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4.00 out of 5 based on 2 customer ratings
7 reviews
Hot Chocolate

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Book 1 of this cozy mystery series is about the quirky, eccentric Alcott family, made rich by their chocolate company, and a murder that has them in a stranglehold.

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Meet the middle-aged, eccentric Alcott sisters: Madge, Lila Mae and Dorothea, heiresses to the Alcott Chocolate fortune and mavens of Houston’s elite River Oaks.

Madge ambushes Lila Mae with Dorothea’s manipulative plea: she can’t care for Bernie, their 92-year old father, any longer. Lila Mae explodes in a hissy fit—she had warned Dorothea years ago that they should put Bernie in an assisted living center.

Robert, Lila Mae’s astrologer, warns of impending problems and he’s rarely wrong.

The sisters call a meeting with Walter Branson, their solicitor. They discuss Bernie’s nurse Bambi Chaline, a blonde bombshell who looks more like a hooker than a nurse. The sisters fear that Bambi has her sights on being the next Mrs. Alcott and the need to separate her from their father is at critical mass.

Arrangements are made for Bernie to be transferred over to Lake Sides Assisted Living Center in the Uptown Galleria area and a severance package is drawn up for Bambi. Out from under the ever watchful eye of Dorothea, Bernie takes to the Lake Sides social scene like a butterfly to sugar-water. He’s the best dressed senior and chases the nurses relentlessly. He may be 92, but he’s a handful.

Jimmy Ray Chaline, Bambi’s bowling alley husband, is enraged that Bambi was let go. He hires ambulance chaser Mark Slade to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination. Bambi had been more than satisfied with her bonus, letters of recommendation and praise from the Alcott clan. She does not want to sue her former employer and the Alcott chocolate empire.

Jimmy Ray’s eyes dazzle as Mark Slade convinces him that the court will award Bambi millions. The judge dismisses the suit as frivolous and it is thrown out of court further fueling Jimmy Ray’s rage. He’s shocked when the callous attorney demands his bill be paid upon receipt.

When Jimmy Ray fails to return home from the bowling alley that night, a series of events unfold that shocks the entire Alcott family and their extended members.

Who killed Jimmy Ray Chaline? Was it Bambi, his innocent looking wife? Could it have been Tilly, Walter Branson’s half-looped niece who had a mysterious relationship with Jimmy Ray? Or was it Dorothea Divine – the weapon came from her house where Bambi worked for three years.

The Alcott clan is in turmoil and no amount of chocolate will soothe their nerves until they solve the mystery and Dorothea is off the hook.

Weight 1.6 lbs
Dimensions 5.2 x 1.5 x 8 in

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7 Comments on "Hot Chocolate"

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Katy D
Katy D
What a fun story! This is one of those books that made me laugh out loud more than once. I love the characters and the story keeps you on your toes. The setting in the south is fun too. This author is definitely onto something - can't wait for more from her!
Laura V. Arzola
Laura V. Arzola
Do you need a break, just a few good hours of harmless fun? Do you like the Grandma in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series? You'll love Hot Chocolate. The characters are all quirky and funny, and, when you aren't laughing out loud, you'll be smiling. I've read Hot Chocolate, and I want more hot books from Dawn Ireland, so I can laugh some more!
Heather Pearson
Heather Pearson
There are times in life when only a serving of comfort food will cure what ever ails you. When these time strike, sisters Madge, Lila Mae and Dorothea, as heirs to the Alcott Chocolates Company, find themselves turning to steaming cups of hot chocolate topped with generous dollops of marshmallow fluff. The main reason for consuming such quantities of that dark nectar is the ongoing care of their 92 year old father, Bernie, or rather the termination of the employment of his voluptuous day nurse, Bambi. Things heat up a further notch when Bambi's husband, Jimmy Ray determines that she was unfairly terminated and sues the sisters for an outrageous sum. Jimmy Ray is not a lovable person, though the sister's have to admit that he has done a great job revamping the local bowling alley. Author Dawn Greenfield Ireland has created a very comfortable group of characters that I would immediately feel at home with, should I happen to be in Houston. Even though the sisters are extremely wealthy, they are not pretentious in any way. Lila Mae starts each day by making and eating breakfast with Amelia, her cook. Dorothea treats her staff, Maria and Joseph as though they are family. Ms. Ireland even managed to make me feel bad for the way Jimmy Ray is treated. This book was fun to read and each time I thought I knew who did it, Dawn would add a new twist or reveal an unknown connection and I would be back to the beginning. Some of these twists include Lila Mae's boyfriend, Detective Chance Walker, Uncle Tito, who is some sort of Mexican shaman, and popping up at critical moments, is the astrologer Robert. These very diverse characters combine to make a memorable 'family' who I'd like to read more about.
Margaret Rustan
Margaret Rustan
Thoroughly enjoyed each and every character so aptly described by Dawn. Light, airy and believable. If you need some time away from the humdrum of everyday living, pick up a copy. The story line is good, the characters totally believable and I was quite taken with Bambi. This story is a good way to spend a few evenings, by the fire, with a cup of Hot Chocolate.
Delmore
Delmore
I liked all the details of clothing, jewelry, interior decor (good and bad) and the New Age stuff, Feng Shui etc. I kept getting hungry because of the lavish descriptions of food... I thought, these people love to eat. Lila Mae even describes how she makes a treat for Louie the dog. It is funny now looking back on it that the murder is committed with a fork! The thing that kept it rolling was the little mysteries inside of the bigger mystery. How exactly was the murder committed? What was inside the locked drawers in Bambi's trailer? What was inside the safety deposit box? What was in the office at the bowling alley? The prosaic details of everyday life and especially eating, mixed with the supernatural element reminded me a bit of David Lynch, the Twin Peaks TV series in particular. There is a deadpan humor to it.
Laura Freestone
Laura Freestone
This was my first cozy mystery novel. Will I be back for more? Not really. I liked my action-packed, fast-paced thrillers. I found I got a little bored because the story involved a lot about their lives and relationships, not what I am used to in a mystery book. With that being said I still liked the book, it was a good story and was solidly written. With the genre not really being my cup of tea, I did find I was bored and skimmed read near the end. This was after I read 70% of the book though. Again nothing to do with the book, just not my genre. I liked how you were guessing from the beginning to the end who the ‘bad’ guy was. I had no clue. The recipes at the end was a nice touch.
Steven Arnett
Steven Arnett
An excellent mystery that draws readers into the story! Lovers of the classic mystery genre will like this book a lot. It has all the elements of a good mystery: An unexpected murder with many possible suspects, a group of interesting and engaging characters, a clever plot, and an interesting whodunit investigation. The method of the murder itself is quite unusual and helps maintain readers’ interest as they try to imagine why anyone would try to kill someone that way. Another interesting twist is the romance between detective Chance Walker and one of the Alcott sisters. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale and the eccentric cast of characters that make up the Alcott clan. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series. Readers will like the bonus chocolate recipes at the end of the book!