Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake

Sarah Graves. Kensington, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4967-2922-4

The departure of summer tourists from Eastport, Maine, has brought the Chocolate Moose bakery’s business to a standstill in Graves’s appealing fifth Death by Chocolate mystery (after 2021’s Death by Snickerdoodle). Tired of fretting about the costs of keeping the bakery open during the winter, Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree and her business partner, Ellie White, think they might be hallucinating when a limousine pulls up outside their store. Even more surprising is the passenger inside: film legend Ingrid Merryfield, long gone from the silver screen. Even more surprising is the news that Ingrid, a long-ago resident of Eastport, has purchased the Cliff House of evil repute and plans to reside there. For her first party, Ingrid wants Jake and Ellie to provide the desserts. When a storm traps partygoers at the Cliff House, Jake and Ellie are going to need all their snooping skills to save the day—and themselves—as the body count rises faster than yeasty dough. Despite an overly convoluted plot, this cozy, with its down-to-earth heroines and wry observations about life in Maine, makes for delicious reading. And who can resist a mouthwatering recipe for chocolate pizza? Agent: Christina Hogrebe, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Apr.)
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