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The Cocoa Conspiracy: A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery (Lady Arianna Hadley Mystery) Mass Market Paperback – December 6, 2011

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The Cocoa Conspiracy: A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery (Lady Arianna Hadley Mystery) + Recipe for Treason: A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery (Lady Arianna Hadley Mystery) + Sweet Revenge: A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery (Lady Arianna Hadley Mystery)
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Product Details

  • Series: Lady Arianna Hadley Mystery (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (December 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451235312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451235312
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #760,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 19 customer reviews
A great addition to the historical cozy mystery genre.
These books give a very exciting story and lots of historical information Looking forward to the next book in the series.
F. Yoder
The characters effortlessly draw the reader into their world and drama.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kim Adams on December 18, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Forrest Gump is famous for telling others at the bus stop, "My momma always said, `Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.'" In the case of an Andrea Penrose book, you know exactly what you will get - a Regency mystery laced with charming characters and witty dialogue.

We first meet Lady Arianna and Alessandro de Quincy, Earl of Saybrook, in Andrea Penrose's SWEET REVENGE. They return as newlyweds in THE COCOA CONSPIRACY. Arianna is still a quirky "fish out of water" among the ton yet Sandro loves her all the more. No sooner do they settle into their married life, academic pursuits, and chocolate delights, a mystery blows their way. When Arianna purchases a rare book with intricate engravings of Theobroma Cacao (cocoa tree) for Sandro's birthday, she stumbles into a political conspiracy that follows them to a house party. Arianna then realizes the explosive nature of her recent purchase. Once again, Arianna and Sandro team up to solve the mystery while maintaining their precarious standing in society.

Penrose excels in taking the reader back to Regency England. She doesn't miss a beat by adding a host of nontraditional characters who contribute to (or help solve) the book's mystery. Penrose also dishes up a side story - the growing romance between the married couple. In fact, her characters are the "cocoa" of her stories - they are the bitter sweet flavor that addicts us to Regency England. An added bonus is Arianna's chocolate recipes that introduce each chapter - the recipes hint at the action to come. And the action does come - the story draws the reader into the historic events during Regency England, including the Congress of Vienna.

The pièce de résistance is Penrose's voice.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mary Gramlich VINE VOICE on December 12, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Arianna Hadley is now The Countess of Saybrook but that has not slowed down her love of creating a chocolate convection or solving a great mystery. Her husband Alessandro Henry George De Quincy, the fifth Earl of Saybrook is very fond of the chocolate delights she masterfully executes, and less fond of her ability to wind up on the wrong end of a pistol. The woman is a complete confusion of emotions for him but love does have a way of muddying the waters and stirring up all things primal in a male.

Saybrook is still in his spy element and trying to keep Arianna out of it but to no avail as a string of coincidental events have had Arianna uncovering paperwork. While shopping for a book Arianna finds information about a potential traitor and destruction of the delicate peace being brokered between warring nations. Europe is ready to explode and the papers Arianna has found might be able to defuse the situation if the correct steps are taken to prevent an eruption. Saybrook is being pushed to take part of this complex and complicated web of treason and terror with Arianna by his side, which is something he savors but still wishes to protect her completely. There is a spy playing catch me if you can, a set of egos too big to fit through any door, and people that hold the fate of the world in their deceitful hands, which is just another day for Arianna and Saybrook.

Andrea Penrose is a mastermind at creating the perfect recipe of chocolate and mystery in just the correct equal part. This second book in the Lady Arianna Hadley series is rich with dangerous plots, dastardly characters, and the smell of something wonderful baking in the oven. Arianna is as strong in her beliefs with never a question of her love and loyalty to Saybrook. Their devotion to one another is the tenderness we all crave combined with a touch of bittersweet just to keep you on your toes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on December 6, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lady Arianna Hadley stops at Messrs. Harvey & Watkins Rare Book Emporium to buy an expensive book on chocolate for her husband Charles' birthday present. However, a man accosts her in the bookstore insisting the book is his. Instead of swooning from the threats, Lady Saybrook kicks his butt. He flees and she purchases the book.

However before she gives Saybrook his birthday gift, she finds classified documents concealed inside the seam. Arianna fears her uncle-in-law has managed to step into it again. Meanwhile someone shoots at Saybrook wounding the former military Intel officer Charles when he is hunting. The Saybrook pair has quite a mystery to unravel as each incident is dangerous and personal.

The latest Lady Arianna Regency Mystery (see Sweet Revenge) is a terrific tale due to the unique kick butt heroine who is not afraid to brawl against tough rogues. Although starting each chapter with an Arianna cocoa recipe seems out of place with the non stop action (better to have fewer included in domestic scenes), the story line is fast-paced from the moment Arianna beats up a foreign thief in the book "shop" and never slows down as she works the case of the Cocoa Conspiracy.

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By sevenmoonlight on December 30, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Arianna is purchasing a special book on Chocolate for her husband Saybrook when she is accosted by a man insisting he must have the book. Arianna doesn't shrink from the man even when he pulls a knife, but manages to come away unscathed and with the book. When wrapping the present she finds papers have been secreted in the book that appear to involve treason. This discovery propels Arianna and Saybrook to the Congress of Vienna that brings together dignitaries from around the world. Their mission is to prevent an assassination attempt that could upset the power structure of Europe.

There is plenty of suspense and intrigue in this book as Arianna even goes undercover at one point. I literally could not put the book down. There is the political tension and suspense of spying added to the suspense of Saybrook and Arriana learning to really trust each other's motives which doesn't come easy to either. I love both of these characters. Saybrook is dark and dangerous, closed off and Arianna is used to living by her wits on her own.

Will they stop the assassination and learn to trust each other fully? Will the enemy they crossed paths with in the first book finally be identified and brought to justice? With their personal enemy in the government finally leave them alone? While this book stands on its own fine, there are some threads from the prior book that are woven into this one to allow a running subplot (think something along the lines of Sherlock's nemesis Moriarty.)

The final confrontation is exciting and the wrap-up sets up another adventure to tease the reader. I am already anxiously waiting for the next book in the series.

Again I say that this book is a higher caliber than is hinted at by the artwork and blurbs.
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