Books,  Reviews

Fatal Fudge Swirl: An Ice Cream Shop Mystery

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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?

Synopsis source: Goodreads


Genre(s): Fiction, Cozy Mystery
HB&W Rating: 3.5
View on Goodreads
Pre-Order/Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Releases June 27, 2023

I have a confession to make…I didn’t read the two earlier books in this series before I downloaded this from NetGalley. However, while reading them may have given me some missing backstory, skipping them didn’t hinder my enjoyment of this story at all.

Cozy mysteries are something I’ve only recently gotten into and when I read the synopsis for this one, I was excited to give it a go. I was not disappointed!

I really liked Riley. She’s smart, loyal, and honest. I also loved the small town setting of this series, especially since I read it while coming off a vacation in a small town. It was easy to imagine the charm of Penniman in the fall, Halloween decor as far as the eye can see, a fall festival on the green, leaves changing color…sigh. Perfection. At odds with the theme, this book comes out in June, not around Halloween, which feels like a missed opportunity, but I digress. At least people will be able to get their hands on this one as soon as the Halloween mood strikes them this fall.

There is a lot going on in this book and there are a lot of characters to keep track of. There’s a cast of characters at the beginning of the book, but while I was struggling to keep them all straight at the beginning, the author does a fantastic job of reminding readers within the story who everyone is, so I didn’t feel hampered by this in any way. It would also have probably helped if I’d read the first two books in the series and then I would already be familiar with everyone, but again, not imperative.

I was impressed by the intricate plot that the author wove, which kept me guessing right up until Riley revealed her suspicions. It kept me guessing the whole time, trying to determine how each clue fit into the mystery. I will say that I didn’t really get too attached to any of the characters, not even Riley, really, because the story is all about the plot and not character-driven. I would have liked a bit more here, but again, I’m probably missing out on some of it from the earlier books.

My final thoughts: I really liked the story; reading the first two books is not necessary but would definitely be beneficial, and I really want some ice cream.

Thank you to St. Martin’s for an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Until next time,

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