Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: Lost and Fondue - 2nd in the Cheese Shop Mystery series
Author: Avery Aames
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Release Date: May 2011
Genre/Sub-genre: Cozy Mystery
Year/Setting: Present day, Providence, Ohio
Overall Rating: 3.75
Sexual Content Rating: None
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: Minimal
Avery's Website/Blog: www.averyaames.com
Charlotte Bessette owns the Cheese Shop. It’s a thriving business in the heart of Providence, Ohio. She has been asked to cater a fund-raiser for a possible new college opening in the abandoned winery. The winery itself is shrouded in mystery with rumors of a hidden treasure. Lots of people have talked about the possible truth to the rumors, but most believe it’s a tall tale.
When a freshly deceased body is found at the winery, it couldn’t come at a worse time for the future college. And when it’s discovered that the person was murdered, there is a string of clues pointing to Charlotte’s niece Quinn being the murderer. Charlotte can’t help herself; she puts her fondue pot on the back burner and starts investigating. She wants to help prove that Quinn is innocent. Unfortunately, the closer she gets to proving Quinn’s innocence, the closer the killer comes to getting her next.
Charlotte is quite a gal. She’s coming off of a bad relationship and working out a new one with her very secretive boyfriend, Jordan Pace. At first, I had some major suspicions about the boyfriend and not all of them have been answered. Hopefully the next book will give us more insight into the past and current life of Mr. Pace. Charlotte has a sharp mind and when she doesn’t know how to do something, she knows who to ask to get some answers. Also, with being a proprietor on the main shopping street, she knows most everyone and has access to information and gossip that others might not hear about.
I thought the story was well constructed and had a lot of action to keep the plot moving along. I thought the beginning felt stilted and was hard to get into. But, once the action started rolling, it was a much more interesting read and kept me going until we got to the end. I don’t know if it would have helped to read the other books in this series first or not. It didn’t seem to be a back-story problem, it seemed like the beginning was very ordered—almost too ordered. Everything was just so and it made the story seem sterile in the beginning.
I do want to warn you that once the story heats up, it’s a quandary of who done it questions and lots of action to keep you guessing. I don’t want to give too much away about Charlotte’s escapades, but it is quite a wild ride.
I did find this book to be immensely enjoyable overall and would recommend it to cozy mystery lovers. And for Avery Aames lovers, there is another Cheese Shop Mystery coming soon.
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