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Tart of Darkness

(Chef-to-Go Mystery #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  1,046 ratings  ·  220 reviews
Right when Dani thinks she’s hit a dead-end in her career, she unexpectedly inherits an enormous old house in a quaint college town. This gives her the perfect opportunity to pursue her true passion—cooking! So Dani opens Chef-to-Go, preparing delicious, ready-made meals for hungry students attending the nearby university, as well as providing personal chef services and ...more
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published April 1st 2018 by Sourcebooks
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,046 ratings  ·  220 reviews

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Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Dani Sloan's life has been on a downturn lately. She left her corporate job after there were some major issues. She had to sign a non-disclosure document so she can't even discuss what happened. Then on top of that, she discovered her boyfriend was actually engaged to marry someone else. But, things take a positive turn when she suddenly inherits a house and decides to embark on a business venture that's more her style -- cooking bagged lunches for local college students and running a catering ...more
Stephen Robert Collins
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
With TV shows like Great British Bake off showing different cakes & tarts when along comes an American mystery set around cooking which there does seem to be the new mystery fashion today this another such crime book .
Set in small town ,the norm of these books is 29 old Dani with her Chef-to-go career but with in 24 hours of her big break it be more like Murder-to-go & her as the number one suspect
When a old friend of her mother dies she leaves her creep big house to Dani as it was a
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
Dollycas’s Thoughts

This series is off to an amazing start!

Danielle (Dani) Sloan quit her job, dropped her “Dr. McCreepy” and is cooking up a storm, watching Hell’s Kitchen and Cupcake Wars, as she sends out her resumé. She is usually joined by Ivy Drake, an 18-year old college junior that lives across the hall. Not a typical friendship, more of a big sister/little sister thing, but it works for them. One day she receives a letter telling her she has inherited a mansion, an old Victorian that was
Skyler Autumn
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 Stars

Review to come.... but this review is based on how this novel measures up with other cozy mysteries. I'm aware its no Fredrick Backman but as a cozy mystery it does it's job well.
Elle's Book Blog
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Tart of Darkness is the first book in an all new cozy mystery series by Denise Swanson. This is a culinary cozy where the heroine has opened a catering business that prepares meals for couples, parties, and lunch options for those who don't like to cook. It's a charming story with a fantastic set of characters, an interesting and enjoyable plot, and a "who-dun-it" that I couldn't figure out until it was revealed.

Cozy mystery fans are going to
Linda 📚
I enjoyed this first story in the Chef-to-Go mysteries! The main characters are interesting. There is a good relationship between the protagonist and her college age renters. All the cooking made my tummy growl, and the story premise is a great idea. I never caught on to who the killer was until the author reveal!
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great first in series! Denise Swanson is a new to me cozy author and after reading this book I am hoping to read more of her cozies.
A fun premise, interesting setting, and engaging characters! A great mystery that will keep you guessing until the end.
I also enjoyed the food descriptions which is always a plus when reading a cozy mystery!
Mary Brown
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tart Of Darkness
Chef-To-Go Mystery, Book #1
Denise Swanson
5 Stars


Right when Dani thinks she’s hit a dead-end in her career, she unexpectedly inherits an enormous old house in a quaint college town. This gives her the perfect opportunity to pursue her true passion—cooking! So Dani opens Chef-to-Go, preparing delicious, ready-made meals for hungry students attending the nearby university, as well as providing personal chef services and catering events for the local community. To help
Tart of Darkness by Denise Swanson is the first book in the Chef-to-go Mystery series. Dani inherits a mansion with a commercial kitchen and sets up a new business Chef to Go providing ready made meals for students and catering and chef services. After catering a party for a spoilt student during which there is an altercation, the student is found murdered and Dani becomes prime suspect. I loved everything about this book. I liked the concept of the Chef to Go business and I liked the ...more
Lisa Morin
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tart of Darkness by Denise Swanson is a first in a new series.

The story is interesting and I like Dan I, the main character.
It seems like Dani has a self esteem problem and I hope to see that go away in the future.

When Dani inherits an old house, her future becomes more bright, leading her to follow a path that leads to murder.

Deciding to go into the catering business is no small expense. When Dani has the opportunity to collect rent in exchange for sharing her home with college students, it
☼♎ Carmen the Bootyshaker Temptress ☼♎
Rated 3.5 stars

This was just ok for me.
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Tart of Darkness is a terrific start to a new cozy mystery series. Dani’s life has turned upside down. Betrayed by a boyfriend and disappointed and miserable in her career, she is ready to start the next chapter of her life with a clean slate, so when she has inherits a large home in a hip college town, she jumps at the chance to try out her dream of making a living off her culinary skills and delectable recipes while renting out rooms to college students to help make ends meet. Soon, she and ...more
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**I voluntarily read this ARC**

A fun start to a new series. The setting is really interesting. I would love to see the house that Dani inherited. It sounds beautiful. The language is a little strong at times for a cozy, but not overly obscene or graphic. I really enjoyed the mystery, but I felt it fizzled at the end rather than going out with a bang.
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first time reading Denise Swanson and I just loved it! This is the first book in a new series. A fun loving cozy mystery that is filled with surprises. Looking forward to the next book in the series!
Kirsten #preventplagiarismday #iwojimaday #nationalchocolatemintday
An excellent start to a new series. The characters were fun and the romance angle has a lot of chemistry. (If this were a romance, there would've been a lot more action in that direction.)

The mystery was interesting. The pacing was also very good. I read this book in nearly one sitting. (I had to take a break for dinner.)

Highly recommended.
Feb 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
I picked up this book 50% because of a desire to branch out beyond my normal genres of nonfiction, literary fiction, and memoir, and 50% because the title pun game was so strong. I'd be curious about the "cozy mystery" phenomenon since I first read an article about it a few years ago, and there's nothing that I love more than a good Agatha Christie puzzle or gratuitous descriptions of food. What I found instead was a bizarre narrational conservatism (weird asides about PC culture, and, ...more
Rebecca Reviews
Mar 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Denise Swanson’s Tart of Darkness is an intriguing well-paced mystery with a great protagonist. It is a promising start to a new series. However, the book is a little disjointed and there are too many characters and sideplots.

Our protagonist is Dani Sloan who has recently quit her job in HR. She inherits a huge old house and starts Chef-to-Go, working as a private chef and caterer while also selling homemade meals to college students. Dani also rents out rooms in her new house to students and
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
In this new series by Swanson we meet Dani a young woman whose life has recently taken some eye-opening turns. Her job has turned into a nightmare and don't get her started on her cheating ex-boyfriend. She lives in a building where her neighbors are young college girls, who she enjoys cooking for and trying out new recipes on. When an unexpected inheritance comes her way Dani starts to reevaluate her life and decides to follow her true passion of cooking and Chef-to-Go is born. When her ...more
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: challenge
Really enjoyable first entry in the series. I really liked the characters, Dani and Spence were so adorable and worked well together. The mystery was good and the book flowed well and was easy to read. I liked the other characters and loved the cross over with some of the Scumble River series characters (you don't need to have read the other series to read this book, just something fun for fans). The only disappointing part was no recipes in the back. Looking forward to reading more books in ...more
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a new series about Dani who leaves her corporate job and inherited an old mansion and stats a catering company. She has to take 3 college students as borders to help make ends meet. A popular student is killed shortly after Dani caters a party at her house. A bad cop is trying hard to prove that Dani did. She also has the start of a romance.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! This was my first read by Denise Swanson and now I know why she has so many fans! I loved the different age groups all working and living together, I loved the crazy cast of characters, and I loved all the sub-plots. Hope this series continues for a long time!
Katie Fitzgerald
I enjoyed this first book of a new cozy series, especially because of the setting (a mansion near a university campus) and because the narration shifted back and forth between the sleuth's point of view and that of her ex-cop love interest. There were some uncomfortable sexual references regarding one particular character that I thought were unfortunate, as I read cozies specifically to avoid those things, but I was able to push past those to enjoy the story. Though I never got very far in this ...more
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tart of Darkness by Denise Swanson is the 1st book in Chef-To-Go Mystery series, and I loved it. Dani leaves her high paying corporate job at the same time she inherits a mansion with a commercial kitchen. Dani starts Chef-to-go, where she makes meals to go for students, and catering for special dinners. Dani rents rooms to three college students who also help her out as part of the rent. When one of Dani's clients is found dead the mystery starts. This book has more twists and turns, that keeps ...more
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tart of Darkness by Denise Swanson is the first book in Chef-to-Go Mysteries. Danielle “Dani” Sloan has quit her job at Homestead Insurance and given her cheating boyfriend the heave ho. While deciding what to do next, she been cooking for the college girls down the hall and vegging out on the couch watching cooking shows. Then a letter arrives stating she inherited a nearby Victorian mansion that has been remodeled for a bed and breakfast with a fabulous kitchen. This is the perfect opportunity ...more
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tart of Darkness by Denise Swanson is the first book in Chef-To-Go mystery series and it is off the good start.
Dani has left her HR job and is looking for a new job. All of the sudden she inherits a B&B manor which she rents to three collage friends, Ivy, Tippi and Star.
She decides to start catering business and one of the first jobs is to cater a party for a spoiled rich girl . Even though the food is fabulous an accident happens and they part on bad terms.
Next day the girl is found dead.
Move over, Hannah Swensen, there's a new baker/amateur detective in town!

This was a delight to read! I LOVE Dani and how she's intelligent and professional and resourceful. My heart breaks for her because of her virtually-nonexistent relationship with her dad. I liked how this book sets the stage for more to come in this saga ... her business, her relationship with her tenants/employees, and her friendship with Spencer, who I absolutely adore. This was a cozy mystery, but it didn't have a lot of
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the first in a new series by author Denise Swanson. "Tart of Darkness" if a winner. It has some of our familiar characters from her Scumble series and is just wonderful. I could not put it down. My normal snacking was even cut short. I was so involved in this book that I did not even notice I hadn't had my snacks. Now that is saying something for me, lol. Fast paced, well developed story, backgrounds and characters. I cannot wait for the next installment to come out. I think this may ...more
May 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
It's bad enough that rich, entitled sorority girl Regina is killed after she lashes out at Dani, who just catered her big summer party. It's worse when the investigating cop has a grudge against her because of something she did at her last job, and she can't defend herself because of a non-disclosure agreement she was forced to sign. She can't even explain herself to Spencer, the handsome hunk who's head of campus security and the uncle of one of the three college-girl boarders in the house Dani ...more
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Tart of Darkness by Denise Swanson was an excellent start to what I hope will be a long running new series. Ms. Swanson's introduction of these new characters was done very well. I enjoyed meeting all of them and look forward to getting to know them better as the series progresses. The plot was fast paced with twists, turns and enough suspects to keep me guessing until the reveal. I'm already looking forward to the next one in this series.
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Cozy mystery readers
Recommended to Annette by: Author’s Facebook page
Tart of Darkness is a nice book on what promises to be a wonderful new cozy mystery series. There is also a lovely bit of romance that will add to this series’s appeal. I look forward to the next book in the series.
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Denise Swanson lives in rural Illinois with her husband, classical composer David Stybr.

After 22 years as a practicing school psychologist, she's happiest sitting in her scree porch reading. However, when the weather turns too cold, she's willing to leave the Midwest to cruise the sunny Caribbean.

Denise is an animal lover, but her home is currently furless, since her kitty of 20 years passed

Other books in the series

Chef-to-Go Mystery (3 books)
  • Leave No Scone Unturned (Chef-to-Go Mystery #2)
  • Winner Cake All (Chef-to-Go Mystery #3)