Cooking the Books: Curds of Prey by Korina Moss

Cheesemonger Willa Bauer is filled with anticipation—and not just because she’s auditioning to cater an upscale bridal shower. The Harrington family hosting the festivities is both rich and wildly influential. The exposure of her cheeses to their well-heeled shower guests would be wonderful in and of itself, but the spread will also be photographed—with a little blurb for her cheese shop—in the society pages of the widely circulated All Things Sonoma magazine. After all, two socially prominent, eligible singles such as Summer Harrington and Nelson Trumbull, the wealthy nephew of Yarrow Glen’s mayor, don’t get married every day.

On a more personal note, Willa is hoping that once the cheese-tasting for the shower is over, she’ll be able to celebrate landing the gig with her good friend and meadery owner, Roman Massey. Their slow-burning romance is finally showing signs of intensifying, and Willa is anticipating a declaration of love over dinner later that night. Unfortunately, it’s emotions of a different kind that run high when Roman stops by her cheese shop early to pick her up. His presence unexpectedly overlaps with the tardy bridal party’s. The groom-to-be is not at all happy to see him, and a fight breaks out that puts the kibosh on Willa’s plans for a romantic evening.

Perturbed but not yet concerned, Willa presses on with her catering plans, since at least those have been given the go-ahead. The shower is presided over by the formidable Olivia Harrington, Summer’s mother, who is ready and willing to tell everyone exactly what to do to ensure her beloved younger daughter’s event goes off without a hitch. But even she is boggled when Nelson unexpectedly makes a dramatic appearance in search of his intended. Summer is, oddly enough, missing. When she finally returns to her shower, with Roman in tow, all hell breaks loose once more.

At this point, Willa is fully concerned that her relationship with Roman is on shakier ground than she’d anticipated just a few days earlier. It doesn’t help that her one-time fiancé left her for her former best friend some time ago, making her a little gun-shy when it comes to romance. Before she can have an honest discussion with him about this, though, she stumbles across Nelson’s dead body. Roman immediately becomes the police’s prime suspect.

Willa might not be so sure anymore about their romance, but she does know that Roman would never kill anybody. Even if she hadn’t been involved in solving several murders that had previously plagued Yarrow Glen, she would do everything possible to find Nelson’s actual killer in order to clear Roman’s name. Will she be able to succeed despite the interference of some of the town’s most prominent citizens? Or will a killer decide to put an end to her snooping for good?

This third installment of the Cheese Shop Mystery series really focuses not only on Willa’s romantic feelings but also on the love lives of her dearest friends. In addition to stopping a killer, Willa and her adorable Team Cheese must also help the police apprehend a wallet thief. This is perhaps not the best book to start the series with, but it is definitely one that will appeal to readers who like a hefty dose of breakups and makeups with their cozy mysteries.

There were three yummy cheese-forward recipes included, and I decided to try out this one, lightly edited here for format:

Goat Cheese Breakfast Quesadillas


2 ounces fresh goat cheese (honey/cranberry walnut goat cheese optional)

1 tortilla

½ sweet, crispy apple (like Fuji), thinly sliced

1 tablespoon honey


Spread thin layer of goat cheese on half of tortilla, top with apple slices, and drizzle with one tablespoon of honey.

Fold tortilla in half.

Place quesadilla in a buttered, heated skillet and cook on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, until tortilla is lightly browned.

I definitely made more than just one of these for those of my family who can eat apples, and we all enjoyed them very much. Honestly, it’s just such an inspired dish! The salty savoriness of the goat cheese—we got regular because there wasn’t any honey or cranberry-infused goat cheese at our closest grocery store, unfortunately—was perfectly balanced by the addition of the sweet honey and the crisp, tart apples in a crunchy, buttery shell. In addition to being super easy and quick to make, this was also a surprisingly filling dish. It definitely makes a great breakfast for those on the go, as Willa prepares it in the book.

Next week, we move from wine country to coastal California, whipping up a sweet treat while attempting to clear another loved one’s name. Do join me!

See alsoCooking the Books: Lemon Curd Killer by Laura Childs

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