the newest sleuth in galveston just wants to make chocolate
Hungry From all the Chocolate
An Amateur Sleuth Rebuilding Her Life
An Adorable Bunny
A Surfer Girl Baking Assistant
Social Media Addiction
Historic Galveston Island
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An Idyllic Chocolate Shop. An island with dramatic weather. And a murder.
Welcome to Greetings and Felicitations! It is Felicity Koerber’s bean to bar chocolate factory/shop – and her refuge from the pain in her past. When she returned home to open it, she never imagined she’d be solving a murder – but now she will have to, to save her business’s reputation and avoid being framed as a killer.
Felicity Koerber has had a rough year. She’s moving back to Galveston Island and opening a bean to bar chocolate factory, fulfilling a dream she and her late husband, Kevin, had shared. Craft chocolate means a chance to travel the world, meeting with farmers and bringing back beans she can turn into little blocks of happiness, right close to home and family.
She thinks trouble has walked into her carefully re-built world when puddle-jump pilot Logan Hanlon shows up at her grand opening to order custom chocolates. Then one of her employees drops dead at the party, and Felicity’s one-who-got-away ex-boyfriend – who’s now a cop – thinks Felicity is a suspect. As the murder victim’s life becomes more and more of a mystery, Felicity realizes that if she’s going to clear her name in time to save her business, she might need Logan’s help. Though she’s not sure if she’s ready to let anyone into her life – even if it is to protect her from being the killer’s next victim.
For Felicity, Galveston is all about history, and a love-hate relationship with the ocean, which keeps threatening to deliver another hurricane – right into the middle of her investigation. Can she figure it out before all the clues get washed away?
Cozy mystery with a little sweet romance…and a lot of chocolate.
FIRST IN A NEW SERIES
The author of the Chocoverse science fiction series brings you a brand new adventure inspired by real-life chocolate makers.
“With as many unpredictable twists and turns as the hurricane approaching Galveston, Grand Openings Can Be Murder is an intriguing cozy mystery set in a new chocolate shop along the island’s historic Strand. Readers will love learning about the bean-to-bar chocolate-making process while the store’s owner, Felicity, pursues truth, justice, and the perfect chocolate bar.” — Diane Kelly, Award-winning author of the Death & Taxes, Paw Enforcement, House Flipper, and Busted mystery series.
If you love chocolate-and who doesn’t-then you’ll love GRAND OPENINGS CAN BE MURDER. Heartwarming and suspenseful in the same breath, chock full of compelling characters and great plot twists, this book will leave you wanting more. I can’t wait for the next Felicity Koerber mystery! — Harry Hunsicker, former executive vice president of the Mystery Writers of America and the author of THE DEVIL’s COUNTRY.
“Set inside the fascinating world of bean-to-bar chocolate, Grand Openings Can be Murder will satisfy your craving for a delicious mystery, flavorful characters, and a smart and sassy sleuth.” — Rebecca Adler, author of The Taste of Texas mystery series.
Hungry From all the Chocolate
A Hotel Renovation Project
An Adorable Bunny
A Surfer Girl Baking Assistant
Social Media Addiction
Mischievous Pet Octopus
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An Idyllic Chocolate Shop. An island with endangered species. And a murder.
Felicity Koerber’s bean to bar chocolate shop on Galveston’s historic Strand is bringing in plenty of customers – in part due to the notoriety of the recent murder of one of her assistants, which she managed to solve. Things seem to be taking a turn for the better. Her new assistant, Mateo, even gets along with Carmen, the shop’s barista turned pastry chef. Felicity thinks she’s learning to cope with change – right up until one of her friends gets engaged. Everyone’s expecting her to ask Logan, her former bodyguard, to be her plus one. But even the thought of asking out someone else still makes her feel disloyal to her late husband’s memory — so maybe she hasn’t moved on from her husband’s death as much as she thought.
Felicity isn’t planning to contact Logan any time soon. Only, Felicity finds ANOTHER body right outside her shop – making it two murders at Greetings and Felicitations in as many months. That night, Mateo disappears, leaving Felicity to take care of his pet octopus. The police believe that Mateo committed the murder, but Felicity is convinced that, despite the mounting evidence, something more is going on, and Mateo may actually be in trouble.
When Logan assumes that he’s going to help Felicity investigate, she realizes she’s going to have to spend time with him – whether she’s ready to really talk to him or not. Can Felicity find out what happened to Mateo, unmask a killer, and throw an engagement party all at the same time?
“Royer has concocted a sweetly dark confection with 70% DARK INTENSIONS, the second serving in her Bean to Bar Mysteries series. She serves up intrigue (and a dash of romance) with a mix of dastardly villains, a likable heroine, and a quirky cast of supporting characters, including Clive, the octopus. Throw in illegal animal trafficking, clues galore that only Felicity can solve, and all things chocolate, and you’ll read this yummy treat late into the night.” –Amy Shojai, author of September Day & Shadow pet-centric thrillers.
Felicity Koerber’s bean to bar chocolate shop on Galveston’s historic Strand has been the scene of two murders – both of which she has been instrumental in helping solve. So when she gets invited to demo her chocolate skills aboard a cruise ship sailing out of the local port, she’s excited at the chance to get away from the shop long enough to regain her equilibrium. She even brings her best friend along, and makes plans for time at the spa. But when she gets on board, she finds out that she’s been booked for a mystery-themed cruise, and said best friend, Autumn, has to finally deal with the real reasons she quit writing mysteries. Only – if that wasn’t stressful enough – it doesn’t take long before there’s a real murder on the cruise, and someone Felicity knows becomes the prime suspect. When said suspect asks her for help, she can’t exactly say no, can she?
Felicity finds herself surrounded by cruise goers who all had connections to the victim – and finds that both Logan (her business partner, whom she recently kissed) and Arlo (the cop who was once Felicity’s first boyfriend, before she moved away from Galveston) are dealing with the case until more official help can arrive. How will Felicity survive the ensuing awkwardness?
One thing that helps: the retired police dog turned therapy dog she meets on board. Satchmo helps Felicity deal with being back on the water after tragedy in her past – and also helps her uncover a vital clue to the case. Can Felicity unmask the killer and keep a friend from being framed before all the suspects leave the ship?
“Felicity is off to work on a cruise and talk about how chocolate is made. And it wouldn’t be a mystery without someone ending up dead, and in this case, a character that isn’t well-liked and has something of a shady past according to his ex-wife, girlfriend, and other characters. There are so many red herring clues that you have to put on your thinking cap to figure out who and why.” – Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews – Goodreads
“Author Amber Royer writes a well-plotted novel, and she knows her way around the Port of Galveston, Texas. The storyline moves quickly with a vast assortment of suspicions raised as to why several of the passengers would be killers. I was amazed at all the details the author provided as red herrings. Mystery fans will love piecing all the clues together to solve this murder mystery!” – Chatting About Cozies – Goodreads
“Felicity is going on a cruise this time planning to have demos about how to make chocolate. What she wasn’t told is that it is a mystery themed cruise because they knew she wouldn’t come. With all her friends there it should be fun but when the LARPing event got started a real body throws a kink in things.” – Jessica Robbins – Goodreads
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.
The project is fun – right up until there’s not just one but two dead artists on the scene, and Felicity has to change gears back to detective. Logan, Felicity’s business partner and previous bodyguard, and Arlo, Felicity’s ex who is now the cop investigating the case, are split on which victim they think was actually the intended one. Felicity may have to take some chances, both emotionally and in luring out a killer, to determine the truth.
Can she find out how Galveston’s history relates to the murders, unmask a killer, and prepare 2,000 chocolate desserts for the gala all at the same time?
“Felicity Koerber doesn’t enjoy being thought of as a murder magnet but, dang, she does have a way of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the process, we’re learning quite a bit about the various types of chocolate, its potential uses, and how it can be processed. Who knew chocolate could be an art form, too?” – June Price – Goodreads
“A Shot in the 80% Dark is the fourth book about Felicity, a widow, chocolate maker, and a mature sleuth. Along with her first love, business partner, friends, and local artists in Galveston she investigates a string of murders relating to an upcoming art exhibit(one she’s been hired to create a chocolate sculpture for). This book had me guessing until the end and found me rooting for the cast of characters.” – Mariah Jones – Goodreads
A Mysterious Challenge
Dinner with Family
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Felicity Koerber’s bean to bar chocolate shop on Galveston’s historic Strand is expanding, as it has become a gathering spot for the community, despite having been the scene of multiple murders. Artists she met while doing a chocolate sculpture are now working out of the shop. So when Felicity is invited to tea by an eccentric art collector, she’s intrigued, especially when she gets asked to pose for a portrait done with chocolate on chocolate. Only, where there is a murder the next day at the same historic house where the tea was held, one of Felicity’s artist friends becomes the main suspect.
When the killer threatens that, unless Felicity unravels the murder, one of her two love interests will be the next victim, she finds herself unwittingly at the center of a puzzle, with a Sherlock Holmes obsessed murderer who wants to be the next Moriarty – and wants to cast Felicity as Sherlock.
Felicity starts finding unexpected connects between her friends and acquaintances, and has to deal with the idea that someone who knows her is a murderer. At the same time, she has to keep her business running, despite construction dust and unruly customers – and an unexpected order for thousands of truffles.
Satchmo the retired police dog turned therapy dog returns to help her sniff out a few clues, and the kidnapping of Ruffles, the quirky artist’s cat, helps lead Felicity into the puzzle. Can Felicity solve it in time to protect the people she cares about from becoming additional victims?
My science fiction trilogy supposes that chocolate has become the most important thing in the universe, and I learned so much about real-world craft chocolate makers while researching and publicizing those books, that I decided to write a cozy with a bean to bar chocolate maker as a sleuth. I mean think about it. To succeed as a chocolate maker, a person has to be ingenuitive, sometimes building machines from scratch when the machine to suit their needs doesn’t exist, or needs to be repaired or modified. A lot of chocolate makers start out experimenting in their kitchens, winnowing their cacao beans with a hairdryer outdoors, so the husks can just blow away. They’re adventurous, many of them traveling to the country of origin to work directly with farmers to make purchasing deals. They’re creative, with excellent palates, as making chocolate has much in common with being a winemaker or a coffee roaster. More than anything, the chocolate makers I have met are generous with their time and expertise. I’ve had people take the time to show me around their factory, explain how certain aspects of chocolate making work — once chocolate maker even consulted on this series, reading parts of the manuscript and answering the questions I didn’t even know to ask.
Felicity’s fictional shop is in Galveston Texas, a ferry ride away from my hometown. I located it on the Historic Strand, to give her interesting architecture and a central view of going-ons with my fictionalized small business community. Galveston has always been one of my favorite places to spend time, from the beach to the state park, it’s a great place to photograph birds and other wildlife. And there is so much history related to the island to explore. Felicity lives with her aunt, who is a house-flipper specializing in rejuvenating neglected Victorian homes (did I mention I love architecture?). There is an extremely sweet romance triangle that will sort itself out over the course of the series.
I have often been told my books make people hungry, and with the Cajun food references plus all the chocolate, this one should be no exception.
On Grand Openings Can Be Murder: “ Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate comes together in this solid start to a new cozy series. ”
On Grand Openings Can Be Murder: “Grand Openings Can Be Murder by Texas author Amber Royer combines my love of Galveston, chocolate, and the suspense of living through a hurricane.”
On Grand Openings Can Be Murder: “It is difficult to put into words why Felicity quickly won my heart. Maybe it is because she is clearly talented, smart, and beautiful, yet is self deprecating and just a wonderfully kind human being.”
On Grand Openings Can Be Murder: “One of the best new series I’ve read! Amber Royer brings the reader a mystery that keeps you guessing and turning the pages.”