FATAL FUDGE SWIRL by Meri Allen
Fiction, Cozy Mystery, pub. Date: 6/27/23 (320 pages)
Blurb: 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 the 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?
Thoughts: This was an interesting, slightly macabre Halloween cozy mystery. I’d have found the Halloweenish type décor for a wedding strange if I hadn’t had a friend who did this (with the addition of zombies). That made everything fun for me. When the bride-to-be ends up dead, there are a lot of suspects to choose from. And Riley is a great amateur sleuth for the job.
What I liked: Riley being a CIA librarian gives her a background in research but not necessarily chasing down the suspects. I loved the description of the wedding cake and all the decorations around town and at the big house. Throw in a TV crew doing a shoot and you have all the mayhem you need for a good mystery.
What I didn’t like: I got a little confused sometimes trying to keep everyone and everything straight and their relationships. But that was minor at best.
Disclaimer: Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC. Disclosure of Material: I received a final and/or advanced reader copy of this book with the hope that I will leave my unbiased opinion. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”