Book Review

Cheddar Late Than Dead

Cheddar Late Than Dead

  • Author: Linda Reilly
  • Genre: Cozy Mystery
  • Publication Date: January 31, 2023
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
  • Series: Grilled Cheese Mysteries #3

Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

CONTENT WARNING: murder, misogyny, violence

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The next in a delicious new culinary cozy series featuring a grilled cheese eatery owner who must solve murders in her small town before someone is cheddar off dead.

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. That is, until a double-booking throws some mold in the cheese and leaves Klarissa scrambling. With the venue moved to the maid of honor’s family mansion and Carly rinding to create a new delicious treat it seems the group is going to pull off the shower without a hitch.

That is, until a rowdy band of groomsmen crashes the event. Klarissa is 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.

As a huge fan of this series, I was definitely looking forward to this next installment since finishing book 2. To prepare, I reread the first two and got in the Balsam Dell/grilled cheese mood, and am now craving a grilled cheese sandwich. Don’t judge—it’s the perfect comfort food, especially as the weather gets cold!

As usual, Carly’s sweet nature and inability to say no gets her in over her head and lands her right into the middle of a murder scene. When she encounters two old friends from high school, one of whom has become a complete bridezilla, and they find out that the bride’s dream setting for her over-the-top bridal shower has been overbooked, Carly is pushed into catering the shower with a brand new item: grilled cheese donuts. I’m still on the fence about them, but there’s a bonus recipe in the back of the book if you’re an adventurous eater.

Naturally, at the shower, chaos ensues and Carly observes some shady things. The groom is found dead, and Carly is drawn into the murder investigation. Although her link to feeling obligated to investigate the murder on her own is more tenuous than in other books (where people much closer to her were implicated in the murders), Carly does happen to be more observant than most people, and has noticed quite a few clues that many other people probably wouldn’t have. While she is cooperating with the police, the chief warns her multiple times not to investigate on her own (which she promptly ignores). 

I did love seeing Carly’s business doing well, and the fact that she’s now got more help in the eatery. I think the presence of a new face in the restaurant was nice, and it added a little drama as well. Plus, there’s a new potential romance brewing in Balsam Dell! Speaking of romance, the one between Carly and Ari was kind of pushed to the back burner in this story, although we’re told that they’re doing well, and he does make a few appearances. Fortunately, Havarti made a lot more appearances, which I’m totally fine with.

The clues in this book were much easier to decipher than in previous ones, and I had the killer figured out by about the halfway point. It kind of felt like Carly kept ditching the restaurant to invent thinly veiled reasons to question people, although she barely had any connection to the murdered person or the other people involved. However, in previous books, she was much more involved with the people, so her being involved felt more realistic. Although this wasn’t my favorite story in the series, it was still enjoyable and I am looking forward to the next one. Hopefully these issues will be worked out in the next one, because this is a fantastic series, and I can’t wait to revisit Balsam Dell (and get more delicious recipes). Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a grilled cheese calling my name.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 7

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