Tart of Darkness

Tart of Darkness

by Denise Swanson

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Overview

Tart of Darkness by Denise Swanson

Right when Dani thinks she's hit a dead-end in her career, she unexpectedly inherits an enormous old house in a quaint college town. This gives her the perfect opportunity to pursue her true passion—cooking! So Dani opens Chef-to-Go, preparing delicious, ready-made meals for hungry students attending the nearby university, as well as providing personal chef services and catering events for the local community. To help support her new business, she opens her home to a few students, renting them rooms and becoming almost like a big sister figure in their lives.

But just as Dani is relishing her sweet new life, the friend of one of her boarders is murdered, and Dani becomes one of the primary suspects! She'll have to scramble to clear her name and save her business before the killer reappears—perhaps to silence the new chef forever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492648383
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 04/03/2018
Series: Chef-to-Go Mysteries , #1
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 30,639
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Denise Swanson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Scumble River mysteries, the Deveraux's Dime Store mysteries, and the Chef-to-Go mysteries, as well as the Change of Heart contemporary romances. She has been nominated for RT Magazine's Career Achievement Award, the Agatha Award, and the Mary Higgins Clark Award.

Customer Reviews

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Tart of Darkness 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I liked how it intertwined with the Scumble River series. I like the characters and loved the concept. It was light and easy to read...exactly what I look for in my mysteries. I felt a friendship with the characters and wanted them to succeed. I can't wait to read the next one to see what happens between Dani and Spencer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The new book is wonderful. Couldn't put it down.
Anonymous 30 days ago
Not my favorite, but okay.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Enjoyed how characters from Scrumble River were weaved intog this book & visar versa..
diane92345 More than 1 year ago
The characters and romances are better than the mystery in Tart of Darkness. Dani Sloan inherits a Victorian half-finished bed and breakfast. A former Human Resources executive, Dani really wants to be a chef. She decides to share her house with three college students: Ivy, Tippi and Starr. In return for reduced rent, all three promise to help Dani launch her new business, Chef-to-go. The business offers catering, personal chef and lunch drive-thru service from her kitchen window. When Dani is asked to cater queen bee Regina’s luau, she thinks it may be her ticket to more business from the area’s wealthy customer base. Instead both Dani and Ivy are suspected of murder. Ivy’s uncle Spencer is head of campus security. He and Dani decide to solve the case by looking into who had motive and opportunity. Bliss, Regina’s best friend, Laz, Regina’s boyfriend, and Vance, Regina’s ex and Bliss’ current boyfriend are all suspects. I liked the interaction of Dani and Spencer better than the mystery. The mystery threw a lot of information in the last few pages that was needed to solve the crime making it difficult for armchair detectives to solve. All of Dani’s meals sound delicious but where are the recipes? I will read the next in the series to see where Dani’s romance leads rather than expect a captivating mystery. 3 1/2 stars rounded up to 4. Thanks to the publisher, Sourcebooks Landmark, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
RudyLKR More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyable first entry in the series. I really liked the characters, Dani and Spence were so adorable and worked well together. The mystery was good and the book flowed well and was easy to read. I liked the other characters and loved the cross over with some of the Scumble River series (you don't need to have read the other series to read this book, just something fun for fans). The only disappointing part was no recipes in the back. Looking forward to reading more books in this series.
Readah0lic More than 1 year ago
Dani has quit her job in HR after the way a serious issue was handled, and dumped her lying cheating boyfriend she decides to figure out a way to turn her love into cooking into a career. The answer comes in the way of a surprise inheritance. Geraldine Cook her grandmother's best friend. has left Dani her Victorian mansion, which is under renovation. The older woman had plans to open a Bed and Breakfast, but Dani isn't fond of having strangers coming in and out of her home. Having lived in a townhouse and befriended the trio of college girls across the hall, Dani takes the girls into her new home when they are kicked out of the townhouse after a party gets out of hand. The rent money and the girls' agreement to help Dani get her business Chef-to-Go up and running will allow them to all to stay in the old mansion. When Ivy Drakes study group member Regina Bourne hires Dani to cater her Summerpalooza nobody expected the hostess to turn up dead after the party is over, with Ivy and Dani as the prime suspects. With the help of Ivy's Uncle Spencer, Dani begins her own investigation to find Regina's killer and clear her and Ivy's names. Dani uncovers plenty of suspects who hated the girl, but she is thwarted at every turn by the nasty Detective Mikeloff. The plot and subplots are well developed, and the mystery has plenty of suspects with motive. Fans of the authors Scumble River series will get a visit from Frannie Ryan. I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley and Sourcebook for my honest review.
arkieclown More than 1 year ago
TART OF DARKNESS by Denise Swanson is the first book in the Chef-to-Go Mystery series. It’s a series that is centered around Danielle Sloan, who goes by Dani. In this first book, we learn about how she resigned from her HR job for Homestead Insurance Company and broke up with her boyfriend Dr. Kipp “Dr. McCreepy” Newson and is trying to figure out what to do with the rest of her life, which she knows is bound to show her demanding and absent father what a loser she is by foregoing her college education. Dani finds out via a registered letter that a lifelong friend and fellow Alpha Signa Alpha sorority sister of her deceased Grandmother, Geraldine Cook, had left her a house close to the college in Normalton, IL in her will. The house had been mostly renovated for a B&B with a completely updated commercial kitchen. Dani decided that it was a sign for her to fulfill her lifelong dream – to cook and feed the world, well at least her small portion of it. She opens Chef-to-Go catering and fixes ready-made lunch meals. Plus instead of operating a B&B to total strangers, she opens up the renovated bedrooms suites to three college students – Ivy Drake, that lived across from her in her last place and who she felt like an older sister to, and her old roommates, Tippi Epstein and Starr Fleming – on the condition that they donate some of their time in helping with Chef-to-Go as well as paying rent. All seems to be going great (other than she’s never told her father she’s not working at the insurance firm or in HR any longer) until right after her first catering job for Regina Bourne’s SummerPalooza the hostess was found dead. Detective Mikeloff shows up on Dani’s doorstep ready to railroad her for the murder. Seems he has a vendetta that he might settle by framing Dani. Dani relies on Spencer Drake, Ivy’s uncle, to help prove her innocence by helping her figure out who the real murderer is. Along the way, there is this high energy between Dani and Spencer, but both have vowed off dating because of just coming out of bad relationships. Added along the way, Dani’s ex shows up demanding a book he had gifted to her while they were together that is still packed away from her recent move and her house was burglarized (which me never do find out who that villain was). To me the book was well written and thought out. I enjoyed that I didn’t figure out whodunit until about the same time Dani figured it out. The one minus I had was with the electricity between Dani and Spencer I was hoping that some smidgen of relationship might have formed or at least been hinted to. I’m hoping that they will be in situations in the upcoming books in the series to quench the desire for them to get together. TART OF DARKNESS is definitely a book that can be read as a standalone, but if you are like me, you will be on the watch for the next book in this series with great anticipation. I would recommend this book to anyone that loves mystery cozies or just a good book in general.
K_Kendler More than 1 year ago
I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy from Sourcebooks Landmark via Netgalley and these are my own opinions. I really liked this first in a series, Chef-to-Go. Ms Swanson writes a well crafted mystery. I liked the premise, the plot, and the characters. The author has a way of writing characters that you love to hate and ones you want to route to come out on top. I thought the job reinvention had an interesting twist, the main characters are strong and well written. The stereotyping of the rich was a wonderful setup for this story. It also addresses sleazy boyfriends, a bad cop, and student life near campus. I was disappointed that we didn’t have a resolution for Detective Mikeloff by the end of the story but I can see this as an ongoing thread for a while. Also, we don’t find out who actually broke into the house or why (unless I missed it – and I did read the end of the book twice just to be sure.) I can’t wait for the next installment. Like I mentioned, I’m looking forward to finding out about Detective Mikeloff, the break in, and will there be a relationship other than friendship between Dani and Spencer.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Tart of Darkness by Denise Swanson is the first book in Chef-to-Go Mysteries. Danielle “Dani” Sloan has quit her job at Homestead Insurance and given her cheating boyfriend the heave ho. While deciding what to do next, she been cooking for the college girls down the hall and vegging out on the couch watching cooking shows. Then a letter arrives stating she inherited a nearby Victorian mansion that has been remodeled for a bed and breakfast with a fabulous kitchen. This is the perfect opportunity for Dani to pursue her passion—cooking. She opens Chef-to-Go which provides catering for events, personal chef services and ready-to-go lunches for college students. Dani also ends up with three college student tenants (the ladies she cooked for in her old building). Dani is hired to cater spoiled rich girl Regina Bourne’s Summer Palooza. The event goes off without a hitch until a drunk guest sets fire to the dessert table and Regina has a hissy fit. Dani is surprised when Detective Mikeloff arrives at her home stating Regina was found dead by her pool surrounded by Dani’s desserts. The detective has it out for Dani. Dani needs to clear her name before she ends up as chef for the local penitentiary. I like the premise of Tart of Darkness. It is set in a college town (provides a variety of victims) where Dani inherited a large Victorian home with a gourmet kitchen. I thought it was a clever idea to provide ready-to-go lunches for college students. Dani is a character who keeps trying to please her father and fails (has an inferiority complex). Additional characters are the three female college students living with Dani (Tippi, Starr and Ivy) along with Spencer Drake (Ivy’s uncle and love interest for Dani). The attraction between Dani and Spencer is “instant” (of course). Readers gets detailed descriptions of Spencer’s physique and what Spencer thinks about Dani’s attributes (repeated mentions of her heart shaped derriere). I wish the author had dialed back on the attraction (lust) between Dani and Spencer. The point of view switches between Dani and Spencer. I found it disjointed and it lacked an ease (clunky). The novel would have flowed better if it had been written from Dani’s POV or in the third person (my preference). Unlike most cozy mysteries, Tart of Darkness contains foul language. There is a cliché nasty detective and repetitiveness (especially of the phrase “ass hat”). The authors background in psychology is evident in Tart of Darkness with how Dani listens and dispenses advice (confirming response technique). There is a lot going on in Tart of Darkness (seems to be a common malady in cozy mysteries that I have read recently). I did not feel that the ex-boyfriend showing up looking for a book he gave to Dani was needed. The characters from Denise Swanson’s A Scumble River Mystery series and Welcome Back to Scumble River are mentioned (Wally, Skye) and Frannie Ryan is in the story (she wants to write about the murder—get her big break). The mystery was clever with a unique murder method. There are good clues that will aid readers in solving the crime. I give Tart of Darkness 3 out of 5 stars. Tart of Darkness will appeal to fans of Denise Swanson and cozy mysteries.
Shelly9677 More than 1 year ago
Tart of Darkness is a terrific start to a new cozy mystery series. Dani’s life has turned upside down. Betrayed by a boyfriend and disappointed and miserable in her career, she is ready to start the next chapter of her life with a clean slate, so when she has inherits a large home in a hip college town, she jumps at the chance to try out her dream of making a living off her culinary skills and delectable recipes while renting out rooms to college students to help make ends meet. Soon, she and one of her borders becomes a suspect in a sorority homicide. There are cozy elements, mystery, romance and a more youthful vibe than most cozies. It is well written with interesting characters. I look forward to the next book in the Chef-to-Go Mystery series.
bookwomen37 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this first book in a new cozy series. Dani has inherited a large mansion that was being remodeled for a bed and breakfast. She is unhappy with her corporate job so she decided to move into mansion operate it as boarding house for college students and open catering/food service business. When one of her catering customers is found murdered she is the main suspect. The investigating cop is determined to find her guilty so she she has to solve the crime to clear her name. Like many first books there is a lot of set up with all the characters. There is a budding romance and a little too much time was spent on it. Fans of her Scrumble River series will enjoy references to those characters. The mystery was good and the solution did make sense. I look for word to reading more in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tart of Darkness by Denise Swanson is a first in a new series. The story is interesting and I like Dan I, the main character. It seems like Dani has a self esteem problem and I hope to see that go away in the future. When Dani inherits an old house, her future becomes more bright, leading her to follow a path that leads to murder. Deciding to go into the catering business is no small expense. When Dani has the opportunity to collect rent in exchange for sharing her home with college students, it seems like a win win situation. Unfortunately, her first job takes a nasty turn of events and Dani finds herself in the middle I'd a murder investigation. Dani and Ivy, one of her college housemates, are both considered suspects. Ivy calls her uncle to help, and when he meets Dani, the sparks fly. The story is good and the series has potential. I think the author is teetering on the thin line between cozy mystery and romance. I have no problem with romance, but some of the references in this book were a bit much. I don't particularly care to know about the shape of someone's butt while reading a cozy mystery. I voluntarily read an ARC of this book provided by the publisher and NetGalley.
Barbara-Tobey More than 1 year ago
Glad to see this is the first of a series, as this book was so enjoyable. The mystery was solved, but there is so much potential for romance and further adventures with the protagonist, uncle, trio of college girls and more issues. I look forward to reading about it all. The publisher provided a copy via NetGalley for my voluntary review.