Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so pleased to feature Spoon to be Dead by Dana Mentink!
Spoon to be Dead: A Dessert Cozy Mystery (Shake Shop Mystery)
3rd in Series
Setting – Oregon
Poisoned Pen Press (October 31, 2023)
Mass Market Paperback : 336 pages
ISBN-10 : 1728231612
ISBN-13 : 978-1728231617
Kindle ASIN : B0BQCHM564
A murder for the holidays is about to shake things up!
Trinidad Jones is starting the festive season with sugary confections and a heaping scoop of worry as her shake shop enters its first Oregon winter. With snow abound and tourists trickling through, she’ll do anything to keep her milkshake dreams afloat, even if it means catering a holiday steamboat party for some new arrivals in town.
But when her good-for-nothing ex crashes through her shop’s door claiming he’s being charged with murder, things go sideways. With clues piling up like whipped cream on a sundae and motives abound, Trinidad and her fellow ex-wives must solve this murder before she’s finally thrown for a scoop.
The third book in the Shake Shop Mysteries following Trinidad Jones who makes sweet confections and solves sticky situations in her small town!
Shimmy and Shake Shop owner Trinidad Jones is worried about how much business she will have going into her first Oregon winter. In an effort to be sure her dream is a year-round business, she has branched into catering. Her first event is on a steamboat for a famous person, new in town.
Then, her, Bonnie’s, and Juliette’s ex, Gabe Bigley, “serial cheater, felon, liar, and embezzler” crashes through the shop door, informs them he is out on parole and that he is “ninety-eight percent or so” sure that he just killed someone. It doesn’t take long for clues to start to stack up against him but none of his ex-wives believe he is guilty. They just need to get the scoop on the situation and shake out some alternate suspects before Gabe is sent back to the big house to cool his heels.
Ms. Mentink has created such wonderful characters. Trinidad is a fun protagonist and her friendship with the other wives of her ex is unique and amazingly strong. They have really formed a sisterhood to support one another in any way they can. Only one of them is not surprised that their ex has shown up in Upper Sprocket. Trinidad’s Papa Luis lives with her and she has a wonderful dog named Noodles. She and Quinn continue to grow closer. His brother Doug, has some emotional and social issues but is very comfortable with everyone in their group, especially with Bonnie’s daughter Felice. I loved that Noodles made a new and unusual friend for a dog. The interactions were just so sweet.
There are several mysteries in this story all delightfully tangled together. There are twists, turns, secrets, multiple suspects, an old flame, and another body, all with the holiday events in the background. With all the action the story has a brisk pace. Had I not needed to sleep I would have read the entire thing in one sitting. The ending served up several surprises including the reveal of the killer. I followed all the author’s tricks of misdirection and discounted the guilty party much earlier. The showdown was scary. My heart rate definitely increased as Trinidad fought for her life.
Trinidad and Papa Luis came up with some special treats for the party on the steamboat. Shortcut Hot Cocoa Ice Cream, Hot Cocoa Bombs, and Lactose-Free Gingerbread Ice Cream. All the recipes are included in the book. The Hot Cocoa Bombs would be hard to make at home so the recipe in the book is adjusted to make it less work and fun for kids to make too. I hope to try them with my grandchildren over the holidays.
There was one thing I didn’t like about this book. We find out at the end as all the loose ends get tied up that this is the final book in the series. The author leaves all the characters in a good place which I am thankful for, I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Trinidad, Bonnie, and Juliette.
Spoon to be Dead is another excellent story from Dana Mentink. All 3 books in this series were Perfect Escapes for me. Wonderful characters, twisty mysteries, and ice cream including “freak shakes” and Hot Cocoa bombs make them all must-read cozy mysteries!
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About the Author
Dana Mentink is a bestselling author who has received two Carol Awards, a Holt Medallion, and a Reviewer’s Choice Award. The author of more than thirty titles, she specializes in inspirational and suspenseful novels.
Find more books by Dana Mentick here.
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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.”