Series: Ice Cream Shop Mysteries #1
Published by St. Martin's Press on July 27, 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 the Rocky Road to Ruin
The Rocky Road to Ruin is the first in a new cozy, culinary series by Meri Allen. Amateur sleuth, CIA librarian/spy, travel and food blogger, Riley Rhodes, has returned to her childhood home of Penniman, Connecticut to attend the funeral of her best friend Caroline’s mother, Buzzy.
After the funeral, tensions are running high as Caroline’s brother, Mike, a successful real estate developer, wants to sell the family farm and ice cream shop. Caroline and others oppose the idea.
When Riley finds Mike’s corpse in the barn, there’s no lack of suspects, including Caroline. It’s up to Riley to clear her bestie’s name, keep the Udderly Delicious Ice Cream Shop running, and find the real killer.
My thoughts about The Rocky Road to Ruin
This ticks all of the boxes for a cozy mystery:
• Our main character is a female amateur sleuth
• Small town where the characters know each other
• But there are still decade’s old secrets to uncover
• Gentle read with no graphic sex or violence
• Animal sidekicks
• Bonus of miniature horses and goats!
Riley’s a likable main character who wants to help her friend. She also cares about her childhood hometown. She doesn’t want to see the farm sold to real estate developers intent on turning it into McMansions.
Riley’s dad owns a bookstore in town. And we’re given hints that there are tensions between Riley and her stepmother Paulette. I hope we get to explore those more in future books.
There’s a hint at a romance but surprisingly it’s not between the investigating police detective and Riley. Instead, it’s between the detective and Caroline, Riley’s bestie. That was a nice twist.
Meri Allen’s done a great job establishing Penniman and several of its inhabitants. But she’s left plenty to explore in future books.
This was a quick, enjoyable read with two feline sidekicks. Both of which are adorable – the imperious Sprinkles and the mischievous Rocky. The mystery was great – lots of layers, plenty of suspects, and puzzle pieces for Riley to put together. I’m looking forward to future books in the series!
My thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Paperbacks for the ARC.