No Parm No Foul (Grilled Cheese Mysteries)
2nd in Series
Setting – Vermont
Poisoned Pen Press (July 26, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback : 336 pages
ISBN-10 : 1728238358
ISBN-13 : 978-1728238357
Kindle ASIN : B09JJ46K9H
The second book in a delicious culinary cozy series—the muensters have arrived in Balsam Dell in this Halloween cozy mystery featuring a grilled cheese shop owner turned amateur sleuth
After a long hot summer in Balsam Dell, Carly Hale is ready for crisp Vermont weather and gourmet grilled cheeses at her Grilled Cheese Eatery. And the upcoming Halloween food competition is the perfect way to impress the locals.
But Ferris Menard, the owner of Sub-a-Dub-Sub, is nursing a serious grudge against Carly. Two days before the competition, one of Carly’s employees quit his part-time gig at Menard’s sub shop, sending Menard into a serious snit. In a confrontation at the Eatery, Menard accused Carly of sabotage and vowed to bring her down.
That’s when Menard’s body is found in his kitchen the morning after the competition, a steak knife sticking out of his heart. But Menard had a slew of enemies, and if Carly doesn’t figure out which one is the culprit, she might find herself—or someone she cares about—serving grilled cheese sandwiches under lock and brie!
Autumn in Vermont is perfect for a cup of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Carly Hale has a bit of competition, though, not just for her food but for an employee too. Ferris Menard gets on his high horse when he decides that Carly is the bain of his existence. One of his employees that had been working part-time for both Menard’s Sub-a-Dub-Sub Shop and Carly’s Grilled Cheese Eatery has decided to work full time for just Carly. He went so far as to publicly accuse Carly of sabotaging his business during the Halloween Scary-Licious Smorgasbord food competition.
When Menard’s daughter finds her father’s dead body the next morning in his shop’s kitchen with a steak knife plunged into his heart Carly knows she will be on the list of suspects, along with someone she cares about. It should be a long list though, the man had made plenty of enemies over the years but she can’t take any chances. Carly’s going to do her best to flip the real killer and fry them up in a pan before she sends them off to jail.
Carly has settled into her new life well. Her eatery has really taken off and she has great friends and employees that support her in everything she does. She is a strong protagonist but she may need to fine-tune her investigation techniques. One person tells her, “You know Carly, you’re about as subtle as a coronary.” Another tells her, “a careful driver like you is easy to tail.” But her heart is always in the right place she will do anything she can to help anyone. I love the direction her relationship with Ari is taking. And Havarti, Carly’s lovable Morkie always makes me smile.
Carly’s supporting cast is great too. Grant and Suzanne are wonderful employees that truly have become friends. Suzanne has a little accident in this story that put her out of commission for a while but that made for some interesting temporary employees. I will say my favorite character in No Parm, No Foul was retired teacher, Evelyn Fitch. She is a regular at Carly’s Eatery and she really is a special lady who plays a major role in the mystery.
The mystery had as many tangles as a Halloween cobweb with a lot of evidence pointed in one direction. It is clearly a frame-up. Carly gets clues from some unusual sources. One who uses poetry to help her get on the right track. She does get frustrated but doesn’t give up. I was totally engaged following along with her step by step. There were some really nice twists and that meant my jaw dropped when the killer was outed during a scary and exciting reveal.
This second Grilled Cheese Mystery, No Parm, No Foul, is an excellent addition to this series. I do suggest having a cup of tomato soup and a grilled cheese handy as your start reading because the cravings start almost immediately. There are a couple of recipes at the end of the book you are going to want to try too.
Engaging characters, a fun mystery, and a cheesy-filled story will have you coming back for more. Cheddar Late Than Dead will be released on January 31, 2023.
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