Sophia Rose is here with the third novel in the Ice Cream Shop Mysteries. Grab a cone and check out her thoughts on Fatal Fudge Swirl by Meri Allen.
by Meri Allen
Series: Ice Cream Shop Mysteries #3
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
A movie production brings drama—and murder—to a close-knit New England village, forcing Riley Rhodes to scoop out the suspects.
Former CIA librarian and amateur sleuth Riley Rhodes is loving her fresh start as the manager of the Udderly Delicious Ice Cream Shop. The leaves are turning, tourists are leaf-peeping, and Penniman, Connecticut is putting finishing touches on the weekend long Halloween Happening. But the village is also buzzing. Former child star Cooper Collins is overseeing the production of a romantic comedy that’s filming on the town green and his domineering socialite mother, Diantha, is planning her lavish Halloween themed wedding at her Inn on the Green. Her fiancé has run the Inn's kitchen for years, ably aided by his recent ex-wife, chef Mary Ann Dumas. An old friend of Riley’s, Mary Ann turns to her when the bride requests a spooky ice cream wedding cake.
But the weekend takes a frightful turn when Diantha is found dead and suspicion falls on Mary Ann. The cast of potential suspects is long—each wedding guest had a chilling motive to kill the vicious heiress. Can Riley unmask the murderer before another guest ends up on ice?
Sophia Rose’s Review
Confession time. If I spy a mystery featuring ice cream, an ex-CIA Librarian, and Halloween, I’m going to reach for the book. Was it as delicious as my anticipation? Get your two scoops of tie-dye flavor and let’s go, kids.
Fatal Fudge Swirl is the third in the series. I jumped into this one and did fine out of order since the author painted in the backdrop of what was going on for Riley and her small town. That said, I did struggle to keep track of so many sub-plots and characters going on around and with Riley.
So, Riley Rhodes is content to work at her friend’s ice cream shop in her small home town. She’s adjusting to her dad’s marriage to a woman she’s not keen on and who now is berserkers over getting into film and is shoving Riley into a romance she’s not quite ready for after her ex did a number on her.
The end of the seasonal ice cream shop work is coming up with the town’s big Halloween festivities that include a big publicity Halloween-themed wedding and a film production. Riley’s in the middle of it because she was asked to make the wedding cake, an ice-cream Halloween theme, and asked to wrangle her friend’s diva cat who is a pet star in the film production.
Lots of drama is swirling around this festive time with the caterer for the wedding being the ex to the gold-digging groom when he leveled up, the caterer’s assistant is a slippery character, the bride’s sons who can’t stand mommy dearest and don’t seem cut up about her death. And, really, there isn’t a soul connected to Diantha the bridezilla, who doesn’t have a reason to like her when she’s discovered dead in her inn on her wedding day. The huge suspect and motive list is what had the mystery hard to solve.
Riley jumps in when her friend, the spurned ex, Mary Ann is tagged as suspect number one. I liked that Riley did her sleuthing, but, when she comes up with something to share, she doesn’t hold out on the police and go it alone. She gives the detective what she knows. In truth, the sketchy one was her friend, Caroline, who wasn’t very bright about things much of the time and, incidentally, I could have done without her relationship drama.
I liked the gentle-pacing, visiting the ice cream shop, the fun Halloween festivities, visiting the ice cream shop, seeing Riley fleshed out as a caring person who is well-placed and good with people even when she’s doesn’t necessarily like them, and, oh, it bears repeating that part about visiting the ice cream shop. I also loved the secondary historical mystery that does eventually tie in involving George Washington and the coded info that would be of town interest and shed light on the present.
While hooked by a few of the flashy elements that, incidentally, the fun seasonal cover captures so well, I was glad this first taste of Meri Allen’s series and her writing turned out to be a hit. Those who enjoy seasonal cozy mysteries and foodie cozies should definitely give this a go.Fatal Fudge Swirl by Meri Allen delivered Sophia Rose's first taste of the Ice Cream Shop Mysteries #bookreview #cozymystery Click To Tweet
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