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In The Frosty Taste of Scandal by CeeCee James, Elise goes to the local ice skating rink for a date with her fiance, Brad, but as a police officer, Brad gets delayed over an hour, arriving just in time to see Elise fall on the ice. As she recovers and starts to leave the ice, Elise notices the man sitting in the zamboni, and he hasn't moved at all since she first saw him. When Brad checks out the man, he discovers the man dead. The next day as Elise goes to her job at a chiropractor's office, her co-worker, Sue, tells Elise that her Uncle Roger Hamilton, of Hamilton's Security's Bank, was just murdered and found at the ice rink, bringing Elise into the case.
In the meantime, life for Elise gets busy. She and Brad have set the date for their wedding, which they plan for three weeks from now, to take place at the gazebo at Angel Lake, Elise's favorite place. So she and her best friend, Lavina, rush to prepare the wedding. Elise is surprised to find that Lavina has become dominating about the details of the wedding until she learns that Lavina has been having trouble with her boyfriend, known only as Mr. G. Elise also finds herself encouraging her 16-year-old ward, Lucy, to visit her mother in the rehab house where she has lived since being released from prison for drug crimes, leading to some tension between the two. Further, Elise determines to try to save her favorite restaurant, The Peach Pie, a long-time establishment in Angel Lake. She learns that this restaurant is about to be foreclosed upon by Hamilton's Security's Bank after Roger Hamilton lied to Grandma Babe about the terms of the loan, which has now doubled from $50,000 to $100,00 despite regular monthly payments.
The Frosty Taste of Scandal has an interesting plot, but the book is so short (3 hours, 40 minutes) that it seems more like a novella than a novel. I found myself wishing the mystery plot were more complex and detailed, especially because the book spends only half the time addressing the murder. This means that the mystery tended to come across as weak and did not have as many twists as it could have, especially given the strength of James's writing in general.
The book's real strength comes in its character depth, making it a lot of fun. It was special to get to see Elise and Brad show their love in their wedding after seeing their relationship develop over the course of the series. We especially cheer on Elise after seeing her suffer from the pain of her divorce from her first marriage when she catches her ex having an affair. I also liked getting to see them chaperone the high school Christmas dance, which the school decides to use to raise money for The Peach Pie restaurant. Grandma Babe attends and is a big hit with the crowd. In addition to the strong characters, the book contains plenty of humor.
The audiobook of The Frosty Taste of Scandal is performed by Jennifer Groberg, who does a terrific job at bringing this book to life. She uses a mild Southern accent for the narrator role and a stronger accent for the voices of the characters, in particular Lavina, whose voicing sounds highly realistic. Groberg uses good timing, great choice in voices, and strong inflections. I really like her performance a lot.
Even though I was not highly impressed by the plot, I highly enjoyed this delightful book. The Frosty Taste of Scandal was a lot of fun, especially with characters I love to love. As the final book (at least so far) in the series, it creates a conclusion that satisfies heartily. My biggest complaint is that it lasted too shortly. I give this book five stars.