Bittersweet Demise

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 Moss Holloween, the annual Halloween celebration in sleepy Moss Hollow, Georgia, turns bittersweet for Jillian Green and the Southern Sweetie Pies baking club when they find themselves immersed in the mystery surrounding the murder of a visiting museum curator.

Jillian and her grandmother, Bertie Harper, decide to decorate The Chocolate Shoppe Bakery with a Día de los Muertos—Day of the Dead—theme using traditional decorations from Hispanic and Mayan history. Jillian prepares a display that includes a cheap reproduction of a Mayan vase emblazoned with a cacao tree motif.

But a break-in at the bakery leaves the display in shambles, the vase in shards, and Jillian’s nerves in shreds as she tries to connect the dots on both crimes and a nasty bit of trick-or-treating.

It doesn’t help that Jillian finds herself dealing with the emotional roller coaster of her battered love life. She anticipates going to the Moss Holloween costume ball with Hunter Greyson, the handsome director of Greyson & Sons mortuary—and the county coroner to boot. But Hunter has a “friend” from Atlanta he plans to squire to the event, and the snub takes Jillian by surprise.

Enter Troy Hansford, owner of a classic car dealership in Athens and a cousin to the lady from whom Jillian had purchased the Mayan vase replica. Troy’s interest in Jillian is obvious, flattering, and just what the doctor ordered for her bruised ego.

The murderous cloud, however, continues to hang over Moss Hollow and its Halloween celebration like a dense autumn Georgia fog. Is the death linked to the vandalism in her grandmother’s store? Is money the root of both evils? If so, Jillian knows the trick to solving this Chocolate Shoppe mystery will be simple. 

Just follow the dough.

The Characters

At 39, Jillian is living the life she always dreamed. Using her creative talents, she's built a successful career as one of the top executives at a prestigious advertising agency in California, and she's engaged to an amazing man who showers her with love and the finer things in life. Life couldn't be more perfect.

But as quickly as a chocolate souffle can flop, Jillian's "perfect" fiance is arrested for embezzlement, putting a quick end to the engagement, and the advertising agency coincidentally "downsizes" Jillian after the scandal, leaving her without a job. But Jillian is a strong Southern woman who has learned how to endure from her feisty and iron-willed grandmother. She decides to leave California and make a fresh start where her life began, in the quaint town of Moss Hollow, Ga.

Under Grandma Bertie's roof at Belle Haven mansion and under her wing, Jillian prepares to take over the family business: The Chocolate Shoppe Bakery. But she doesn't expect to find murder on the menu! Will returning home to reconnect with her Southern roots ultimately prove to be a blessing or a fatal mistake?

Longtime member of the Sweetie Pies baking club and grandmother extraordinaire, Lenora has managed the bakery for decades and is considered a part of the family. Since fixing a salad is Jillian's greatest culinary accomplishment on most days, she encounters a few hurdles while learning how to create the decadent treats the bakery is known for. She's grateful for Lenora's wise counsel and encouragement!

The curious and cuddly house cat keeps a close eye on the happenings at Belle Haven mansion and lends a hand -- or paw -- in helping Jillian solve the intriguing mysteries of the small town.

Savannah is one of Jillian's oldest and best friends. She's delighted Jillian moved back to town and looks forward to reconnecting with her childhood companion. But she's also keeping a secret that may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Nadine's untimely demise.

Jillian's down-to-earth and lovable grandmother is ready to retire from the hectic demands of running The Chocolate Shoppe Bakery, but she refuses to sell to a complete stranger. Jillian is her last hope for keeping the business in the family, even if Jillian can barely boil water. Bertie is determined to help Jillian succeed in the business and to see her marry a good Southern man before the bloom falls completely off the rose.

Cornelia may be Bertie's twin, but she is different from her sister in every way, from her flair for the dramatic to her eccentric nature. She moved back to Belle Haven mansion to live with Bertie five years ago after the death of her husband. She claims to possess a joie de vivre that simply cannot be tamed. Bertie prefers to call it "flighty." Despite her theatrics, Cornelia has a generous heart and wants nothing but the best for her grandniece. She will do anything to see Jillian happy and settled in Moss Hollow ... even if it means bending a few rules.