Thursday, December 5, 2019

Book Review: A Parfait Murder by Wendy Lyn Watson (Mystery A-La-Mode #3)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters; fun twist on the locked room mystery
Cons: None for me
The Bottom Line:
Fair attraction death
Fun twist on locked room puzzle
In page turning book

Can Tally Clear Her Cousin of the Parfait Crime?

One staple of the mystery genre is the locked room mystery.  I always enjoy the added complexities it adds to a mystery plot, and I enjoy twists on the locked room concept.  And does A Parfait Murder have a good one.

The county fair is in full swing, and Tally Jones has set up a booth for her ice cream shop, Remember the A-La-Mode.  Due to the hot summer weather (this is Texas, after all), the booth has proved to be very popular, and Tally and her family and employees are being kept busy between the booth and the store.  Life is good.

Well, it would be if her cousin Bree’s ex-husband, Sonny, hadn’t just walked back into town after fifteen years.  Bree is considering going after him for years of back child support, but before that can happen, he slaps her with a paternity suit, trying to claim that Alice isn’t really his daughter.  The next day, Sonny’s lawyer is shot inside the haunted rodeo attraction at the fair, and the only other person in the ride is Bree.  Tally can’t believe her cousin would do something like this, and Bree flat out denies it.  But who else could it have been?

And just like that, we are off on another puzzling mystery.  Not only does Tally have to figure out who had motive to commit the murder, but then determine if they had the ability to do it.  I loved that added twist to the plot.  The story was great with plenty of suspects and red herrings to keep me engaged and guessing from the beginning until we reached the climax.  Yes, when Tally finally pieces it all together, it all makes sense.

Over the course of the book, the police, in the form of Tally’s friend Cal, keep circling Bree as their primary suspect.  I found it refreshing that Tally, while upset about this, recognizes that the police are just doing their job.  It does help that Cal doesn’t seem to believe Bree did it, but the evidence is overwhelming.  Still, while no one is happy about it, everyone understands why Cal is doing what he is doing.  I found this refreshing.

I also loved seeing the characters again for this book.  Tally has an unusual family, but they love each other fiercely, and that shows here.  I must admit I was a little surprised at one twist the book threw their way, but I loved how it developed the characters and their relationships with each other.

I’m not leaving out the suspects.  They are just as strong as the main cast and did their part to keep me guessing until we reached the end.

With as much as I love ice cream, I’m surprised I didn’t actually read this series sooner (this book originally came out in 2011).  Ice cream lovers won’t be disappointed with the descriptions we get here at all.

I really enjoyed this third visit with Tally and her family.  If you are looking for a fun and delicious culinary cozy, I highly recommend A Parfait Murder.

NOTE: I did read the original 2011 release, not the 2017 reissue pictured here.

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