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The Cocoa Conspiracy (A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery #2)

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  325 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Chocolate mixed with conspiracy is a recipe for death…

Lady Arianna Hadley, now the Countess of Saybrook, is slowly settling into married life with her new husband, the Earl of Saybrook. To celebrate his birthday, she finds the perfect gift——a rare volume of botanical engravings on Theobroma cacao, or chocolate . . . but she is forced to fight off a mysterious stranger who
Paperback, 324 pages
Published December 6th 2011 by NAL
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SOS Aloha
Dec 18, 2011 SOS Aloha rated it it was amazing
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 wat
Mary Gramlich
Dec 12, 2011 Mary Gramlich rated it it was amazing
THE COCOA CONSPIRACY written by Andrea Penrose
A Lady Arianna Hadley Regency Mystery
12/11 - Penguin Group (USA) - Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages

What truly is sweeter the smell of money or the taste of chocolate?

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, a
3.5 stars/B-
Mar 22, 2014 Julia rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book.

The beginning held my attention well, introducing Lady Arianna and starting the mystery. Then it bogged down instead of getting more exciting. There was a lot of repetitiveness - the author kept explaining that Lady Arianna is not the average upper class lady - she was born in the West Indies and has survival skills and that the marriage started out as one of convenience. Although I hadn't read the first book, those points were made in reference to the previ
Dec 08, 2011 Hmr28 rated it it was amazing
I liked this one even more than the first one. I am really enjoying how their relationship is slowly unfolding and the mystery was quite good. Can't wait for the next one!
Dec 23, 2011 Fred rated it really liked it
The Cocoa Conspiracy is the second book in the Lady Arianna Regency Mystery series.

Lady Arianna and the Earl of Saybrook have now been married and are looking forward to a quite life and doing research on the item that they love, chocolate.

The book opens with Lady Arianna visiting a bookseller looking for something special for her husband's birthday. As she is looking at just the kind of book she wanted to get, a man enters and tries to rest it away from her. Not one to back down, even when the
Dec 28, 2011 SidneyKay rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-regency
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 07, 2015 Ariel rated it it was amazing
Arriana 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 Arriana and Saybrook to the Congress of Vienna that brings together dignitaries from around the world. Their missio ...more
CJ -Doctor can you help me, 'cause somethin' don't feel right
The puns ruined this book for me. I really liked the first one because I thought it was interesting that there was a strong female character who was kind of a cold hearted bitch but still warm enough to fall for the hero.

So naturally I was excited to read another story with the Ice Princess Arianna (my own term) and the Sexy Spanish Prince Sandro (also my term) coming together to solve a mystery that in the process allows them to get closer together.

Welp, it didn't happen in this book.

In this bo
Feb 04, 2012 Christine rated it really liked it
Recently married Lady Arianna and Alessandro “Sandro” Saybrook attend a party of several foreign diplomats as a favor to Saybrook’s uncle, Charles Mellon. The party begins and Lady Arianna is shocked to see one of the Russian diplomats is the same man who had tried to forcibly take a book of chocolate engravings from her while she was purchasing it for Saybrook. What would make this book so interesting to the Russian and could it be related to a possible traitor in the midst at the peace confere ...more
Clare O'Beara
This is the second in a series; I had not read the first but I suspect it was livelier. A young lady who grew up in the West Indies is an ideal character for this unconventional historical crime story, as she brings more self-reliant ideas to 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. So while Lady Arianna early gets attacked in a bookshop and defends herself, there is a great deal of then-top
Oct 12, 2015 Jenny rated it liked it
I did like the first one better because of the romantic tension. This one was a little flatter.

Caught up in another intrigue - The Earl and Lady Arianna must travel to Vienna to uncover a plot to kill someone important.

And then that nasty Lord G -- whatever his name is. I don't like him. At all.

And then she didn't finish the book - open ending - not a fan.

Tried a cookie recipe. While tasty, didn't quite work out properly.
Sarah Adamson
Oct 07, 2015 Sarah Adamson rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Another very enjoyable chocolate Regency mystery. Lady Arianna is now married to the Earl of Saybrook despite misgivings from his relatives. They are not given any time to settle into married life as yet another disaster and set of intrigues challenges the nation and they are the only ones suitable to step up to the task. Fun, intriguing, puzzling and a real page turner with the added bonus of chocolate recipes and references galore!
Laura Mitchell
Aug 11, 2014 Laura Mitchell rated it liked it
The characters introduced in the first book of the series start developing more complex relationships. The spy/intrigue component is also becoming more interesting, as one of the main points in the story regards solving a cryptographic code. Settings include a country house party (complete with a hunting party which provides a cover for mischief) and the Vienna congress where the main characters attempt to catch the French spy "Renard".
Oct 05, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it
Picked this up on a whim, not knowing what to expect (was hoping for a pleasant, historic-mystery type of book), and found it to be a nice read. I didn't know at the time that this is the second in a series, but the writing is good in a way that I didn't feel lost in the general scheme of things (it's not vague in the characters' histories, nor is it too detailed where if I had read the first, I'd probably be whining about stuff being rehashed too much, so it felt just the right balance -- kudos ...more
Janet McCord
Nov 27, 2012 Janet McCord rated it it was amazing
A very enjoyable second book in a very enjoyable series. Following Lady Arianna and her husband Lord Saybrook is always an exciting ride but this time they use their espionage skills to foil a plot to help Napoleon escape from Elba and plunge all of Europe into war again. They are attending the grand and glorious peace conference in Vienna and trying to use all their skills to break codes, defuse bombs and catch a master spy. On top of it all, Lady Arianna goes back to working as a cook and Lord ...more
Linda C
Lady Arianna is now the Countess of Saybrook and with her husband still under threat from Lord Grenthem. They are coerced into continuing in pursuit of Renard, the fox, a pseudonym for a highly placed spy within the British government. As such they must travel to Vienna, scene of the Peace Congress, following the incarceration of Napoleon to Elba. There they must decipher coded messages involving a plot, of unknown purpose, and try to identify Renard. Arianna has 2 men to flirt into revealing se ...more
Mar 19, 2015 Lynn rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, donated
This second-in-series book was better developed than the previous book in the series, but still a bit lacking in overall enjoyment. I will finish the series, but only because I am caught up with wanting to figure out the overarching plot, otherwise it would be a forgettable series and be dropped somewhere for Book Crossing or some other sharing service. An interesting enough diversion type book, but nothing I would suggest anyone seek out.

Also, and this is a minor point, but one of the recipes i
It's v. refreshing to have a heroine who likes solving mysteries, and racing into the thick of things and is....actually qualified to do so. So often with Regency mysteries, the heroine is a bored member of the ton who has discovered a penchant for investigation. And, while I do love those books (the Lady Julia series in particular), Lady Arianna is a nice change of pace. She's tough. She's not above fighting dirty. She's a little emotionally frozen. It makes her interesting. I like that her rel ...more
Jan 12, 2012 Deshay rated it really liked it
I liked this second book of the series much better than the first one. This story had more depth to me and kept my interest. I love the intrigue surrounding the diplomacy of that era. Characters also acquired more depth and character for me.
That being said, the endless references to "pots of chocolate" get a little tiring. I'm wondering how long chocolate can carry the story? And I would prefer to see the recipes at the back of the book rather than the beginning of each chapter. I skimmed right
Jan 28, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it
3.5. I was a little disappointed with this one considering how much I loved the first book in the series. The story picked up some indefinite time into Saybrook and Arianna's marriage, which I didn't appreciate. That was half the suspense after the first book ended. Alas the author chose not to make this book about their romance and primarily about a political mystery. The mildly blooming love between these two characters was almost an afterthought. The mystery was so so, not very suspenseful. N ...more
Terry Southard
May 05, 2014 Terry Southard rated it really liked it
3 1/2 stars, rounded up. I enjoyed this, but I thought one of the bad guys was thrown in too randomly at the end.
Mar 25, 2014 Donna rated it really liked it
Challenging, exciting; and the chocolate -wow!!
Napoleon is in exile, so why is a mysterious French master spy still working in England? Street-wise Lady Arianna and her husband, the Earl of Saybrook, are drawn by Grentham, England's vicious spymaster into the hunt for Reynard. a quest that takes them to the Congress of Vienna. Several men are enchanted by Arianna, but her interest is finding the spy and getting out of Grentham's clutches. Romance, glamour, thrills, suspense--and a lot of chocolate recipes--somehow just didn't do it for me; o ...more
Jan 01, 2012 Sharyn rated it really liked it
Another wonderful Lady Arianna Chocolate mystery. I liked the increased interactions between Saybrook and Arianna. The mystery was well thought out although some of the situations seemed a bit over the top at the end (such as the scene with the Tsar). I very much enjoyed the pomp and circumstance associated with the Peace Conference in Vienna. And, while others might not like so much history thrown in, those are the parts that I like best. Overall, it was enjoyable and I look forward to the next ...more
Jan 05, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this entry in the Lady Arianna Regency series. It takes place during the Vienna conference and Arianna is still getting in disguise and also figuring out her relationship with her new husband. Did he marry her for love or simply to get them both out of a tricky situation? The story gets a little bogged down in history, and at times it was hard to keep all the named emperors, etc. straight, but the ending picked up and was very fast paced. I can't wait for the next book in this s ...more
Jun 23, 2012 Jennifer rated it liked it
I borrowed this one from the library on a whim. It was a light, fluffy mystery. Not great--there was a bad guy injected at the last possible moment who hadn't appeared before in the story, some anachronisms cropped up (no, I don't think the Tsar of All the Russias 'partied too hard'), and the dialogue didn't sparkle. I found the romance between the two leads a little dull compared to C. S. Harris's Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries. But it served its purpose, helping to while away a stress-filled week ...more
Jul 02, 2012 Drianne rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, mystery
If you liked the first one, you'll like this one. I enjoyed the history (this is set during the 1814 Congress of Vienna and many historical figures go tripping through the pages: Talleyrand, Metternich, Tsar Alexander), but the mystery was weak (there wasn't enough of one), and the characters' interactions were sidelined too much.

Also, the recipes? Still anachronistic and stupid.

But I'll totally read the next one, too.
Feb 04, 2012 Tina rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2012-reads
2.5 eh. Didn't like this one as much as the first one. It barely kept my attention. There were times when I felt I was listening to people talk...a lot....about Napoleon. I ended up skimming after about half way through. I still really like Sandro and Arianna, but not enough to wade through what felt like a ponderous mystery.
Nancy H
Jul 15, 2013 Nancy H rated it really liked it
In this excellent mystery, Lady Arianna and her husband, Earl of Saybrook, are sent to the post-Napoleonic Vienna Conference to route out some traitors who also turn out to be murderers. With their lives in danger, they manage to expose the malfactors and escape with their lives.
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Play Book Tag: The Cocoa Conspiracy - Andrea Penrose - 4 stars 1 6 Jun 20, 2016 02:29PM  
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I began my writing career at age five, creating a number of Westerns lavishly illustrated with crayon drawings of horses and cowboys. However, I have since moved on to Regency England, an era that has fascinated me ever since I picked up a copy of Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice.

Books have always been an important part of my life. I have always been a voracious reader, and I have always had a ve
More about Andrea Penrose...

Other Books in the Series

A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery (3 books)
  • Sweet Revenge (A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery, #1)
  • Recipe for Treason (A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery, #3)

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