Book Review

Mint Chocolate Murder

Mint Chocolate Murder

  • Author: Meri Allen
  • Genre: Cozy Mystery
  • Publication Date: July 26, 2022
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
  • Series: Ice Cream Shop Mystery #2

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Riley Rhodes returns in the second delicious cozy set in a New England ice cream shop, Meri Allen’s Mint Chocolate Murder!

When Udderly Delightful Ice Cream shop manager Riley Rhodes is summoned to Penniman’s Moy Mull Castle, it’s the cherry on top of a successful summer season. The gothic pile built by an eccentric New England Gilded Age millionaire has been transformed into a premiere arts colony by Maud Monaco, a reclusive former supermodel. As part of Moy Mull’s Fall Arts Festival, Maud is throwing a fantasy ice cream social and hires Riley to whip up unique treats to celebrate the opening of an exhibit by Adam Blasco, a photographer as obnoxious as he is talented.

As Penniman fills up with Maud’s art-world friends arriving for the festival, gossip swirls around Blasco, who has a dark history of obsession with his models. Riley’s curiosity and instincts for sleuthing – she was a CIA librarian – are piqued, and she wonders at the hold the cold-hearted photographer has over the mistress of Moy Mull.

But when Adam is found dead behind the locked door of Moy Mull’s dungeon, Riley realizes there’s more than one suspect who’d wanted put the malicious photographer on ice.

I went into this hoping that I was going to like this better than book 1, which I read about a month ago, and had to reread this month, since I didn’t retain much from the read. While this wasn’t a bad read, it wasn’t a fabulous one either, leading to my middle-of-the-road 3 star read. 

I did love the setting of the castle imported stone by stone from Scotland, and the glamorous former model who inhabits it now. It was also interesting that her hobby includes beekeeping. One thing that I especially liked was that Maud, the model, was Black, adding to the representation in the story. However, I feel like it would have been a great opportunity to include an LGBTQ character in the story, and it was a completely missed chance. 

I usually love a cozy mystery because they’re quick, fun, and funny reads that capture my attention. However, I found myself putting this one down quite often, and didn’t really find it to be amusing or attention-grabbing. Also, I didn’t quite understand the connection between the title and the actual content of the book, since mint chocolate didn’t come up even once during the entire story, although pumpkin spice came up many times.

The story is rather slow-paced, and got bogged down further by extensive descriptions. In addition, there was another mystery within the original mystery, which didn’t really add much to the story. And like the first book in the series, there were so many characters. I did find it easier to keep track of them with a printed book rather than an audiobook, which was a relief. There are a lot of red herrings that kept me guessing, but I was a little disappointed with the overall story. I had been hoping that the second book would pull me deeper into the series, but unfortunately it didn’t. I guess this just isn’t the series for me.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 3

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