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A Parfait Murder
A Mystery a la Mode
Wendy Lyn Watson

June 2011/ ISBN 978-0-451-23380-6

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Tally Jones runs a successful ice cream parlor, “Remember the A-la-Mode,” in her small hometown of Dalliance. Working as a judge at the Lantana County Fair seems like a feather in her cap of local society and what should be an easy job to boot.

Dalliance doesn’t allow for much peace and quiet though, and before a single scoop cone can melt on a hot Texas day, trouble finds it way to Tally and her family. Her cousin, Bree, sees her ex-husband (the one who ran out on her and their child) walking around the fair like he owns the place and with the added insult of a beautiful woman on his arm. The nuts over the sundae are not just the woman, but the wad of cash he sports. Bree sees red and immediately plans to get the deadbeat dad ex-husband Sonny to dip into that cash to pack back child support.

Sonny has other ideas. He brings his attorney into the mix to demand a paternity test. Before any legal wrangling can actually take place, said attorney is murdered. Bree is the most likely suspect, and it’s up to Tally to help clear her cousin’s name and reputation. The problem is everything points to Bree as being actually guilty!

I really like the way author Wendy Lyn Watson crafts her mysteries. The reader is drawn in fast and feels so right in the middle of things, including the Texas heat, that one finds oneself with frequent cravings for ice cream while reading her books! This one in particular demonstrates that Watson is becoming more comfortable with her own characters with each successive book. Tally is clever, fun, a smart business woman with just below the surface detective skills that rise to the task when she really needs them. While there’s none of the over-done heroine goes into the dark basement even though she knows the killer might be there type of thing, Tally plows forward right into the thick of things without a backwards glance. I find myself liking Tally and her cohorts a lot.

This book is a pretty fast read, ideal for a lazy summer afternoon in a hammock or on the beach. It’s appropriate for teens as well as adults; in fact one of the main characters is a teen-age girl, and there are other teens sprinkled throughout the story. The warnings I’d give readers are easy to follow: have ice cream at the ready, and eat it fast! This is a page turner, and you’ll likely get so caught up in it that if you don’t eat your frozen treat quickly, it’ll melt!

Reviewer Laura Hinds is the author Are You Gonna Eat That Banana?
Reviewed 2011
© 2011