In this intoxicating mystery by USA Today bestselling author Sarah Fox, a winter carnival becomes a recipe for disaster when a Shady Creek celebrity gets iced.
The Winter Carnival always brings holiday cheer, Christmas joy—and tourists with cash—to picturesque Shady Creek, Vermont. At the center of the glittering decorations and twinkling lights is booklover and pub owner Sadie Coleman, creating original cocktails, hosting a literary trivia evening, and cheering on her loyal employee Melanie “Mel” Costas as she competes in the ice carving competition.
But holiday cheer can’t compete with former resident and renowned chef Freddy Mancini, who arrives with his nose in the air, showing off his ice-sculpting skills like a modern-day Michelangelo. During the artists’ break in the night-long contest, Mel’s tools disappear . . . and Freddy is found dead with her missing pick in his chest.
Although the police turn their attention to Mel, it seems everyone in town had a grudge against Freddy, including his assistant, his mentor, his former flame, and even his half-brother.
Faster than she can fling a Huckleberry Gin, Sadie finds herself racing to make sure the police don’t arrest the wrong suspect—all while sharing a flirtation with local brewery owner Grayson Blake. Their chemistry leads to a heated rivalry at the hockey rink—and to the hot pursuit of a killer.
It's early December in Fox's pleasant if workmanlike sequel to 2019's Wine and Punishment, and the residents of Shady Creek, Vt., are preparing for the town's annual winter carnival. The event's ice sculpting competition is attracting even more attention than usual due to the participation of imperious Boston restaurateur Federico Mancini, who was born in Shady Creek and left at an early age. Rumor has it that the $5,000 prize and a feature in a national arts magazine lured him back. It certainly wasn't a chance to catch up with old friends. Mancini manages to infuriate practically everyone, including Mel Costas, a past winner of the competition. During a break, Mel discovers that her tools have been stolen and suspicion falls on Mancini, who's subsequently found stabbed to death with Mel's ice pick. Book-loving Sadie Coleman, owner of the Inkwell Pub, sets out to track down the truth, guided by local gossip and overwhelming curiosity. Fox offers plenty of plausible suspects and a thrilling confrontation with the killer, along with a dash of decorous romance. Those who don't require wit in their cozies will be content.