Saturday, March 26, 2022

Cheddar Off Dead by Korina Moss

  Cheddar Off Dead

 Book Summary

In Korina Moss's cozy series debut, Cheddar Off Dead, cheesemonger Willa Bauer discovers that her new home in a small Sonoma Valley town is ripe for murder... something here stinks to high heaven, and Willa knows it's not the cheese.

Cheesemonger Willa Bauer is proving that sweet dreams are made of cheese. She’s opened her very own French-inspired cheese shop, Curds & Whey, in the heart of the Sonoma Valley. The small town of Yarrow Glen is Willa's fresh start, and she's determined to make it a success – starting with a visit from the local food critic. What Willa didn’t know is that this guy never gives a good review, and when he shows up nothing goes according to plan. She doesn’t think the night can get any worse... until she finds the critic’s dead body, stabbed with one of her shop’s cheese knives. Now a prime suspect, Willa has always believed life’s problems can be solved with cheese, but she’s never tried to apply it to murder…

 My Thoughts

Cheddar Off Dead by Korina Moss has Willa Bauer opening Curds & Whey in Yarrow Glen, California.  She is hoping for a complimentary review from food critic, Guy Lippinger. Unfortunately, Guy ends up dead after an unpleasant encounter at the shop with one of Willa’s cheese knives in his neck.  The suspect list is small because only the members of her inaugural cheese making class had access to the murder weapon.  The publicity surrounding the murder has caused a lack of customers in the cheese shop.  Willa feels she has no choice but to solve the crime before her shop closes before it even gets off the ground.  Willa gets help from her two employees plus her neighbor, Baz.  The killer does not appreciate Willa’s sleuthing and warns her off.  Willa will need to keep her wits about her if she is solve the case without finding herself facing off with a killer.

Cheddar Off Dead by Korina Moss is the first book in A Cheese Shop Mystery series.  Willa Bauer has traveled since college learning all about the different variety of cheeses available in the world.  She is now ready to open her own shop.  Willa picked Yarrow Glen in Sonoma Valley for Curds & Whey.  It has only been open a short time when the murder occurs. Willa lacked personality.   She is nice, but she is only okay as a protagonist.  We get to meet Willa along with her two shop employees (Archie and Mrs. Schulz), Baz (I love his real name), and various townspeople.  I found the pacing to be a little slow for my liking.  The author provides descriptions on the town, the shops, the people, and various cheeses (this slows down the pacing but allows readers to visualize the scenes).  I liked the various secondary characters in the series.  It is a well-rounded cast that is diverse in age and experience (from teen to retired drama teacher).  The mystery involves a food critic who is disliked in the town.  It was easy to figure out that the nasty critic would be murdered and there is a small cast of suspects.  There are clues to help readers solve the crime.  It is a light, simple whodunit that can be solved long before the final clues are given, and the reveal occurs.  The mystery is nicely wrapped up at the end, but I felt the ending was incomplete (if I said why, it would be a spoiler).  Willa actively investigated the crime by asking questions and eavesdropping on conversations.  She gets help from her two employees and her neighbor, Baz (I like all three of these characters).  Detective Heath is a handsome man (according to Willa) who warns Willa about the dangers of sleuthing. For some reason, Willa doubts the detective’s ability to solve the case.  

My favorite scene in Cheddar Off Dead is when Archie, one of Willa’s employees, comes out in a large cheese costume made by her other employee, Mrs. Schulz.  It is a cute scene.  I hope the author will cut back on romance in future books.  I do not mind a little light romance that plays out throughout the series (I just do not like our fair protagonist admiring the various eligible men and debating the merits of relationships with them).  I read a cozy mystery for the mystery along with friendly characters, charming small town, and that extra bit (whether it is a culinary cozy, pet themed, craft related, etc.).  Cheddar Off Dead is okay, but I do not know if I will continue with the series (it cannot compare to Daryl Wood Gerber’s cheese shop mystery series).  The novel is not long, but it felt like it thanks to the slow pacing and writing style.  Cheddar Off Dead has readers traveling to the Sonoma Valley for delectable cheeses, a knifed critic, several suspicious suspects, an understanding neighbor, eager employees, a dedicated detective, and a curious cheesemonger.  

Cheddar Off Dead comes out Tuesday, March 29 and it is available from Amazon*.  The next A Cheese Shop Mystery is Gone for Gouda which publishes on September 27.  Follow Korina Moss on Amazon to receive an email when she has a new book release.  Thank you for dropping in and reading my latest book review.  On Monday, I am featuring Lost Coast Literary by Ellie Alexander.  I hope that you have a relaxing weekend.  Take care of yourself and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

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