The operators of competing ice cream stores unite in a purposefully comic tag-team to solve the murder of one of their own.
Ice cream store owner Mary isn’t operating a charity; she’s running a business, which is why competitor Jerry is such a thorn in her side. Jerry, whose surfer-dude cool and unforced handsomeness have allowed him to lead what many would consider to be a stress-free existence, is the definition of guilelessness. He runs an ice cream store under the direction of his Aunt May, whose icy personality is suited for an industry that serves frozen goods. He casually mentions that he sold grass in California, which leads everyone to believe that he’s spiking the ice cream with marijuana, when in fact he actually means different types of the stuff that grows out of the ground. When a dead body shows up in May’s store, the police are called in to investigate. Jerry is interviewed about his potential role in the crime, and it turns out that not only has he been reluctantly sleeping with his former female roommate, but he’s been sleeping with the roommate’s best friend in the occasional threesome. Who’s the murderer? Mary and Jerry must join forces to crack the mystery, which will pose some difficult (and potentially sexy) situations along the way.
Author Paul Janson’s prose is straightforward and relatively free of subtext, although an atmosphere of small-town weariness seeps through the characters. This gives the book a flavor that could be described as a cross between a Jessica Fletcher mystery and the unabashed sexuality and complicated counterculture of a late Thomas Pynchon novel.
Combining a jaded eye cast toward the realities of human nature with enough playful humor to keep the tone light, this book is an amusing mystery that is easily consumed in one serving.