Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Book Review - To Brie or Not to Brie


To Brie or Not to Brie: A Cheese Shop Mystery

By: Avery Aames
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 2013
ISBN: 978-0425255544
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: February 2013

Police Chief Umberto Urso entered Fromagerie Bessette, better known to the locals as "The Cheese Shop," to order his usual sandwich and, like everyone else in Providence, to ask questions. "Hey, I heard you set a wedding date." Wrong. Charlotte Bessette, owner of the shop, was looking forward to getting married to Jordan Pace, the love of her life, but the bells weren't ringing just yet. On the other hand Pastor Hildegard was marrying her cousin, Matthew, and her best friend, Meredith Vance in about ten days. U-ey had a nose bigger than the roll his Jarlsberg was in, but so did everyone else. Matthew's ex, Sylvie, was calling foul, but she had left him and the twins to fare for themselves.

Jordan's sister Jacky's parting with her husband hadn't been as amicable. Giacomo Capriotti had been abusive and she'd secretly come to town to escape his wrath. Grandmère Bernadette was a regular old spitfire and between her Hamlet production and her "Stomping the Grapes" benefit race for the rescue shelter, the town was sure to see some action. Unfortunately, some of the action, aside from the usual quibbling and gossip, would really liven up the town. Instead of serving up hash at the diner, Delilah excitedly served up the bad news. "He's dead in the cooler at the Igloo." Someone had clunked Giacomo over the head with a bucket of Brie and blueberry at Hugo Hunter's ice cream shop.

Charlotte and her two shop assistants, Tyranne and Rebecca, were soon on the lookout for clues. "Miss Zook," Urso snapped at Rebecca, "do you know how psychiatrists define paranoia? Y-O-U." She was a big fan of television shows and had a slew of nutty ideas. Charlotte weighed her clues carefully, but eliminating suspects was not going to be easy. "C'est impossible. I saw her pacing at all hours with the baby." No, pépère wouldn't lie about le meutre, but someone was. Was everyone lying? Things would get even more complicated when the shop door slammed open and Rebecca gasped, "He's dead." At this rate, Charlotte wouldn't have any suspects if someone kept bumping them off!

Charlotte has her work cut out for her when murder and matrimony are on the menu. This mystery definitely is a lively one when everyone turns "into an amateur sleuth." Most of the characters have relationships that go way back and can be very candid with one another, something that makes the mystery even more fun. There are a lot of characters, but they are easy to sort out in this stand-alone mystery. There is a single clue that was thrown out that points the finger at someone, but only the real cozy mystery aficionado will catch it. In the meantime, the reader will have everything from Mafia-like characters, extortion, to the Witness Security Program to sort through in order to find out whodunit in this oooh la la delectable Cheese Shop Mystery!

Quill says: This fast-paced, exciting cozy mystery is a fabulously fun read!