A Killer Sundae
Ice Cream Parlor Mystery #3
By Abby Collette
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Ice cream shop owner Bronwyn Crewse is in for two scoops of murder in this charming mystery from Abby Collette.
Chagrin Falls, Ohio, is gorgeous in the fall, and Bronwyn Crewse, owner of Crewse Creamery, knows just how to welcome the new season. At the annual Harvest Time Festival, residents will get a chance to enjoy hot-air balloons and hayrides, crown a new Harvest Time Festival Queen, and eat delicious frozen treats sold at Win’s freshly purchased ice cream truck. But she gets into a sprinkle of trouble when a festivalgoer is poisoned and Win is implicated.
Although the victim was a former Harvest Time Festival Queen, her once-sunny disposition had dimmed into bitterness, leaving no shortage of suspects at the festival. To clear her name before the chill of winter sets in, Win will have to investigate and hope that her detective skills won’t “dessert” her.
I enjoyed this newest title in the Ice Cream Parlor Mystery series! I have become quite fond of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, where an ice cream shop can thrive even in winter. It sounds like a charming place in September, especially for those who enjoy the Harvest Time Festival. Each of the primary characters is portrayed very well, as is the appeal of the village itself. The mystery kept me guessing throughout.
Crewse Creamery was first opened by Bronwyn’s “Win’s” grandparents in 1965. Her grandfather, PopPop, ran the store for almost fifty years with his beloved late wife, Kaylene. It has been almost a year since Win re-opened the Creamery after PopPop gave her the keys and the opportunity to manage the family shop. Win updated it without losing the store’s heart and has been highly successful, using Kaylene’s flavor creations and now, her own.
The Harvest Time Festival will bring a milestone for the Crewse family. The maiden “voyage” of their food truck that sells the family ice cream will occur. On the first day of the Festival, Kaitlyn from Channel 6 stopped by for a hot fudge sundae and to get footage with the Crewse food truck. She planned to include it with the Festival news. Remembering that Kaitlyn had a nut allergy, Win made sure the scoop was fresh, not already used on a product with nuts.
Win had a surprise visit from Gwendolyn Baxter. Next summer, a fundraising ice cream crawl will be held with the top ice cream stores in the Cleveland area. She invited Crewse Creamery to participate in and be the “anchor” store from where the opening and closing presentations would be made. It will raise funds for the Children’s Hospital, for which Win’s father is an orthopedic surgeon. Thrilled, Win accepted on behalf of the family.
Later that day, Win went to see the Festival’s special Balloon Glow with “O”, a friend and law professor at a nearby university, when she heard someone scream, “I think she’s dead!” Kaitlyn was lying on the ground nearby, not moving, with her coffee cup lying on the ground. Yes, Kaitlyn was dead. Cameron, Kaitlyn’s boyfriend, saw Win, and cried out that Win did it. Huh? Later that night, Win and one of her best friends, Riya, who just finished her residency at Lakeside Memorial, learned from the pathologist that Kaitlyn’s death was not natural, but couldn’t tell her more than that.
They learned from an unexpected source that Kaitlyn was poisoned with the main ingredient in antifreeze. Cameron, who accused her of killing Kaitlyn, apologized and began coming to the Creamery every morning. He said he and Kaitlyn had planned to get married next month. He wants Win’s help to solve the murder. Win and best friends Riya and Maisie, who is recovering from chicken pox, had helped solve two murders in recent months. Win had been threatened by their killers and wants nothing to do with being a sleuth.
Win found something interesting at a local bookstore. She picked up a Chagrin Falls cookbook that had been made out to Grandma Kaylene. As she perused the recipes for Kaylene’s hot fudge sundae components, she saw someone had handwritten in the book the amount of antifreeze that was used to kill Kaitlyn. All but a couple recipes in the book had toxic additions handwritten on the ingredient lists.
Of the well-defined characters in the novel, I like Win the best. I’m not a big fan of Riya or Maisie, even though they are her best friends. I can almost see and hear PopPop throughout. Quincy, Win’s new teenage assistant, is interesting, and I hope to see more of him. I’m also looking forward to seeing more of Evan Hayes.
Maisie, Cameron, and even Kaitlyn’s cameraman each had their opinions of who the killer was. One person on my suspect list wasn’t even considered by them. Plot twists added rather than eliminated suspects. The cookbook with her grandma’s name in was a wild card with the poison in the recipe, but they couldn’t find who had it last. Then the real killer had Win in sight and wasn’t going to let her go. Overall, I enjoyed this exciting cozy mystery with two of the best food groups – ice cream and coffee – and a challenging mystery. The ending was satisfying, and I’m looking forward to the next novel. I highly recommend it, and the first two in the series, as well.