A Deadly Inside Scoop
An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery, Book #1
By Abby Collette
Author’s Website: abbycollette(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
This book kicks off a charming cozy mystery series set in an ice cream shop–with a fabulous cast of quirky characters.
Recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just taken over her family’s ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and she’s going back to basics. Win is renovating Crewse Creamery to restore its former glory, and filling the menu with delicious, homemade ice cream flavors—many from her grandmother’s original recipes. But unexpected construction delays mean she misses the summer season, and the shop has a literal cold opening: the day she opens her doors an early first snow descends on the village and keeps the customers away.
To make matters worse, that evening, Win finds a body in the snow, and it turns out the dead man was a grifter with an old feud with the Crewse family. Soon, Win’s father is implicated in his death. It’s not easy to juggle a new-to-her business while solving a crime, but Win is determined to do it. With the help of her quirky best friends and her tight-knit family, she’ll catch the ice cold killer before she has a meltdown. (Goodreads)
What a delightful surprise this first in a new series is! It is a solid series opener, with likable, well-defined characters and just the right amount of details about Win, her friends, the ice cream shop, and their possible suspects that give the reader as full of a picture as Win has at any given time.
Win received the Christmas gift of a lifetime, the opportunity to run Crewse Creamery, the family ice cream shop that her grandparents started over 50 years ago. Her grandfather, PopPop, decided it was time for her to excel at what he always believed she could. Win had a high-powered marketing job in the Big Apple until illness brought her home to Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
Her best plans and schedules came up against shipping, weather, and construction delays when remodeling the shop to look like a 50’s soda shop. The hoped-for opening of Memorial Day became October, and opening day – an early snowstorm. Not even one customer arrived to try her hand-crafted ice cream. Discouraged, she closed the shop early and sat on what had been Grandma’s bench out front. She reached into her backpack for her gloves and remembered what PopPop gave her that morning – the recipe box of Grandma Kay’s special ice cream creations! The first card she pulled out was for snow ice cream. Savoring the memory, she slid on a cardboard box sled to the foot of the falls where the snow was best. Hearing someone, she checked the stairs to see who she thought was a child running. Going back to get her snow, she tripped over something and fell flat. It was a man who wasn’t breathing. She didn’t even look to see who it was, just called 911.
The victim turned out to be a man Win had met early that morning, carrying a lost puppy. He told her how well he had known her family. Her mother told her who he really was. Stephen Bayard was the man who almost destroyed their family and the Creamery many years earlier. Mom called to warn Dad and PopPop about Bayard being in town, as if he were to show up to visit PopPop, Win’s dad might just kill him. And who does Detective Liam Beverly interview the next evening but Win’s dad, Dr. Graham Crewse, a surgeon, who works in a hospital where the unique murder weapon could be obtained.
Each primary character has been fun to get to know. Win definitely has the heart for the family business and her family! She will do anything to clear her father of suspicion of murder. Her two best friends are Maisie and Riya. They are each different in temperaments and talents, yet loyal to each other. It is Maisie, impulsive and an avid detective show aficionado, who talks Win into seeking out the killer. Win meets a young man who is a law professor from nearby Wycliffe College. “O” was a former police officer. Some of his suggestions to Maisie and Win regarding where to find information are helpful. He also recommends Win for her first catering jobs at the college. Win comes from an intelligent, supportive, enviable family, and her friends reflect the values she and her family espouse.
There were several things I enjoyed about this novel, one being how Win is the 3rd generation in Chagrin Falls, with childhood friends and folks who know each other well. I liked the Ohio setting and the contrast of opening Crewse Creamery on the day of the first winter snowstorm, which will make or break Win’s determination. Watching the women select suspects is stellar, especially as the impulsive Maisie jumps to interesting conclusions from start to finish. I could not come up with a suspect that I seriously felt was the killer, so there were definite surprises at the end! I am very satisfied with the outcome. Those who love ice cream will appreciate the tips for making it, as well as recipes that sound extraordinary, are included. I highly recommend this cozy mystery!