Monday, November 24, 2014

Book Review: Days of Wine and Roquefort by Avery Aames (Cheese Shop Mysteries #5)



Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters in an engaging mystery
Cons: A few niggles, but mostly minor issues.
The Bottom Line:
The plot is stronger
While the characters still shine
Enjoyable book




Murder of a House Guest

At the beginning of the year, I decided it was time to catch up on all of the books written by Daryl Wood Gerber under her two names.  Of course, then she announced she was coming out with two books in her Cookbook Nook series in 2014.  I’ve read both of those, and now that I’ve finished Days of Wine and Roquefort, I’m up to date on the mysteries she writes under the pen name Avery Aames.

If you’ve missed this series, you can pretty much jump in here.  You will be spoiled on a few character sub-plots and secrets, but the main mysteries from each book are not revealed.

What you do need to know is that Charlotte Bessette and her cousin Matthew run a wine and cheese shop in the small town of Providence, Ohio.  Somehow, that small town has become plagued by murder, and Charlotte always finds herself involved in trying to figure out what is happening, usually with the help of her friends, especially her assistant Rebecca.

It’s a couple weeks before Thanksgiving, and Charlotte’s life is very quiet.  Her fiancĂ©e, Jordan, is out of town and her cousin Matthew and his girls have moved out of the house they were sharing since Matthew just got remarried.  It’s why Charlotte agrees to let Matthew’s friend Noelle Adams move in for a little while.  Noelle has just gotten a new job at a winery in the area and her new place isn’t quite ready yet.

The day before Noelle starts her new job, Charlotte is shocked to return home and find Noelle stabbed with a wine corkscrew.  She manages to get off a cryptic final phrase before she dies.  Since Noelle hardly knew anyone in town, who would want to kill her?  Had someone from her previous life followed her? 

In the last book, I complained that I felt the sub-plots overwhelmed the main mystery.  That wasn’t the case here.  Who killed Noelle was front and center with the sub-plots serving their purpose of helping develop the characters and occasionally giving supporting players something to do.  I did feel like the rehashing of clues and suspects and theories could have been trimmed a little, but that is minor.

The reason?  I really do enjoy these characters.  Charlotte has a close nit group of family and friends, and I like spending time with them.  We even got to see a couple who weren’t around much last time, which was nice.  The characters are continuing to grow and change, and I like this in my main characters as well.  Rebecca’s love life took an interesting twist here, and I’m curious to see how that is resolved.  It could help to grow her character, which would be a good thing since she does tend to act her early 20’s age at times (and at times I love her for acting her age0.  I also wish that Charlotte would recognize why the chief of police wants her to stop investigating murders and stop taking it personally when he warns her away from the danger.  Overall, these are both minor issues in a cast I pretty much love.

Of course, you can’t have a culinary cozy (or many cozies in general these days), without providing recipes.  This book features six new ones including a delicious sounding chocolate cheesecake and a pizza I really want to try.  I just need to get going and actually try some of these recipes.

I’m glad I’ve made the effort to catch up on this series this year.  With Days of Wine and Roquefort behind me, I can look forward to the sixth in the series coming in just a couple of months.  I’m already looking forward to my return visit to Charlotte and her friends

If you do want to read the earlier books, here are the Cheese Shop Mysteries in order.

I actually have two copies of this book, so I am offering my extra in a giveaway.  And it is an autographed copy, too.  Just leave me a comment on this review and include your e-mail address before 11:59 PM on December 1st, and I will draw one lucky winner.  It's that simple!

12 comments:

  1. The Cheese Shop Mysteries are a cozy series I'd love to read! Thanks for this opportunity to start! chatcozy1@gmail.com

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  2. Love the Cheese shop mysteries. Thanks for the chance. ourbutton@yahoo.com

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  3. Sounds like a delicious mystery...cheese and all...
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

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  4. I just found Daryl and am looking forward to reading her books! They sound wonderful! Thank you for this post and for the chance!

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  5. I've started this series and enjoy it, I never knew cheese could be so interesting. I love your reviews, your taste seems similar to mine. Thanks for the chance to win.
    momzillasteel@gmail.com

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  6. Awesome! Hope to add it to my shelf...if not, definitely planning on picking it up!
    misstree1963@gmail.com

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  7. The series written under Avery Ames are a real page turner. Thanks for the opportunity to take a chance in your giveaway. robeader53@yahoo.com

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  8. I love this series.
    Prentiss Garner
    3047 Winston Dr #170
    Burlington NC 27215

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  9. Congrats on finishing the series.
    gibsonbk at hiwaay dot net

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  10. I love the series but haven't yet read this book. There's nothing in the details of the giveaway about geographical restrictions so if you're willing to send to Canada please enter me in the draw. If not, good luck to eveybody who enters!

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  11. I love this author & both of her series. I have to read this one to be current. So many great cozies it's hard to keep up. Great review!

    Scouts579 (at) aol (dot) com

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  12. I've read the first 3 in the series---so I guess I'd better get reading and catch up too. Thanks for the contest.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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