Valentine Candy Murder by Leslie Meier

Last year Kensington Publishing released a compilation of two of my favorite Lucy Stone Mysteries – Valentine Murder and Chocolate Covered Murder.   Both books are still available and sold separately, but you’ll get that extra bang for your buck with these velvety smooth cozies rolled into one book:  Valentine Candy Murder.

Lucy Stone is a small-time reporter in the little town of Tinker’s Cove, Maine.  She’s married with children, keeps a watchful eye on the family budget, hones her writing and reporting skills at the local Pennysaver Newspaper, and prides herself on getting home in time to have a proper dinner prepared for her family.

Throughout this long-running 24+ book series, you’ll find Lucy and her husband, Bill, worrying about the same things most middle class families raising a family fret about:   How will they make ends meet?  Will they be able to send their kids to college?  How can they protect their children from drugs and violence? How can they keep their children from making the wrong choices in life?  It’s these honest and detailed traits that make the Stone Family easy to love.

CHOCOLATE COVERED MURDER  was released in 2012.  Set in the darkest, coldest part of winter, it starts off with a drowning that is ruled accidental and the case is closed.  After all, it’s not unusual for ice fishermen to have accidents such as falling through thin ice.

But as this story quietly cruises along, a new cast of characters land in this sleepy little town.  There’s Trey Meacham, a new chocolatier, giving the local Fern’s Famous Fudge Shop some stiff competition.  Apparently his shop, Chanticleer Chocolate, has a new tart – and it ain’t chocolate!   Tamzin Graves is the new manager and a first-rate floozy.  She certainly enjoys charming the pants off the local men – both figuratively and literally.  As one can imagine, it’s causing quite a ruckus with the local wives.

There’s also a very wealthy older couple from out of town, who recently lost everything to a fire, who decided Tinker’s Cover would be the perfect place to make a new start.  But according to the local realtor, “he can’t quite put his finger on it,” but something seems a bit “off.”  You’ve even got Tamzin’s ex showing up in town with a chip on his shoulder and a mission to accomplish.

The book really starts kicking into high gear with a corpse slathered in chocolate – NOT something on anyone’s Valentine gift giving list!   A sinister plot quietly unravels – and as usual, Lucy finds herself stuck in the middle and at the mercy of a killer.

VALENTINE MURDER is the other book in this compilation.  Originally released in 1999, like all of Leslie Meier’s books in this series, it also withstands the test of time and can be read as a stand-alone – you don’t have to follow the series to thoroughly enjoy her books.

Library board meetings may sound boring, but finding a body in the basement can certainly liven things up!  There’s a killer among them and as Lucy sniffs around for yet another newsworthy story for the Pennysaver, she finds curious lifestyles and deep dark secrets – surprisingly, among Tinker’s Cove’s most solid citizens!

Lucy Stone Mysteries are as addictive as rich dark chocolate and are loaded with an assortment of characters and suspects more varied than a Whitman’s Sampler!  “High” on the cozy scale for solid mysteries, “Low” in calories – pick up a copy of VALENTINE CANDY MURDER today.

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