Book Review

Up To No Gouda

Up To No Gouda

  • Author: Linda Reilly
  • Genre: Cozy Mystery
  • Publication Date: January 25, 2022
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
  • Series: Grilled Cheese Mysteries #1

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am offering my honest opinion on this book.

CONTENT WARNING: murder, blood, mild violence

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The first in a delicious new culinary cozy series featuring a grilled cheese eatery owner who must solve murders in her small town before she is put under lock and brie

Back in Balsam Dell to heal after the death of her husband, Carly Hale is finally pursuing her lifelong dream—opening Carly’s Grilled Cheese Eatery. After only five months, business is booming as Vermont vacationers and townspeople alike flock to lunch on her Party Havartis and other grilled cheese concoctions. All but Lyle Bagley, Carly’s one-time high school boyfriend and now town bully who just bought the building that houses her eatery and wants Carly out. After a muenster of a fight, Carly’s forced to put her nose to the rind and find a solution to keep her business afloat.

That is…until Lyle is discovered dead behind the dumpster of Carly’s shop, and one of her employees becomes the prime suspect. In order to save her eatery and prove her friend’s innocence, Carly must sleuth out the killer before she’s the one who gets grilled.

With a delightful cast of characters, an inventive amateur sleuth, and a whole host of cheesy hijinks, Up to No Gouda is the perfect cozy murder mystery to melt into.

I’ve really been on a cozy mystery kick, and this one was one of the better ones that I’ve read lately. It also kicked off a powerful craving for grilled cheese and tomato soup, so the inclusion of a variety of grilled cheese recipes at the back of the book was especially helpful.

The characters are adorable. It’s got a charming small-town vibe, and it’s an exceptionally clean story. Instead of cursing, the characters say things like “gosh” a lot, which I’d normally think of as suspect, except for the fact that I have a friend from a small town who actually says that fairly often. Carly is a charming character that I couldn’t help but adore and want to see succeed, even as the odds stack up against her. She’s surrounded by some really good people in her life, although I wasn’t quite sure who the real bad guy was. There were quite a few people who seemed suspect, but in the end, I was fairly surprised by the real villain. 

The setting was perfect for the story. It takes place in Vermont, and Carly chose a farm-to-table approach for her new restaurant. I loved the idea of a grilled cheese restaurant, especially since that’s one of the major comfort foods. Even the plot itself was a good one — I was sucked into the story quickly, and couldn’t wait to get back to it when I had to stop reading for any reason. 

It fell perfectly into the cozy mystery genre, with a plethora of punny names for the grilled cheese sandwiches on the menu, an adorable little dog that winds up being named Havarti, and a potential romance budding — all key aspects that I look forward to when reading a cozy. I’m definitely a fan of this new series, and can’t wait to see what the next book brings!

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