Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good mystery, fun characters
Cons: Rebecca over the top much of the time
The Bottom Line:
Cheese and murder mix
Many fun characters for
Readers to enjoy
Kaitlyn Takes a Clobbering
After letting myself get several books behind, I decided this was the year I caught up on the Cheese Shop Mysteries. Clobbered by Camembert is the third in the series, and it was another fun ride.
It's February, which means it is time for
Winter Wonderland faire. All the town
merchants set up tents, and Charlotte Bessette and The Cheese Shop are no
exception. One night, she is busy
setting things up when Kaitlyn Clydesdale walks into the tent. This woman, a stranger to Providence, Ohio Charlotte,
claims to know details about the accident that killed Charlotte's parents many years before. Something seems off about Kaitlyn, like she
isn't quite what she appears, but Charlotte
is so anxious for the information she is willing to overlook it.
Before Charlotte and Kaitlyn can really talk, Kaitlyn is murdered. Police Chief Umberto Urso zeros in on Ipo Ho, the boyfriend of
assistant Rebecca. With Rebecca
demanding that Charlotte
solve the crime, she begins to gather clues.
But do they add up to a killer?
This series has quite the cast of supporting characters. In fact, there is a list of all the characters in the novel at the beginning of the book. I was thankful because I referred to it a couple of times. That's not to say the characters aren't well developed or distinct, but a few times it was nice to get a quick reminder of who they were if I hadn't seen them for a few chapters. Really, the cast is fun and works well to create a rich tapestry to keep us entertained.
In fact, a few of these characters come with their own baggage, and these sub-plots add a great element to the series. For those keeping track, we learn quite a bit more about
mysterious boyfriend in this book, but there are some fun developments with
other characters as well.
The mystery never suffers due to the subplots. It starts out strong and continues to build as we go from one viable suspect to another. To show you just how bad I am at guessing the killer, I actually zeroed in on a suspect that no one else ever suspected and was convinced I'd solved the crime. Yep, I was wrong. But when we do catch the killer, all the pieces fell into place and I was surprised I hadn't figured it out myself.
My only complaint about the book is Rebecca,
assistant. Usually, her attempts to get
involved in the mystery or give Charlotte
advice based on the TV shows she loves are funny. Here, Rebecca's reactions to her boyfriend's
arrest are so over the top I found her more annoying than entertaining.
As if the descriptions of cheese in the book won't make your mouth water (I really need to try some of these varieties), there are seven delicious sounding recipes in the back (eight if you count the gluten free variation on a cookie recipe already in the book). My mouth watered just reading about them - I've got to try some.
The characters have certainly won me over to this fun series (yes, even Rebecca), and I will be back for more soon. Clobbered by Camembert is a fun mystery that will keep you turning pages as you race to the ending.
Because the characters are such fun, you'll want to read the Cheese Shop Mysteries in order.