A SHOT IN THE 80% DARK
Bean to Bar Mysteries, Book 4
Felicity Koerber’s bean to bar chocolate shop thriving. Despite everything she’s been through with the murders she’s helped solve, Felicity is ready to take on new challenges. So when a local museum offers her a contract to create a chocolate replica of a gigantic sailing ship sculpture for a gala celebrating Galveston’s history, she jumps at the chance to combine chocolate-crafting with art.
I do enjoy this series! Felicity is smart and creative, and if she’s branching out into chocolate sculpture, she’s not afraid to try new things. Before I read this book, I hadn’t even thought of being able to 3D print chocolate. That’s pretty amazing stuff. But I digress. Felicity has to put herself out there for this sculpture, investing time, investing in new equipment for new processes, and investing in new people with different skills for different parts of the project. The whole process had me fascinated.
Not only is Felicity branching out in terms of her chocolate craft, she’s learning to scuba dive! She misses her deceased husband. She’s had to deal with a lot coming through that. But she’s not stagnating. She’s learning and growing and doing different things. If she was my friend in real life, I’d tell her how proud I was of her.
The characters were an interesting lot. You often hear about temperamental artists, and several of these fit the bill. That made it challenging to really pinpoint who might be the killer. Slights real and imagined abounded among this artistic crew, but which one of them could have been upset enough to kill? It was tough to get a handle on it. Royer would lead one way, I’d think I’d figured it out, and then she’d switch things up! That makes a mystery so much more fun, when it keeps you guessing.
Renoir the cockatoo was a delightful addition to the story. He was quite the character, creating art for the museum’s benefit and talking up a storm. He tossed out some phrases that really made Felicity wonder what he’d heard, and from whom. Ah, if only birds could create their own sentences instead of just repeating what they’ve heard. Renoir might have been able to offer some insight into the murders right off the bat! And I appreciated that Royer made the point that bird ownership is a lifelong commitment, as some birds, cockatoos included, can live about 40 years.
Felicity is still having a hard time making up her mind between Logan and Arlo. What a dilemma – choosing between two men who sound positively delicious, and who each complement Felicity’s personality in their own way! She’s finally committed to making a decision by Autumn’s wedding, though, so the love triangle may not last much longer. (Who are you cheering for? I’m currently leaning toward Team Arlo.)
Chocolate, history, art, mystery, and romance – that’s a five-star story right there. I can’t wait to see where the series takes us next!
Amber Royer writes the Chocoverse comic telenovela-style foodie-inspired space opera series and the Bean to Bar Mysteries. She is also the author of Story Like a Journalist: a Workbook for Novelists, which boils down her writing knowledge into an actionable plan involving over 100 worksheets to build a comprehensive story plan for your novel. She also teaches creative writing and is an author coach.