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4.0 out of 5 stars The cocoa conspiracy, 15 Dec 2013
By 
Clare O'Beara - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Cocoa Conspiracy: A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery (Lady Arianna Hadley Mystery) (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the second in a series. I had not read the first but I'd like to give it a try; I suspect it was livelier. A young lady who grew up in the West Indies is an ideal character as she brings more self-reliant ideas to Regency London society.

The time is after the fall of Napoleon and a conference is to be held in Europe bringing politics of various nations to the table at Vienna. So while Lady Arianna in an early chapter gets attacked in a bookshop and defends herself, there is a great deal of information imparted to Arianna in order that the newly-arrived married lady understands the situations in which she is being asked to intrigue. This will delight history students but slows progress of a mystery.

Arianna and her husband enjoy chocolate, then taken as a drink, and each chapter starts with lavish recipes supposedly from her journals but actually requiring kosher salt - which I have never seen on sale even today - and electric mixers used on high speed, and other inconsistencies. Cultivation of the cacao plant is also discussed as her husband is a keen botanist.

There is an artful villain, and spies of various sorts, and historical figures like Talleyrand appear; there is danger at various times but mainly of course at the end where we learn who has been "trying to plunge Europe into chaos".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 5 Dec 2013
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The second of three books following Lord Saybrook and Arianna Hadley (now Lady Saybrook) as they continue to track the French spy known as 'Renard'. This book takes them to Vienna and the peace talks following Napoleon's banishment to Elba. Excellent story.
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The Cocoa Conspiracy: A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery (Lady Arianna Hadley Mystery)
The Cocoa Conspiracy: A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery (Lady Arianna Hadley Mystery) by Andrea Penrose (Mass Market Paperback - 6 Dec 2011)
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