The Rocky Road to Ruin
May 17, 2021

Book Review

The Rocky Road to Ruin

Meri Allen

reviewed by Fiona Cook

Ice cream, mystery, and small-town charm prove a winning recipe in Meri Allen’s suspenseful new cozy mystery novel, The Rocky Road to Ruin.

Riley Rhodes, travel blogger and CIA librarian (yes, that CIA!), is coming home to Penniman, Connecticut, for the funeral of her best friend Caroline’s mother. Though the small town welcomes her back with open arms, it’s not long before the peace and quiet of this rural setting is disrupted by a shocking murder; it’ll take someone with a particular set of skills to get to the bottom of this, and Riley’s never been one to shy away from helping a friend.

Meri Allen really has written something quite special here. Endearing from the first page, The Rocky Road to Ruin is full of characters that I dare you not to love—Penniman is full of individuals, unique and slightly quirky, but all in a very realistic and believable way. The writing brings it to life for the reader, conjuring early-summer landscapes that were vivid in my mind’s eye, and bringing just the right touch of humor to keep things light.

It’s impossible to talk about this novel without touching on the food, too. Do not go into this book with an empty stomach! Whether it’s the sunflower ice-cream, the tomato sandwiches, or an afternoon tea with the local gossip, the descriptions of food in this book are mouth-wateringly gorgeous. It’s a thread that winds through the whole novel, not just focused on the central ice-cream shop, and one that helped it stand out from the crowd—even if I will need to chase down some recipes as a result.

 An excellent start to what promises to be a very special series, The Rocky Road to Ruin will enchant and surprise you—I’m looking forward to seeing plenty more of Riley Rhodes.

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