Mint Chocolate Murder: An Ice Cream Shop Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Connecticut
St. Martin’s Paperbacks (July 26, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback : 304 pages
ISBN-10 : 1250267080
ISBN-13 : 978-1250267085
Kindle ASIN : B09L6V4FWV
Riley Rhodes returns in the second delicious cozy set in a New England ice cream shop, Meri Allen’s Mint Chocolate Murder!
When Udderly Delightful Ice Cream shop manager Riley Rhodes is summoned to Penniman’s Moy Mull Castle, it’s the cherry on top of a successful summer season. The gothic pile built by an eccentric New England Gilded Age millionaire has been transformed into a premiere arts colony by Maud Monaco, a reclusive former supermodel. As part of Moy Mull’s Fall Arts Festival, Maud is throwing a fantasy ice cream social and hires Riley to whip up unique treats to celebrate the opening of an exhibit by Adam Blasco, a photographer as obnoxious as he is talented.
As Penniman fills up with Maud’s art-world friends arriving for the festival, gossip swirls around Blasco, who has a dark history of obsession with his models. Riley’s curiosity and instincts for sleuthing – she was a CIA librarian – are piqued, and she wonders at the hold the cold-hearted photographer has over the mistress of Moy Mull.
But when Adam is found dead behind the locked door of Moy Mull’s dungeon, Riley realizes there’s more than one suspect who’d wanted to put the malicious photographer on ice.
Riley Rhodes has been given a unique opportunity to provide ice cream treats for Moy Mull’s Fall Arts Festival at the medieval Penniman’s Moy Mull Castle. The castle has had its share of owners but Maud Monaco turned it into a premier arts colony. She has invited famous photographer Adam Blasco to be the first exhibit at the festival.
Maud is excited as all her art-world friends start to arrive but Riley hears plenty of gossip about Adam Blasco. Her CIA librarian skills kick in as she wonders what the truth is about the photographer. His history is pretty dark but then why would Maud have invited him to exhibit his art?
When Blasco goes missing Maud does her best to follow through on her programs. Then Adam Blasco is found dead in the castle dungeon. After all Riley’s heard she knows there is quite a list of people who could have done the deed including someone close to her. She just needs to follow the clues and get the scoop on the killer before they strike again.
First, I have to address the elephant in the room. That’s a really cool cover, right? Sadly, it has nothing to do with this story and neither does the title. I love cozy mysteries with punny titles and how they are woven into the story but this title is pretty straightforward – Mint Chocolate Murder. Well, the word MINT is not found once in the text of this story and the word CHOCOLATE is just mentioned 6 times. But PUMPKIN SPICE is mentioned 29 times. Either the title should have been Pumpkin Spice Murder or everywhere “pumpkin spice” is used should have been changed to Mint Chocolate. I know sometimes the titles are out of the author’s control but this should have been fixed in editing. Even the recipe at the end of the book is for No Churn Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream! It truly looks like the wrong story was matched with the wrong cover.
Riley Rhodes is a great amateur sleuth, especially with her CIA librarian background. It feeds her need to research and investigate while handling her day job of managing the Udderly Delightful Ice Cream shop. There her creative juices can flow as she comes up with some fantastic ice cream flavors. Riley is surrounded by a wonderful group of family and friends who can all pitch in to help so she has time to do a little sleuthing. It is a large quirky cast and they all feel true to life.
I really enjoyed the castle setting. It almost became a character on its own. All its secrets, the nooks, crannies, staircases, dungeon, and hidden features made an excellent place for a cozy mystery to take place. I was entertained following along as Riley tried so hard to find what she was looking for and finding something she wasn’t looking for at all. I was working on a couple of theories of my own. I had the guilty party in my sights very early on but that sure did not take away from the big reveal that was compared to a Mission Impossible movie.
While Mint Chocolate Murder has nothing to do with mint or chocolate it was an appealing read. Terrific characters including two frisky felines, an intriguing setting, and a stirring mystery make this book a fine successor to Rocky Road to Ruin. I am looking for to the next book in this series.
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About the Author
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”