Hot Fudge Murder by Cynthia Baxter

With the hot summer month of August in full force, I can’t think of a better cozy to read than Cynthia Baxter’s Hot Fudge Murder.  Miss Baxter hooked me on the very first page with her mouth-watering descriptions of the ice-cream flavors available at the Lickety Splits Ice Cream Shoppe.  I knew immediately that I’d needed to make more room in my freezer – ice-cream cravings were guaranteed!

Kate McKay has always dreamed about opening her own ice cream parlor…even while working in public relations in Manhattan.  But fate stepped in and kicked her mojo into full swing when she moved back to her quaint hometown, Wolfert’s Roost, after her aging grandmother took a nasty fall.  The accident made her realize “Grams” should not be living alone, so she left the big city behind and moved in with her.

But Kate still needed a job, and before she could even utter the words “Rocky Road,” she found herself opening her own ice cream parlor.  This second installment in the series finds “still new” owner, Kate, nailing down her day-to-day ice cream shop routine. In addition to coming up with her own ice cream creations, she’s added catering services for parties and social gatherings.

With her steadfast employees, Willow, Emma and Ethan, in tow, things are running smoother than a creamy batch of her Classic Tahitian Vanilla.  She’s more than thrilled to be catering the “life celebration” event of famed fashion designer, Omar DeVane.

It’s equivalent to a Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous event, drawing an elite crowd of friends and fashionistas.  But when there’s a murder at the event that’s colder than the ice-cream, the affair becomes a disaster — not just for Kate’s new venture, but for the whole town.  Suddenly local shop owners find no one perusing their aisles.  Days have gone by and still the police have no idea who perpetuated the crime or even a motive.

It’s killing the town’s livelihood.  With the place crawling with news teams and reporters, tourists are leary and staying away.  Kate’s only been in business six weeks – but she knows she’s gotta take that bull by horns, solve the murder and get the town’s businesses back on solid financial footing, including her own shop.

There’s a whole mansion filled with guests, i.e., suspects, to choose from.  It’s a lively group of characters that will keep you guessing, as Kate, through creative ice cream trickery, interrogates a business manager, personal assistant, model, housekeeper, magazine editor – plus a few more.

Hot Fudge Murder is as delicious and satisfying as your favorite ice cream sundae.  Ms. Baxter’s detailed descriptions of new ice cream flavors and ice cream ideas are so perfect that I wonder, if perhaps, she did have an ice cream shop at one time.  If she didn’t, she could surely open a winning shop today (and I’d be first in line)!

Check out the other two in this series, Murder With A Cherry On Top (the first one) and Last Licks (current) — you’ll be an instant Cynthia Baxter fan.  Great news:  The fourth installment, Game of Cones, is due out later this year.

Finally, when reading this series, I strongly advise that you keep your favorite ice cream on hand so you don’t have to run out to get some, thereby interrupting your reading of these entertaining “perfect for summer” cozies!

 

A copy of this book was provided by Kensington Publishing, a paid sponsor of Wonder Women Sixty.

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