Friday, December 24, 2021

Review: Up to No Gouda by Linda Reilly


 About the Book

Cozy Mystery
Poisoned Pen Press
Release Date
January 25, 2022


Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

My Review

Carly Hale has always wanted to open her own grilled cheese restaurant.  Although she’s still grieving the loss of her husband, she is determined to make her restaurant a success.  She’s doing very well until an old flame, Lyle Bagley, shows up. He’s the new owner of the building where her restaurant is located. He makes sure to let Carly know she’s being evicted. Carly and her friends let Lyle know exactly how they feel about him. 

Not long after, Lyle is found dead in a dumpster behind Carly’s restaurant. One of her employees is the prime suspect. She vows to find the real killer, but she had no idea that Lyle had made so many enemies.  Carly is sure one of them is the guilty party, not her employee. 

When I heard the premise of this series is a grilled cheese restaurant, I jumped at the chance to review it.  It’s so unique from some of the typical cozy settings such as bakeries, coffee shops and libraries.  Although I love all of those as well, this is so different.  It grabbed by attention (also, I love grilled cheese - LOL). 

The cast of characters is well developed right from the start.  I didn’t feel the “stiffness” that sometimes happens with an introduction to a new series.  They came to life immediately. 

The story is filled with suspects, twists and turns from beginning to end.  I was totally shocked at who the culprit turned out to be.  Someone not on my list.  I had such fun trying to untangle the mystery.   

It’s fast-paced and one of those books I just couldn’t stop reading.  I can’t wait to see if there will be more books in the series.  So far, it’s off to an excellent start and it makes it to my top list of 2021!


For reading challenges:

Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge 2021
Literary Escapes Reading Challenge 2021 (Vermont)


FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a free Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.



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