Series: Ice Cream Shop Mystery #1
Published by Poisoned Pen Press on May 25, 2021
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
About Pint of No Return
Bestselling author Dana Mentink debuts a new culinary cozy series, the Ice Cream Shop Mystery with Pint of No Return. This has all of the delicious elements for a fun series.
Our amateur sleuth, Trinidad Jones, is starting over. Her ex-husband Gabe, in jail for embezzling, left her the deed to a storefront in Upper Sprocket, Oregon. Trina’s sure it’s going to be the perfect spot to open her dream business, the Shimmy and Shake Shop, an ice cream parlor featuring over-the-top milkshakes made with her family recipe ice creams.
Upper Sprocket’s a small, close-knit community which means she’s got a bit of notoriety. She’s not the only ex in town. Gabe deeded businesses to his other two ex-wives as well.
When she meets one of the exes, Juliette, Trinidad’s surprised at how well they get along. She feels like she’s finally settling into her new town, making friends, and nearing opening day for her new business.
And then she finds one of her neighboring business owners dead. The Corn King’s been murdered and shoved into his popcorn kettle. That’s awful enough but Trina’s new friend and fellow Gabe ex, Juliette, is the main suspect. Juliette’s alone so it’s up to Trinidad to find the real killer before Juliette’s sentenced for murder.
My thoughts about Pint of No Return
I love how the author takes the familiar pieces of a cozy, culinary mystery and puts them together in charming and fun ways.
Trinidad is resourceful, smart, insecure about how she looks, with a big heart. Her dog, because cozies have to have a pet in there somewhere, is an adorable, aging dog, Noodles. He was training to be a companion so when he senses that Trina’s stressed, he does goofy things like brings her condiments from the fridge one at a time, in hopes that one will cheer her up. Or he hides her bills under his bed because he knows they make her sad.
You have the usual cast of colorful characters in a small town, full of quirks and tangled ties. I sense a love interest in former military guy and current farmer Quinn. I appreciated how sensitively Quinn’s brother Doug’s neurodivergence was handled by the author. Also, yay for including a character and truly integrating him into the story instead of making him a token.
And Trinidad’s Cuban grandfather was an absolute gem. I loved Trina reminiscing about him teaching her how to make ice cream. And their phone conversation where he continually tries to set her up with his friend’s grandson in Miami.
Instead of going the route of having a male police chief, I love that not only is Upper Sprocket’s chief a woman but she’s also Gabe’s sister. That gives a different flavor to the required tension between the amateur sleuth and law enforcement.
The mystery was a fun puzzle. If you’ve read cozies, I don’t think the killer will be a surprise but the fun is in the journey getting there.
I’m looking forward to more of Trinidad and Noodles’ adventures. I hope, in the next book, the Shimmy and Shake Shop gets to open. I also hope we get to meet the third of Gabe’s exes. This is the type of series that you get involved in because you love the characters and want to have further adventures with them.