cover image Last Licks

Last Licks

Cynthia Baxter. Kensington, $26.00 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4967-1418-3

In Baxter’s sprightly third Lickety Splits Ice Cream Shoppe mystery (after 2019’s Hot Fudge Murder), Kate McKay, the owner of the Wolfert’s Roost, N.Y., ice cream emporium, is in the throes of decorating for the upcoming Halloween festivities when Chelsea Atkins, the assistant director of a movie being filmed in the Hudson Valley town, strides through the front door. She asks to use the shop as a location for a key scene featuring starlet Savannah Crane. The jaw-droppingly high fee for the one-day shoot prompts Kate to accept the offer. Besides the location, Kate also provides a bowl, spoon, and a big scoop of chocolate almond fudge, which Savannah eats during the scene. After polishing off the last of the ice cream, Savannah drops dead, and Kate becomes a suspect in her poisoning. Even while investigating plausible motives and potential suspects, Kate finds time to think up tantalizing ice cream flavors and enjoy the company of family and friends. This cozy has everything genre fans could want: an intelligent and plucky protagonist, a soundly plotted mystery, and solid character development. Agent: Evan Marshall, Evan Marshall Agency. (Jan.)