated the way Dorothy St. James deftly tied this mystery together at the end. I would recommend this series to cozy mystery lovers, especially those who enjoy a culinary cozy.
KTempleton More than 1 year ago
Penn is starting to feel at home in Camellia Beach, SC. She is doing well in her store, The Chocolate Box (she is still having some issues the making bonbons) and she is getting involved with the community. Penn agrees to help put on a summer beach music festival. When big rockstar Bixby shows up; things start to get a little crazy around town. Penn’s store window gets broken, Bixby (and Penn) starts receiving threats, Bertie keeps mysteriously disappearing, and a body is found beside of a bonfire with some of Penn’s chocolates. This is the second book in the series but it can definitely be enjoyed as a stand-alone mystery. Besides the murder mystery, there is the secondary storyline of the identity of Penn’s mother. Penn’s newly discovered family are not the most welcoming group of people but this is nothing new for Penn. Both main and secondary characters have great character development. I really enjoy the unique backstory of Penn and that she personal issues (ie trust) that she is dealing with as she is going full speed ahead with her new life. The main mystery has several twists and turns to keep you in suspense until the big reveal. I recommend this book to mystery lovers. As a bonus for food lovers there are great recipes included. I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy provided. This did not affect my rating. I have provided an unbiased and honest review.
Jennifer_Houle More than 1 year ago
PLAYING WITH BONBON FIRE is the second book in the Southern Chocolate Shop cozy mystery series. St. James's once again uses an interesting cast of local characters to create a story of mystery in a small, once tourist, town. Penn has arranged a music festival to try to bring back tourism, now that she's decided to stay on and run her late grandmother's chocolate shop. I am very curious, and very excited, to see where book three will take Penn in her relationships with both of her parents, as she does discover the identity of her mother in this book.
moohnshine More than 1 year ago
This is the second book in the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery Series and my first in the series, that I have read.  I loved it!  It was such a cozy read with wonderful characters. While Penn is finally settling in Camellia Beach, she is still struggling to fit in with her family.  She is still searching for Carolina, who could possibly be here mother.  When Bubba and Penn put together a music festival, Penn sees it as an opportunity to bring business to the quiet little town and quite possibly her shop.  But when a singer is murdered and things point to 1975 when her mother disappeared, she may uncover the biggest secret the town has, but at what cost. This book kept me guessing till the very end.  I absolutely loved this story.  The book has great world building as the author has created a quaint little town, full of amazing and wonderful characters.  You can't help but fall in love.  Penn is a wonderful woman, whose family doesn't treat her fairly and she has to fight to prove she is entitled to her shop.  I love how she doesn't understand southern slang.  I laughed at her misunderstandings of the sayings that the locals had.  The small little love triangle created a wonderful romance aspect of the story.  I am rooting for Harley though.  We shall see what happens in book three. The story flowed smoothly and the book was not rushed.  It had the perfect mix of cute romance, humor, mystery and a little bit of danger.  If you are a big fan of cozy mysteries, then you are going to love this book.  Even though I did not read the first book, I did not feel too lost reading this one.  I highly recommend this book.  5 Stars of Fun 
ValerieL More than 1 year ago
This is a fun new series. I'm enjoying getting to know Charity (who prefers to go by Penn), Bertie, Harley and the rest of the characters. They're well-written and developed characters. We find out a little more about their nature and backgrounds with each book, which is how I like it! The setting descriptions are perfect. I'm not one for overly-wordy descriptions, but I still want to be able to imagine the place in my head. I can do that here without feeling tired of all the descriptions. Ms. St. James does a good job with this. The plotline was well-thought-out, full of red herrings, and exciting. I did have an inkling of the killer before the book was done, but I wasn't positive I was right until he/she was revealed. If you choose to read the series, I would start with Asking for Truffle, the first book in the series. It really has some background information that you need to have for going forward. Each mystery itself stands on its own, but the overall arc of the series needs to be experienced by reading them in order!
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts Camellia Beach is going to be filled with music and people as the Beach Music Festival begins. Thanks to a little help from her half-sister Tina, Penn is able to book the famous Bixby Lewis to be the headliner of the festival. The event is also going to mean The Chocolate Box is going to have tons of customers. She is still learning to make the perfect bonbon, but with Bertie’s help, they will have enough chocolate treats to serve the masses. But the first night of the festival brings tragedy. A body is found in the bonfire and Penn can’t help but jump right into the investigation. She is also helping Bixby with a stalker, trying to keep her business open after several freaky occurrences, plus she is dealing with a lawsuit over ownership of The Chocolate Box and oh, she also wants to create her own special spicy hot bonbon while trying to find her birth mother. We are getting to know these characters better and Penn is opening up more in this story. She is making friends and getting involved in the happenings in Camellia Beach. But top on her list is finding her mother and proving that the chocolate shop left to her should be solely hers. I don’t know how any person could handle everything that she had to deal with in this short time span. Thankfully she had her friends and her sister to lean on and step in while she was running all over town chasing down leads and trying to keep the festival on track. The author really blends two mysteries together in this book. A murder mystery and the search for Penn’s mother. They coexist very naturally together. Both have surprising twists. The main mystery, the murder, had many topsy-turvy turns. There was so much going on and I was not sure how the whole plot was going to come together, but when we reached the end, it all did. I usually read a book like this over 2 evenings, but I was having a very hard time putting this book down the first night. Finally, my body made the decision for me, when I could no longer keep my eyes open. I hated having to work the next day because I would have rather been reading, but I escaped back into it before supper was even on the table. The ending was surprising and not what I was expecting at all. Fantastic storytelling by this author. I can’t forget to mention the bonbons, the truffles and all the other goodies for sale at The Chocolate Box. You may want to have some chocolate on hand while reading this story because the descriptions will have you drooling. I enjoyed everything about this story. Dorothy St. James has packed these pages full of mystery, drama, action, and chocolate. I am excited for the continuation of this series.
LisaKsBooksReviews More than 1 year ago
A cozy mystery with chocolate in it? There was no way I was going to pass up this book. And, I’m so happy I didn’t! Along with all the wonderful chocolate talk, and the yummy recipes at the back of this book, PLAYING WITH BONBON FIRE was a well thought out story, with interesting characters. The main murder mystery in the story is not the only mystery you’ll find between the pages of this tale. Protagonist Charity Penn has an ongoing mystery of her own. She doesn’t know who her birth mother is. Charity’s back story makes for some poignant reading. A good plot, with just enough twists and turns to keep me guessing, PLAYING WITH BONBON FIRE, was a quick, enjoyable read.
Deana0326 More than 1 year ago
What a delicious treat it was to read this book. I love chocolate and enjoyed reading about how different chocolate treats are made. I don't think I have tried a bonbon before, but I certainly will be looking for them. I would love to go to Penn's shop and sample all the delectable concoctions displayed in the glass cases. Wouldn't it be exciting to inherit a chocolate shop? Penn has her hands full trying to keep the shop running when relatives get in the way. Learning about Penn's upbringing was fascinating. The author draws readers in with two mysteries surrounding Penn. The town is all abuzz about the musical festival set along the beach that brings in a well known singer. Bixby Lewis blows into town with an air of "Hey I'm famous and women swoon over me." I didn't like him at first, but he kinda grew on me. The festival sounded so fun and I could feel the excitement as Bixby took the stage for the opening night. Everything seems to go well until a body is found burning on the beach. I gasped when Charity thought the victim was someone she was growing fond of. With the expert writing from the author, she leads us on a trail that shook me when the victim was identified. The town goes into a tizzy trying to figure out who the killer is. The other mystery going on in the story is about Penn and the identity of her mother. The author grasps the full emotions of a woman wanting to know her roots and explores how much it can affect someone. Will Penn ever find out who her mother is? Why has it been a secret all these years? I liked the little romance in the book but I'm not saying much about it. It is one that the author will keep readers guessing about to the end. I loved the story and I didn't want to see it end. Are you wondering who the killer is? My advice is to get a copy and get comfy. The story is a page turner and one you will not forget. The story reminds me of the days when concerts were popular. It would be an all day event with bands on stage, food vendors everywhere and people having a great time. This is one story that will satisfy cozy mystery readers with intrigue, secrets and danger, There is a treat waiting at the end of the book. Don't miss out on the enticing recipes that will have you rushing to the store for ingredients. I received a copy of this book from The Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. The review is my own opinion
Deana0326 More than 1 year ago
What a delicious treat it was to read this book. I love chocolate and enjoyed reading about how different chocolate treats are made. I don't think I have tried a bonbon before, but I certainly will be looking for them. I would love to go to Penn's shop and sample all the delectable concoctions displayed in the glass cases. Wouldn't it be exciting to inherit a chocolate shop? Penn has her hands full trying to keep the shop running when relatives get in the way. Learning about Penn's upbringing was fascinating. The author draws readers in with two mysteries surrounding Penn. The town is all abuzz about the musical festival set along the beach that brings in a well known singer. Bixby Lewis blows into town with an air of "Hey I'm famous and women swoon over me." I didn't like him at first, but he kinda grew on me. The festival sounded so fun and I could feel the excitement as Bixby took the stage for the opening night. Everything seems to go well until a body is found burning on the beach. I gasped when Charity thought the victim was someone she was growing fond of. With the expert writing from the author, she leads us on a trail that shook me when the victim was identified. The town goes into a tizzy trying to figure out who the killer is. The other mystery going on in the story is about Penn and the identity of her mother. The author grasps the full emotions of a woman wanting to know her roots and explores how much it can affect someone. Will Penn ever find out who her mother is? Why has it been a secret all these years? I liked the little romance in the book but I'm not saying much about it. It is one that the author will keep readers guessing about to the end. I loved the story and I didn't want to see it end. Are you wondering who the killer is? My advice is to get a copy and get comfy. The story is a page turner and one you will not forget. The story reminds me of the days when concerts were popular. It would be an all day event with bands on stage, food vendors everywhere and people having a great time. This is one story that will satisfy cozy mystery readers with intrigue, secrets and danger, There is a treat waiting at the end of the book. Don't miss out on the enticing recipes that will have you rushing to the store for ingredients. I received a copy of this book from The Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. The review is my own opinion
mymissdaisy More than 1 year ago
I suspected I would really, really enjoy this book. I couldn't wait to get to the end and find the recipes! Which sound so good! A chocolate lover like myself will enjoy every minute and bite of Playing with Bonbon Fire it's hard not to feel like your gaining inches as you read. All this talk about chocolate is almost a dream come true with the quaint dreamy little seaside town. The town is filled with fun and quirky characters that care of each other and help solve the mystery in their own unique way. Penn is put to the test not only solving the mysteries but making a go of becoming the Chocolatier she wants to be. As Penn goes down the twisty turning road picking up clues the reader is swept along the yummy ride. In the end everything is wrapped up sweetly or maybe savory. Either way it's a win win 5 star read.
CozyMarie More than 1 year ago
Easy to pick up and it kept me guessing until the very end. Not only was it a solid mystery, but it also engages the reader in our protagonist Penn’s journey to find a place in this world where she belongs. This book is a great read.
Shelly9677 More than 1 year ago
In this installment of A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery, Penn is helping to organize a beach music fest to attract tourist to the lovely town of Camelia Beach, S C., while creating more captivating concoctions to keep her chocolate shop in business. Tragically, a festival singer is found dead in a bonfire. There is a threatening note, an explosion and just enough twists to make Penn delve into this whodunit with fierce abandon, uncovering the pieces of a decade old mystery. This is definitely a must read if you liked the first book, Asking for Truffle. It also stands on its own. There is a pleasant cast of characters in this book. I appreciated the way Dorothy St. James deftly tied this mystery together in a neat bow at the end.
Rockport_rocker More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with the Southern Chocolate Shop series with the first book so I when discovered that Playing with Bonbon Fire was available on Net Galley, I jumped at the chance to read it. The characters are as great as they were in the first book and I adored them both places. Penn's relationships have shifted and I was not thrilled with the change in Harley, but I will be really interested to see where that goes. On the other hand, I was pleased to see Penn start to reach out and trust. She has become totally involved in the community and helped organize the week long celebration of their town and its music. Through her growing relationship with her sister Tina, Penn is able to pull in a big-name headliner and everyone is thrilled, but it soon seems that he has brought trouble as well as fans. The question soon becomes whether his presence is responsible for murder or whether the answer lies in the past. Someone seems to be targeting the candy shop but even the constant assaults may be aimed at someone else. Penn doesn't really have time to devote to an investigation but she can't just stand around trying to make candy while her store is destroyed inch by inch or when a friend is the focus of the investigation. Twist and turns abound throughout the mystery, so be ready for a fast-paced ride along with Penn and her friends. I received an advanced readers' copy of this book via NetGalley. The opinion stated in the review is all mine. I I shared the book because I enjoyed it so much.
Missisue4 More than 1 year ago
Even though Playing with Bonbon Fire is only the second book in Dorothy St. James' Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery serier, I am a diehard fan !! I fell in love with the series with her first installment, Asking for Truffles, and know that with every new book, I will continue to fall in love with them. How can you not fall in love with a series of books centered in a beachtown ? Centered around a chocolate shop ?? And the main character Charity Penn is someone you know that if you met her in real life you would want to be her friend ? Now we know that the first book in any series usually sets the groundwork for the reader to get to know the area and the main characters involved. And that is exactly what Asking for Truffles does when you start reading Playing with Bonbon Fire, you are already comfortable and fall right back into things with Penn. And boy is Playing with BonBon Fire a catcher !!! As the town is gearing up for a weekend long beach music festival, things for Penn are anything but smooth sailing !!! (Which as you know from the first book, is par for the course in her life....) As the first night of the festival is winding down, Penn witnesses a bonfire on the beach and finds a dead body in the fire !! As she trys to figure out why someone would kill a member of a band that hasn't performed in 30 years, it seems someone is trying to kill Penn as well. But why ??? We also get to meet Penn's sister, Tina. Tina sent her music star ex-boyfriend Bixby to help out with the music festival but seems to be in the middle of a lot of "mishaps" that endanger his life and those around him. As with Penn though, we cannot help but fall in love with Tina and all her spunk !!! There is a lot going on in Playing with BonBon Fire but it is nothing that the devoted reader cannot handle !! The only problem will be when you get to the end of the book and have to wait patiently for the next installment. But that's okay because we are left with a lot to ponder and keep our imagination sparked.....
CozyMysteryLover1 More than 1 year ago
Charity Penn is a very fun character. This is the first book I've read, so I'm still learning the history of Penn. In this story, a music festival is taking place and some murders are sending the small town into a tailspin. Penn is still trying to learn the truth about her mom and this is where things get good. I really enjoyed this story and the author did a great job of keeping me guessing. I'm looking forward to reading more in this series. I voluntarily read an ARC of this book provided by the publisher and NetGalley.