by Abby L. Vandiver
also writing as Abby Collette
The setting of a book can make you snuggle in or can whisk you away. It is the backdrop of a good story and helps to create the mood. So when I decided to write an ice cream cozy mystery, I knew my setting had to be fun.
In a cozy, the setting for the town is one that is usually sparsely populated, quaint, and friendly. Filled with quirky folks who are longtime residents and usually members of the neighborhood “gossip patrol.” (How else would the murder get solved?)
A Deadly Inside Scoop, the first in my cozy series An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery, is set in a real place. Sure, I have other cozies series that are set in real states, but I’ve always used a fictional town.
Chagrin Falls is a wonderful place in northeast Ohio close to where I live in Cleveland, and it totally real. The village of Chagrin Falls, home to comedian Tim Conway and Bill Watterson, creator of the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, takes its name from a series of waterfalls along the Chagrin River that run through the middle of town. Main street shops are clustered around a pedestrian-friendly triangle, the surrounding neighborhood nearly all on an incline. For its commitment to urban forestry, the village has been awarded the distinction of Tree City USA for the twenty-fifth year. And there’s even an ice cream shop there. Jeni’s put its first shop outside of its home-base in Columbus, Ohio, in Chagrin Falls.
If you’ve read A Deadly Inside Scoop (and if you haven’t, what are you waiting on?), you know that Crewse Creamery, the ice cream parlor in the subtitle, is set in the midst of those shops and at the top of one of those waterfalls. That is one of the things that make it so special. And Chagrin Falls, the real one, is truly a beautiful place to be. People flock from all over to see its sights, the summer air balloon Glow festivities, and enjoy the picturesque and charming village.
In the book, the main character, Bronwyn “Win” Crewse is the current manager of the beloved family business. She’s put a glass wall in so that customers can sit in booths by the window and enjoy the view of the falls while they enjoy the delicious frozen concoctions she handcrafts in the backroom kitchen. As a millennial, she has a breadth of ideas on how to make the ice cream shop appealing and modern, even though she grabs ahold to some old-time recipes and décor. There’s a red jukebox, a checkerboard floor, a soda fountain, and of course, yummy ice cream flavors—Pumpkin Spice, Ghoulish Blueberry, and Orange Burst to name a few, a lot of them she learned from her grandmother. Who wouldn’t want to come and stop by?
Except for the murder, the Ohio town depicted in A Deadly Inside Scoop, is a great place to be. I tried to fill the pages with descriptions of how being there makes you feel like you’re home. So come and read about Win and her amateur sleuthing as she solves the whodunit along with her best friends and family members. And don’t forget to have some ice cream handy because, so I’ve heard, you’ll be craving some as you turn the pages. And meanwhile, whenever you get the chance, and you’re out this way, come to see the real Chagrin Falls. Bring your family and spend the day. I’m sure you’ll be happy you did!
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