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by Avery Aames
Berkley, February 2012
336 pages
ISBN: 042524587X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Winter has come to Providence, Ohio, and makes the perfect setting for the next book in the Cheese Shop Mystery series. Back are all the old familiar characters and setting of the Fromagerie Bessette, as well as a returning resident Kaitlyn Clydesdale, who meets an unsavory end before she even gets going on building her (evil) Providence empire.

Under the pretext of starting a honeybee farm, Clydesdale has come back to town just in time for the Winter Wonderland Faire…and, unfortunately, an untimely death. While the town's chief of police first suspects a competing honeybee farmer (the boyfriend of amateur sleuth and cheese shop owner Charlotte Bessette's assistant, Rebecca), Charlotte is soon on the trail of the real killer. One problem is that there are any number of suspects, as Clydesdale's designs on Providence don't stop with honey. The other problem is that it appears the killer is trying to stop Charlotte from investigating the murder, putting her in danger.

Meanwhile, there is the faire booth to run, the cheese shop to staff, and a host of other problems with family and friends, not the least of which is the appearance of both Charlotte's ex who after returning from France has partnered with the unsavory Clydesdale and the ex-wife of Charlotte's cousin and business partner Matthew, who is simply an annoying addition to the neighborhood. These two add to the melee that surrounds the faire and murder mystery.

While all of these complications make author Avery Aames's cozy enjoyable, things get less satisfying when it comes to the solution meted out for the crime. The actual death scenario, however seasonably chosen, is a bit far-fetched, even for a cozy. Too many other suspects also appear to have better motives for the crime and likely would have made for better perpetrators. Still, for those who enjoy cheese (accompanied by recipes featured in the novel) and a setting rich with friends and family, there's plenty to enjoy about CLOBBERED BY CAMEMBERT.

§ Christine Zibas is a freelance writer and former director of publications for a Chicago nonprofit.

Reviewed by Christine Zibas, February 2012

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