Thursday, August 19, 2021

Review: The Rocky Road to Ruin by Meri Allen

About the Book

Cozy Mystery


St. Martin’s Press

Release Date
July 27, 2021

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Justice will be swirled by amateur sleuth Riley Rhodes in the first in Meri Allen's brand-new mystery series!

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?

My Review

Returning to her hometown of Penniman, Connecticut, Riley Rhodes wants to support her good friend Caroline Spooner after her mother dies.  Caroline’s mother owned the ice cream shop Udderly Delicious and Riley jumps right in to help keep it open.  It’s the perfect place for Riley to be at the moment.  She’s a travel food blogger and librarian at the CIA, but things didn’t go well on an undercover mission and she needs to do something else right now.

As Caroline and her brother Mike disagree on dividing their mother’s assets, Riley tries to be there for her friend.  When Mike winds up dead, the police turn their attention towards Caroline as the number one suspect.  Riley has no intention of seeing her friend blamed for a crime she didn’t commit.  She starts her own investigation and uncovers Mike’s many secrets.  She learns there are quite a few other suspects.  She has help from a spoiled cat named Sprinkles and their new feline friend named Rocky.

The is the first book in the Ice Cream Shop Mystery series.  Summer is a great time to read a book set in an ice cream shop.  Unfortunately, it had me craving ice cream throughout the entire book, especially my favorite Rocky Road.

I liked Riley right away.  I think she’s a strong character and I’m looking forward to getting to know her better.  Her devotion to Caroline is admirable.  I liked their best friend relationship.  The supporting characters are interesting and quirky.   There’s even a dachshund named McGillicuddy.

The story moved along at a nice pace.  There were several red herrings thrown in and it kept me off track.  I didn’t start to realize who did it until I was at the end of the book.  I could not put this one down and stayed up way too late reading.

It’s always fun to start a series from the beginning and I’m looking forward to another visit to Penniman and seeing what Riley is up to next.

For reading challenges:
Craving for the Cozies Reading Challenge 2021
Literary Escapes Reading Challenge 2021 (Connecticut)
Cloak & Dagger Reading Challenge 2021

FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a free Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.


  1. Thanks for sharing your review. I definitely want to read this book.

  2. I love these kinds of books. A bit of mystery and lots of fun.

    Have a fabulous day. ♥

  3. That looks good. I would fear craving ice cream too as I have avoided it most of the summer. XO

  4. I like the sound of this one. Great review!

  5. I've read too much Mrs. Pollifax! When I saw CIA I thought spies not food but I figured it out. This sounds like a fun read and I always crave ice cream so I think I'm prepared for it!


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