Fatal Fudge Swirl: An Ice Cream Shop Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Connecticut
St. Martin’s Paperbacks (June 27, 2023)
Mass Market Paperback : 320 pages
ISBN-10 : 1250267102
ISBN-13 : 978-1250267108
Kindle ASIN : B0B8X39J9R
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?
We are back in Penniman, Connecticut just in time for the Halloween Happening and a Halloween-themed wedding complete with an ice cream cake created by Riley. A crew is also in town filming a rom-com with child star Cooper Collins at the helm.
There is some drama with the wedding as socialite Diantha, who happens to be the child star’s mother, is marrying the long-time chef, Dominic, of Inn on the Green. He is recently divorced from Riley’s friend, Mary Ann, who is also a chef and she has worked side by side with her husband for years.
The event takes a deadly turn when the bride-to-be is found dead in her bed and the wedding cake is destroyed. Of course, the prime suspect is Mary Ann but it seems every wedding guest including her children, had a reason to want the woman dead.
While Riley’s work at the Udderly Delicious Ice Cream Shop winds down for the season she needs to put on her sleuthing hat and use her CIA librarian instincts and skills to swirl up a way to put the freeze on the real killer.
Riley continues to show her sleuthing chops while she handles to day to day business at Udderly Delicious. She gets some fun news at the beginning of the book and part of her past tries to reinsert itself into her present. By the end of the story, she makes a big decision but another is still pending. I love the supporting cast of family and friends the author has surrounded her with. I really enjoy getting to know her dad and step-mom better and love it when the frisky feline, Sprinkles steals every scene she is in. Diantha was quite the diva and had no trouble stirring up the drama. Her sons were really out for themselves as well.
The murder mystery was really interesting and the murder weapon was surprising and unique. Riley did find ways to be at the inn a lot to keep an on eye on all the suspects and I had fun tagging along with her. There were plenty of clues and nice twists but I did focus on the guilty party long before Riley. That did not hinder my enjoyment of the story at all. There is a subplot concerning George Washington that I found really intriguing. It was a true puzzle to solve as those clues fell into place. The movie being filmed really added to the story and the author found cute ways to inject a lot of humor there.
I enjoyed the Halloween theme and all the Halloween plans for the town’s Happening. The leaf peepers were out in force. While I liked the description of the autumn weather I am not ready to leave summer behind. All the stops at Udderly Delicious sent my ice cream cravings into overdrive.
I can guarantee you will be craving ice cream as soon as you start reading so dish up a scoop or two of your favorite and enjoy it while reading this fun mystery.
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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.”