The Long Quiche Goodbye by Avery Aames
Review by Lauren, buy a copy now from The Book Depository
copy from library; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: Welcome to the grand opening of Fromagerie Bessette. Or as it's more commonly known by the residents of small- town Providence, Ohio-the Cheese Shop. Proprietor Charlotte Bessette has prepared a delightful sampling of bold Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, delicious tortes of Stilton and Mascarpone, and a taste of Sauvignon Blanc-but someone else has decided to make a little crime of passion the "piece de resistance." Right outside the shop Charlotte finds a body, the victim stabbed to death with one of her prized olive-wood handled knives.
Review: The idea of this challenge is that you don't know what you're going to get, but it's a nice way to try something new. The Long Quiche Goodbye isn't a book I would have picked up just by browsing the shelves, but I am very happy that I had the chance to read it. I think it's hilarious that both novels I "chose" for this challenge were mysteries, and that Avery Aames' novel takes place in Ohio (as I'm in Kentucky). As for the actual story, this is a character-driven story that had me guessing until the end as to who-done-it!
Charlotte and her cousin Matthew have taken over their grandparents cheese shop, Fromagerie Bessette, and are determined to make it even more of a success in their town. However, on the night of the new grand opening, someone is murdered with one of their knives and someone in their family seems the current, likely suspect. Charlotte believes in their innocence and becomes a bit of a sleuth to try and find considerable doubt to keep them from going to jail.
I thought Charlotte was a very likeable character. She might get herself into some scrapes and tick off the town policeman, a former classmate, but she honestly means the best. When she starts to suspect certain people and realizes she is wrong, she feels bad and chastises herself for going too far. While she might do some things most people wouldn't, she is very relatable and you can tell she just wants the best for her family.
In simple terms, I would say this book is like Gilmore Girls with a murder, simply because the town reminds me of that TV show. Everyone knows everybody, though they might not be fond of each other. It's small, close-knit, and full of a nice cast of secondary characters. One of those characters is Rebecca, friend and co-worker of Charlotte, who used to be Amish but left her community to live on her own. It's a wonderful backstory and I love that Aames included random information about Rebecca and other characters throughout the book. It just helped the setting come alive and seem more realistic. I'm definitely curious to read more in this series now!
As for the mystery, I was constantly second-guessing myself, just like Charlotte. She comes up with various suspects that all seem plausible and in the end, I never did figure it out! I love a mystery like this, because it's fun to constantly be wondering, only to have your ideas thrown out the window in the end for a shocking reveal!
In the end, an enjoyable read. I would definitely recommend for those that like a fun mystery without all the gore! No need to keep the light on at night after reading this one! I've already ordered the second novel in the series, Lost and Fondue.
Make it a Gift
The cheese shop in the novel is all about cheese and wine. Charlotte focuses on the cheeses, and her cousin Matthew holds wine tastings. As such, I found the perfect thing to pair with this novel if you wanted to gift something unique!
Melted Wine Bottle Cheese Plate from MitchellGlassworks on etsy. They have a lot of other options too, if you don't like this one. However, if you do, you get the wine bottle plate and the cheese spreader! Just perfect!