Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake By Sarah Graves: Review/Giveaway/Valentine’s Guest Post

Feb 9, 2019 | 2019 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy
& Sarah Graves

This week, perfect for Valentine’s Day, we have a review of the latest Death by Chocolate mystery by Sarah Graves. We also have a fun chocolate related Valentine’s Day guest post by Sarah. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake. There is also a link to purchase it Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.

Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake: A Death by Chocolate Mystery by Sarah Graves
Review by Sandra Murphy

Toby Moran is not a nice guy. He’s the guy who flirts, romances, and sweeps a woman off her feet—and then his real personality shows itself. When the woman breaks up with him, he gets even worse. Still, he manages to find another soon, and the cycle repeats.

When his body is found, it’s no surprise that he’s been murdered. The suspect list is long but spotlights Andy, a member of the Coast Guard and fiancé to Sharon, thanks to a argument he had with Toby in a bar. mystery

Jake and her best friend Ellie, owners of the Chocolate Moose bakery, are involved because it looks like Toby was poisoned. Next to his body is a cup with a moose on it, milkshake dripping. It also has their signature antler sprinkles. The big problem for them is, Andy and Sharon asked Jake and Ellie to make their wedding cake. If Andy is arrested, the wedding will be cancelled, Jake and Ellie won’t have the money to last until tourist season, and Ellie will have to make drastic changes, all of which are totally unacceptable.

This is the second book in the series. Jake and Ellie have been in business for a year now, both loving it.

Jake’s house is as full as ever. Her father and his wife, her son and daughter-in-law plus the baby, are there, plus her husband of course. The friendship between Ellie and Jake is one to envy. Ellie may not look it, but she has an iron will. Jake and Ellie pretty much take turns coming up with crazy ideas.

For sixteen books, Jake remodeled her old house. Readers will be happy to see another side of Jake as she follows her dreams. She still worries about her friends and family, but now while she mixes dough, she hammers nails.

Graves has a unique style of writing as Jake unfolds the tale. After following Jake around the island a few times, readers will feel at home. Be warned, hunger will follow as Ellie bakes snickerdoodles and croissants. She shares the recipe for Ginger Chocolate Biscotti at the back of the book. It only makes a dozen so you might consider doubling the recipe.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She writes about eco-friendly topics, pets and wildlife for magazines and reviews mysteries and thrillers for KRL. A collection of her short stories, published by Untreed Reads, From Hay to Eternity: Ten Tales of Crime and Deception can be found at all the usual outlets. Each one is a little weird and all have a twist you won’t see coming.

Unusual Ways of Consuming Chocolate Eastport-style

By Sarah Graves

With Valentine’s Day just a week away, the stores are filled with bright red, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate candies, chocolate-dipped fruits, and other chocolate-y delights meant to ignite the fires of passion. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with any of them – in fact, we love them all year round, not just on The Big Day. But in Eastport, the characters in the Death By Chocolate series have other, more unusual ways of consuming chocolate, too.

In roast venison, for instance. Yes, you read that right; the L.L. Bean Game and Fish Cookbook (Random House, 1983) reissues a recipe for this amazing dish: Roast Leg of Venison with Chocolate Sauce invented by the late, great kitchen genius and cookbook author, Roy A. de Groot in his book A Feast for All Seasons. And while it’s an ambitious dish, re-creating this masterpiece is also a passionate endeavor – just right for the upcoming holiday of love!

mystery author

Sarah Graves

The specific details can be found in the L.L. Bean cookbook (or online, if you can’t find a paper copy, or in the great de Groot’s own beautiful and sadly out of print work), and after that the first thing you’ll need, of course, is the leg of venison. But don’t worry, for in Eastport those aren’t hard to find! Hunting season comes around every year, and a lot of people end up “getting their deer” but then not having enough people around to eat all the meat.

Solution: Jake Tiptree and Ellie White, my main characters and the proprietors of The Chocolate Moose, a chocolate-themed bakery in Eastport. Just ask whichever of their neighbors went deer hunting this year to trade venison for cookies, pastries, or eclairs. Usually folks are delighted to exchange a meat treat for a sweet treat, and everyone ends up happy.

Next, you’ll want aromatic spices, red wine, and vegetables for a marinade to steep the venison in rich flavors. Other prep work will follow: larding the meat, for example, means pulling threads of fat through it so that it bastes from within. When Jake and Ellie do this and the rest of the chopping, slicing, mincing, and marinating, they work in Jake’s old-fashioned kitchen in the big old house in Eastport, where there’s usually a blueberry pie cooling on the window sill and a lobster roll waiting, ready to be devoured for lunch!

Once lunch is over, the chocolate sauce is created; not just of chocolate alone but also nuts, raisins, candied fruit, and some vinegar go into the mix. This isn’t the kind of chocolate sauce you put on ice cream, but a much more complex, sophisticated concoction that stands up to a strongly-flavored meat like venison.

And finally, cooking the prepared venison roast means hanging around the kitchen, possibly listening to music and even dancing while tasting the wine and smelling the delicious aromas that come out of the oven. You and your beloved can collaborate on the side dishes, as well: a salad, perhaps, and a loaf of good, crusty French bread? With more wine, of course, and followed by – what else? A chocolate mousse, possibly with a few candied violets tucked into it.

If you and your amour do decide to do this recipe together, one thing is for sure, you will have created a chocolate-themed “food of love” like no other! And maybe – just maybe – you’ll also create the story of a magical Valentine’s Day, one that you and your beloved can someday tell your grandchildren about together.

To enter to win a copy of Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “milkshake,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 16, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode went up this week!

Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:

You can also use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:


Sarah Graves lives in Eastport, Maine, in a 200-year-old house much like Jake Tiptree’s. After 20 years of home repair – and yes, it really does make you think about murder! – she has handed in her toolbox and returned to her first love: chocolate. When she’s not cooking or baking something delectable, or writing about it, she tends a huge garden or shovels snow, depending upon the season.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. I can’t wait to try this. I love chocolate. The book sounds good too

  2. Sounds like another super book – thanks for the contest.

  3. Just wanted to stop by and say thanks so much for having me in Kings River Life!

  4. Please enter me.

  5. Sounds like a good read.

  6. I really want to read this. Love the covet

  7. Sounds like a delicious night in the kitchen! JL_Minter (at) hotmail (dot) com

  8. Great recipe and also a great sounding series!

  9. Sounds delicious! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!! crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  10. This is on my TBR list, can’t wait to read.

  11. I love your recipe and may have to try it. Thanks for sharing your insight into Sarah Graves latest book. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

  12. Enter me in the contest!

  13. This sounds like a series I will love!
    ellen_levickis yahoo com

  14. Fun title. I’ll probably never
    drink another chocolate milk shake.

  15. This one sounds so good to me and this is a new author for me so I am excited to read this book and post reviews on at least 2 sites when I am done.

  16. We have a winner!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.