Sunday, February 12, 2012

Clobbered by Camembert by Avery Aames

Sometimes, I get so exasperated with Charlotte Bessette in Avery Aames' Cheese Shop mysteries. She is a snoop, as some of the townspeople of Providence, Ohio claim. She is interfering and bossy, and runs off half-cocked. On the other hand, she's loyal to the people she loves, or she wouldn't be a successful amateur sleuth. And, it's that loyalty, and her love of Providence, her love of family, along with her fondness for cheese and wine, that bring me back time after time to these books. Clobbered by Camembert might test a reader's patience at times, but Avery Aames knows how to suck us into the activities and crimes in Charlotte's life.

It's time for the Winter Wonderland faire Providence, in Holmes County, Ohio (Amish country). Charlotte and her staff have their hands full, running Fromagerie Bessette, The Cheese Shop, and preparing a tent for the faire as well. And, Charlotte is a little short-handed. Her assistant, Rebecca, who grew up Amish, is caught up in her first romance. She and Ipo Ho, a honeybee farmer, are finally going to "Do it." They're finally going to kiss. But, Rebecca heard rumors that Kaitlyn Clydesdale has returned to town to start a honeybee farm as well. She's worried about it, but not enough to cancel her date for a first kiss.

When Kaitlyn ends up dead, a kiss isn't a good enough alibi for Police Chief Umberto Urso. Ipo Ho is a little too convenient as a suspect. It isn't long before  a frantic Rebecca drags Charlotte into the case. Every time Rebecca hears another rumor, she begs Charlotte to play detective and run around and ask questions. Time after time, they drop everything and track down a witness or a suspect.

With her ex-boyfriend in town, doubts about Jordan Pace, the man she loves now, and a business to run, Charlotte really doesn't have time to interfere in a murder investigation. A friend even warns her. "Charlotte Bessette, you are not the appointed savior of everyone in Providence, Ohio, no matter what people say." But, Charlotte wouldn't be Charlotte if she didn't help her friends, even if Urso considers it interference.

As I said, I get a little exasperated with Charlotte at times. What kind of business owner can afford to drop everything and run all over town? But, Charlotte and the other characters in these books always win me back. Aames' characters are quirky, fun individuals, from Rebecca with her lack of experience, to the twins and Charlotte's grandparents. Even the twins' mother, Sylvie, as frustrating as she can be, provides comic relief. And, of course, there's still the romance and mystery surrounding Jordan. Aames leaves us wanting more information about him.

As always, Avery Aames not only has an interesting mystery and fun characters, but she also provides all that mouth-watering information about cheese, wine, and other food offered at The Cheese Shop. Add the moments of romance and a great deal of humor, and Clobbered by Camembert is a gift. Once a reader discovers Providence, the charming Ohio town, and all the interesting residents, the books are hard to resist.

Avery Aames' website is

Clobbered by Camembert by Avery Aames. Berkley Prime Crime. 2012. ISBN 9780425245873 (paperback), 323p.

FTC  Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Harvee, Book Dilettante said...

Camembert is one of my favorite cheeses as well as Brie. Seems I should read this series! Nice review!

Lesa said...

Thanks, Harvee. Any cheese fan should definitely try this series. Avery discusses cheese throughout the books.

Carol N Wong said...

My favorite too! Can't wait to read this one.

C.L. Phillips said...

Camembert was a clue in my crossword puzzle this week! Must read. Thanks for the review and for posting on Dorothy L.

Lesa said...

It's already out, Carol, so you should be able to find it.

Lesa said...

How timely, C.L.! And, thanks for the note about DorothyL. I know some readers don't really like the BSP.

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Lesa, thank you so much for the great review. I'm so glad you enjoy the books, and I'm so thrilled to see readers here who love cheese. Camembert is one of my favorites, and it's a ball to use the (pardon me) cheese-y theme through a book. I've had so much fun doing research, as you know. :)



Lesa said...

I do know, Avery. And, "Say cheese!"

Misa said...

It's a fun series, I agree :)

Karen C said...

Another good one - thanks!

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Karen. And, thanks for the note, Misa!