The Chocolate Cupid Killings by JoAnna Carl is the ninth book in the “Chocoholic” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, October 2009

TenHuis Chocolade is wall-to-wall with hearts—most of them chocolate—for Valentine’s Day, when every treat is meant for someone’s sweet-heart. But Lee is getting no love from private detective Derrick Valentine.

He’s looking for one of their new employee—a woman Lee and her Aunt Nettie have been harboring for a secret underground railroad-type organization that aids abused women in escaping their tormentors. Luckily, they manage not to spill the cocoa beans and clue him in.

But the situation becomes a complex confection when Valentine meets his own end. And Aunt Nettie is holding the murder weapon. Nettie doesn’t fit the mold of a murderer, but how can she explain without alerting the authorities to their secret guest. Now Lee will have to clear Nettie of suspicion without exposing the innocent—and find a killer with a bitter heart that’s definitely not made of chocolate.

The detective who queried Lee is found murdered near her shop.  A woman who Lee and her Aunt were hiding has disappeared.  Are the two connected?  Lee sifts through the clues to find the killer.  My rating: 3 stars

JoAnna Carl is the pseudonym of Eve K. Sandstrom

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