Case of the Bleus: A Cheese Shop Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – California
St. Martin’s Paperbacks (September 26, 2023)
Mass Market Paperback : 320 pages
ISBN-10 : 1250893895
ISBN-13 : 978-1250893895
Kindle ASIN : B0BQGH7R8W
What in the bleu blazes is happening in Yarrow Glen now?
Cheesemongers from across the Northwest have come to the Sonoma Valley for the Northwest Cheese Invitational. As the owner of the local cheese shop, Curds & Whey, Willa Bauer loves it. The event showcases custom cheese creations, and it’s the perfect time to gather with old colleagues to honor her former boss, the late and grate cheese legend, Max Dumas. He was famous for journeying into the wild bleu yonder to where he aged his award-winning custom Church Bleu. Only Max knew the recipe and location to his beloved cheese, and many are eager to have these revealed at his will reading.
But instead of naming someone to inherit his cheese and its secrets, Max stuns everyone with one cryptic clue. When a fellow cheesemonger dies under mysterious circumstances––the woman they all thought would get the secrets to Max’s prized possession––everyone falls under suspicion. Willa adores Church Bleu as much as the next cheese connoisseur, but it’s not to die for. Is a killer trying to get away with murder…and the cheese?
It is time for the Northwest Cheese Invitational and this year it is being held in Yarrow Glen. Making the event even more special for local cheese shop owner, Willa Bauer is that her former boss Max Dumas is being honored following his death. He was a cheese legend who created the award-winning Church Bleu. His colleagues, most worked with Willa, will be in attendance and also will attend the reading of his will. He had never shared his recipe or where he aged his special bleu cheese so it is assumed that for production of the cheese to continue he will name a successor and award his secrets to them.
Max Dumas was truly one of a kind and instead of naming one person to follow in his footsteps he just leaves a mystifying clue for them to follow. When one of his colleagues and Willa’s closest friend in the group, the person everyone thought would be named in the will is murdered, all the others quickly make up the list of suspects. Willa loves Max’s cheese but never expected anyone to get killed over it. Everyone really seems to have a case of the bleus. Willa and Team Cheese need to solve Max’s clue in hopes that it will bring the real killer to light before they get really cheesed off and kill again.
I truly love the characters in this series. Willa has grown so much, she has her flaws but she is open and truthful and can admit when she is wrong. She feels so genuine and I am so happy with the way the author is allowing her to evolve realistically.
Willa is surrounded by a great supporting cast. Mrs. Schultz is a treasure and a great friend. She is wise and has a huge heart. Archie is facing some new things in this story and finds himself in need of advice. Thankfully, he has Willa and Mrs. Schultz to turn to. Baz is also a good friend and part of Team Cheese. Roman and Willa are trying to keep their friendship after their breakup, while Willa is focused elsewhere in the romance department. All these characters are believable and true to life.
The new characters introduced in this story were not easy to like, except for the deceased Max, they all had an agenda. I would have loved to know Max. He was a prankster and must have been fun to be around.
The story had two mysteries to solve. Who killed Max? And where is the last of Max’s cheese, its recipe, and the aging spot? The murder mystery had many twists and turns. The means was apparent right away but who the killer was and how they pulled it off was difficult to determine. I love the way Willa and her friends gather, Team Cheese, to sort through clues and seek answers. Willa has a big idea to draw out the killer but it is risky and could cost her in more ways than one. The reveal was dramatic and scary. I was partially right in my thinking but the way everything played out was surprising.
The second mystery was a true puzzle. Max had really thought out what would happen if he passed away and had a unique way to make his wishes known. That reveal was priceless, heartwarming, and absolutely perfect.
With the recent passing of Jimmy Buffet, I love the references to him in the book. I know he was still alive when Ms. Moss wrote this story but I have to say the popular bar in this series, The Cellar, doing a Jimmy Buffet Weekend, serving Cheeseburgers In Paradise and It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere margaritas while playing all his songs was a nice tribute.
Case of the Bleus is an awesome addition to this series. I loved everything about this story. Engaging characters that have grown by leaps and bounds since the first book, Cheddar Off Dead, 2 superb mysteries, and all that cheese was more than A Perfect Escape. It was A Trip to Paradise, complete with a virtual Cheeseburger in Paradise. I had to give it my highest rating and add it to My Best Reads of 2023! I can’t wait for the next book in this series!
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About the Author
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”