Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Review: Lost and Fondue by Avery Aames (Cheese Shop Mysteries #2)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great characters and mostly strong plot
Cons: Slows down a bit in the middle
The Bottom Line:
Fundraising murder
Gets Charlotte out of cheese shop
For reading pleasure

That Dead Body Wasn't on the Scavenger Hunt

I read the first book in The Cheese Shop Mysteries not too long after it came out.  That was back in 2010.  I remember enjoying it, so I have no idea why it has taken me four and a half years to get around to reading Lost and Fondue, the second in the series.  It definitely won't be as long until I read the next one.

On the outskirts of Providence, Ohio, is an old winery that hasn't been used in a long time.  Charlotte's best friend Meredith has decided to turn the Ziegler Winery into a college, and she's throwing a fund raiser to help with the cost.  Charlotte has been roped in to cater the event, including several different kinds of fondue.

One of the events is a scavenger hunt designed to get the guest exploring the entire house, something some of the guests love since they believe the rumors that there is a fortune hidden somewhere inside.  However, as it is almost over, Charlotte stumbles on a dead body in the basement.  When the police focus on a friend, Charlotte feels the need to find the real killer.  But what do the strange clues felt behind mean?

Because it had been so long since I read the first book, I was pretty much coming to this book new when it came to the characters.  As a result, I did feel a bit overwhelmed at first since there is a large cast of both recurring characters and suspects.  However, that feeling didn't last long as the author did a good job of introducing everyone and making them stand out from one another.  I grew to like most of them, especially Charlotte.  She is a strong main character.  Her weakness seems to be her love interest.  I'm conflicted when it comes to Jordan, but I'm hoping that will be ironed out as the series progresses.

The plot was strong with several viable suspects and some very puzzling clues.  I loved how Charlotte figured things out at the end, but until then I had no clue what was going on.  I did feel the book dragged a bit in the middle, but it wasn't for very long.

There were several sub-plots that were fun even if they didn't add much to the mystery.  They certainly helped round out the characters.  One sub-plot introduces a character we love to hate.  In fact, I was expecting her to be the murder victim, but it would probably provide too much trauma for some of the secondary characters, so I'm willing to let her just be a constant throne in the side of the heroes.

And there are five recipes in the back of the two, including two fondue and one quiche recipe.  That's on top of the mouth watering cheese descriptions spread throughout the book.  I claim to be a cheese lover, and all this book has shown me is that I need to expand my cheese pallet beyond cheddar (the sharper the better).

So grab a plate of cheese and sit down for an enjoyable read.  It won't be nearly as long before I go back to revisit Charlotte and her friends.  I just wish I'd read Lost and Fondue sooner.

I won't be waiting as long before I read more of the Cheese Shop Mysteries in order.


  1. Sounds good, and I love that there are recipes in the back.
    Thanks for linking to the Foodies Read Challenge!

    1. I've got three more in this series to go this year.

  2. I have just finished The Long Quiche Goodbye and struggled to get through the book - I thought the basic story line was ok, however the writing style was basic , often stereo typing female and male gender roles which I found frustrating and somewhat sexist - The main character Charlotte seemed to be a nice girl, hardly a sleuth though and at times just too good to be seen as a 'real' character!
    I will not attempt a second book as whilst the notion of including a food idea such as cheese to be a re occurring theme interwoven throughout the book is an appealing notion, this particular story I found boring and simplistic with very little to enthrall me when reading.

    1. I do find the author's writing is a bit more complex than much of what I read, so these aren't easy reads. But I certainly haven't noticed the other issues you have.

      Sorry to hear you don't like the series, but there are so many others out there I'm sure you'll find something you enjoy.