Cheddar Late Than Dead (Grilled Cheese Mysteries)
3rd in Series
Setting – Vermont
Poisoned Pen Press (January 31, 2023)
Mass Market Paperback : 384 pages
ISBN-10 : 1728238382
ISBN-13 : 978-1728238388
Kindle ASIN : B09Y2M5X9M
A bridal shower gone bad quickly becomes the swiss of death, and grilled cheese shop owner Carly Hale must sniff out the suspect.
Winter in Balsam Dell is a snowy affair, and to add in some cheer after the holidays Carly’s former classmate Klarissa Taddeo is hosting her extravagant bridal shower at the historic Balsam Dell inn. But when a double-booking throws some mold in the cheese, Klarissa is left scrambling. Dawn, the maid of honor and wedding planner, saves the day by moving the shower to her family’s mansion and books Carly to cater the party. It seems the group is going to pull off the shower without a hitch.
That is, until Klarissa’s fiancé crashes the event. She’s furious with her groom-to-be and when a loud argument ensues, everyone is shocked by what they hear. When the groom is later found dead at the bottom of the stairs, his drink spiked with a hefty dose of poison, Carly must put her nose to the rind and save Klarissa from being suspect #1.
Because you know what they say: it’s always the (almost) wife.
Carly Hale’s Grilled Cheese Eatery is the perfect stop to warm up during the winter in Balsam Dell. There is nothing better than a hot cup of soup and one of Carly’s gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. It is there where Carly’s former classmates Klarissa and Dawn meet to discuss Klarissa’s upcoming bridal shower. It is also where they learn their choice of venue, the Balsam Dell Inn has been double booked. Dawn agrees to have the party moved to her family’s mansion but only if Carly caters the event. Well, they really didn’t give her much of a choice.
The big day arrives and Carly and the family’s maid get into a great rhythm grilling the special sandwiches but something just feels off about the day. The groom’s stepmother was not welcomed with open arms and she makes it known. Soon the groom arrives at the party to have words with his bride, loud words. And soon thereafter, the groom is found dead, poisoned, and someone at the shower is responsible. Was it the bride-to-be? Her maid of honor? or one of their guests? Carly is a little cheesed but she agrees to help find who objected to this marriage enough to off the big cheese before they even made it to the church.
The author has created such a captivating cast of characters I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. Carly is a fun protagonist. Her relationship with Ari is moving along nicely. Her grillmaster Grant is a true friend with some wonderful ideas, mostly cheese related but this time he has a revelation to change school lunches. Suzanne too continues to be there for whatever Carly needs. What Carly needed most was an assistant especially if she is going to be off catering events or tracking down killers. Valerie Wells appears to be an ideal hire but something is bothering her. Carly just needs to find out what. Gina is also a great best friend and a big help to Carly as she organizes her suspects and motives.
We do meet a number of new characters. Carly’s classmates Dawn Chapin and Klarissa Taddeo, Klarissa’s aunt, Megan Gilbert who practically raised her, her mother Ursula, and Dawn’s mom Julia, the groom Tony’s stepmother, Rose Manous, and Megan’s friend, Gretel Engstrom who is the town manager of Balsam Dell, and Astrid, the Chapin’s maid. All were important to the story and developed nicely throughout the pages.
There were a couple of mysteries in the story, the groom’s murder and later a missing person. Ms. Reilly plotted them both out so well. Carly really didn’t want to get involved but soon she was all in. Her caring nature makes it so easy for people to open up to her especially when she brings her sweet little Morkie, Havarti, along. It also makes it fun for the reader to follow along with her step by step and cringe with fear when we know she is about to make a misstep. The author grilled up some skilled twists that blew my theory altogether but lead up to a heart-pounding reveal. I loved it!
I really enjoy the grilled cheese theme of this series. A dinner of grilled cheese and tomato soup always coincides with reading a book in this series. The cravings start with the title and grow with each sandwich description. This time the story features Grilled Cheese Donuts and while I haven’t tried one of those yet there have been discussed a lot around here.
Cheddar Late Than Dead was a scrumptiously good read! I was totally entertained from beginning to end. I hope I don’t have to wait too long to catch up with these characters again. I love visiting Vermont and Balsam Dell.
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