Title: The Rocky Road to Ruin
Author: Meri Allen
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: July 27, 2021
Page Count: 330
My rating: 4 stars
About the book:
Justice will be swirled by amateur sleuth Riley Rhodes in the first in Meri Allen’s brand-new mystery series, The Rocky Road to Ruin!
Riley Rhodes, travel food blogger and librarian at the CIA, makes a bittersweet return to her childhood home of Penniman, Connecticut – land of dairy farms and covered bridges – for a funeral. Despite the circumstances, Riley’s trip home is sprinkled with reunions with old friends, visits to her father’s cozy bookshop on the town green, and joyful hours behind the counter at the beloved Udderly Delicious Ice Cream Shop. It feels like a time to help her friend Caroline rebuild after her mother’s death, and for Riley to do a bit of her own reflecting after a botched undercover mission in Italy. After all, it’s always good to be home.
But Caroline and her brother Mike have to decide what to do with the assets they’ve inherited – the ice cream shop as well as the farm they grew up on – and they’ve never seen eye to eye. Trouble begins to swirl as Riley is spooked by reports of a stranger camping behind the farm and by the odd behavior of the shop’s mascot, Caroline’s snooty Persian, Sprinkles. When Mike turns up dead in the barn the morning after the funeral, the peace and quiet of Penniman seems upended for good. Can Riley find the killer before another body gets scooped?
The Rocky Road to Ruin by Meri Allen is the first book in the new cozy Ice Cream Shop Mysteries series. As with most cozy mysteries this first book does contain it’s own mystery that is fully solved so it could be read as a standalone without a cliffhanger for the next book.
On the outside Riley Rhodes may seem like a mild mannered librarian who does a little travel blogging on the sides. However, Riley’s job as a librarian happens to be at the CIA and that last trip of hers was an assignment that went a bit off the rails so Riley is in need of a little time off.
When Riley’s long time friend Caroline let’s her know that Caroline’s mother passed Riley knows she needs to head to Penniman, Connecticut where she grew up for the funeral. Caroline and her brother, Mike, have inherited their family’s business and seem to be at odds over how to handle things. However, when Mike is found murdered Riley knows Caroline had nothing to do with it and she vows to help find the murderer all the while helping out in the beloved Udderly Delicious Ice Cream Shop.
Most that follow my reviews know that the cozies at the top of my favorites are ones that are overly humorous and quirky. The Rocky Road to Ruin wasn’t quite as humorous as I normally gravitate too however I did enjoy it regardless. This one had another like of mine with the protagonist having something in her background in the law enforcement area with working for the CIA so it wasn’t as big as a stretch as a lot for her to be crime solving. This one also had that lovely small town setting that I enjoy with a nice mystery to solve along the way so I will be interested in coming back for more of this series in the future.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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