Playing With Bonbon Fire: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
by Dorothy St. James
About the Book
Playing With Bonbon Fire: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
2nd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (March 13, 2018)
Hardcover: 352 pages
Digital ASIN: B074MBXLWX
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 Southern Chocolate Shop mystery served up just right for fans of JoAnna Carl and Joanne Fluke.
Folly Beach: the Quirky Beach Town that Inspired a Cozy Mystery Series
The town of Folly Beach is a tightknit beach community located about 15 minutes from the historic city of Charleston in South Carolina. Several tribes of Native Americans made the island their summer home until the late 1600s when the tribes moved further north to get away from the colonists’ settlements. During the Civil War, the island was the location of an important Union battery, “The Swamp Angel.” And the Pier and Pavilion located at the center of the island hosted many famous bands from the late 1930s and through the 1950s. It was quite the place to be.
A shrimp boat cruising down the Folly coastline.
I moved to Folly Beach in the early 90s and lived there for 20 years in a tiny beachfront cottage, witnessing all the drama and excitement that happens on an island community—from both the natural environment and the human inhabitants. Out on the “edge of America” it felt as if the subtle rhythms of nature thrummed through my body. I watched in wonder as the air rushed down the beach, racing up into towering storm clouds. I marveled at the schools of menhaden fish as they seem to bubble up on the ocean surface on hot summer days. And I’d floated over the waves as the early morning sun danced like gold on the water’s glassy-smooth surface…until a fish would bump into my leg. Yikes! That’s when I’d run for the shore, I’m not too brave to admit.
Sunset over the marsh
Folly Beach has a reputation of being the local beach that attracts the artists, the outsiders, and competitive surfers. It’s a fun mix of residents and offers quite a different feel from other (more affluent) area beaches. This has changed over the years as property values have risen. But the spirit of the island has remained. “Keep Folly Folly” has been a rallying call reminding town leaders to preserve its unique character.
As you might imagine, I love this town! And that is why this special place served as an inspiration for my Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series. While Camellia Beach isn’t a carbon copy of Folly Beach, I worked hard to depict the island’s breezy spirit. Places like these are vanishing from the US landscape. The Folly Beach of today is very different from the Folly Beach of the 50s or even the70s. What makes it so special is slowly slipping away.
Everyone loves Folly’s quirky charm.
Camellia Beach, like Folly Beach, has a small downtown. Camellia Beach’s commercial district is in need of much more renovation than Folly’s quaint, carefully maintained buildings. The hotel in Camellia Beach, the Pink Pelican, doubles as an informal retirement home for many of the long-term residents. It’s the heart of the community.
And then there’s the Chocolate Box, a chocolate shop that has survived hurricanes and downturned economies. Charity Penn, a newcomer to the island, now owns this historic candy shop. And in addition to having a keen instinct for how to blend different flavors with chocolate to make her customer’s taste buds sing, she cannot ignore any unsolved crimes that threaten her adopted island.
In Playing with Bonbon Fire, the second book in the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series, Penn is at it again—cooking up treats while working to keep everyone town of Camellia Beach safe. A threatening note, a dead musician, and decades of secrets put the town’s first beach music festival and its band members in grave danger. With the help from her meddling half-sister and a new flavor of chocolate sweets to ignite the senses, Penn follows the shifting tide of evidence to uncover a forty-year-old secret.
I hope you’ll come with me, and spend some time on this special island paradise. Is there a special place like Folly Beach that has captured your heart? I’d love to hear about it.
Dorothy St. James, known for the White House Gardener Mystery series, has gone back to her roots and setting a mystery series in a Southern beach town much like the one she’s called home for the past 20 years. The Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries combine her love of fine chocolates, quirky Southern charm, with a dash of danger. Asking for Truffle is the first book in this exciting new series. Playing with Bonbon Fire came out in March 2018 and In Cold Chocolate is scheduled to release September 2018.
About the Author
Mystery author Dorothy St. James was born in New York but raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on an artsy island community in South Carolina with her husband, a neurotic dog, and fluffy cat. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.
Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn’t as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she could not ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.
Known for the White House Gardener Mystery series, Dorothy is going back to her roots and setting a mystery series in a Southern beach town much like the one she’s called home for the past 20 years. The Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries combine her love of fine chocolates, quirky Southern charm, with a dash of danger.
* Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of the award-winning multi-published author, Dorothy McFalls. She enjoys writing in several different genres. Her works have been nominated for many awards including Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called her work: “amazing”, “perfect”, “filled with emotion”, and “lined with danger.”
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