A Parfait Murder
Source: Unrequested review copy from the publisher.
Book Description from Back Cover (modified):
Tallulah Jones, proprietor of the sweetest ice-cream parlor in Texas--Remember the A-la-mode--is about to be served up an ice-cold murder...
Life has been good for Tallulah Jones, and nabbing a spot on the judging panel at the Lantana County Fair puts the cherry on top. But when Tally's cousin Bree spots her ex-husband--who left town years ago--strolling the fairground with a vixen on his arm and a fat wallet in his pocket, all the fun goes cold.
When Bree is served a paternity suit by her ex so he can avoid paying child support, Bree's mad and everyone knows it. Things turn sticky when her ex's attorney is murdered in a ride at the fair. Bree's the only one on the ride with her, and Bree's caught holding the murder weapon. She pleads her innocence, and Talley is determined to discover the truth.
A Parfait Murder is a cozy mystery. It's the third in a series, but you can follow this story without having read the previous novels, and this novel didn't spoil the mystery in the previous ones.
The characters were varied and complex. Tally's family had some messed up family dynamics that she had to deal with along with solving the murder. There were some nice details about the setting and her job woven into this fast-paced story. An ice cream recipe was included in the back of the book.
I did figure out whodunit before Tally, but the answer wasn't obvious. While I agree the evidence pointed toward Bree, I never understood the logic of her murder motive. If Bree wanted to kill to stop the paternity suit, she'd kill her ex-husband, not his lawyer. Her ex-husband could always get another lawyer as long as he was alive. Yet everyone agreed that this was a solid motive for Bree, proving she really did it.
Tally had a less than glowing view of Christians, and she believed that a youth pastor was a "certifiable whack job" (page 215) because he was a committed Christian. There were no sex scenes. There was a very minor amount of explicit as well as "he cussed" style bad language.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt from Chapter One
Eloise Carberry folded her arms across her pink-aproned bosom, tsked softly, and shook her head as she threw down the figurative gauntlet. "They sure look alike to me."
Tucker Gentry drew himself up straight and tight as a banjo string. "Criminy, Eloise. It's ice cream. It all pretty much looks the same."
She tsked again.
Tucker and Eloise squared off over a stainless steel table, bare save for two white paper cups, each holding a single melting scoop of ice cream. One of those cups contained Tucker's entry in the hand-churned ice cream category of the Lantana County Fair, a flavor he called "pepper praline." The other cup held a scoop of Texas Twister from Remember the A-la-mode, a smooth vanilla with a swirl of dulce de leche and a kick of ancho chilies.
"They don't just look the same. They taste the same," Eloise insisted. Her claim drew gasps from the crowd behind her. Word of the scandal must have spread through the fairgrounds, as the gathering in the creative arts exhibit pole barn was growing by the minute.
Tucker was just a little fella, his shoulder blades clearly visible beneath the wash-worn cotton of his blue plaid shirt, but he had honed his speaking voice through years as the youth pastor at the One Word Bible Church. "I assure you, if Tally's ice cream and mine taste the same, it's not my doing."