"Up to No Gouda" By Linda Reilly: Review/Giveaway/Valentine's Day Guest Post

by Sandra Murphy & Linda Reilly

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it. We also have a fun Valentine's Day Guest Post by Linda.

Up to No Gouda: A Grilled Cheese Mystery by Linda Reilly

Review by Sandra Murphy

Carly Hale is back in her hometown of Balsam Dell after the death of her husband. With the insurance money, she’s started her own grilled cheese restaurant. What sounds like a one note eatery is expanded with all the different kinds of cheese and the combination sandwiches she and her employee, Grant, can dream up. Suzanne is the main server. 

 Things were going well until Lyle bought the building in a foreclosure sale. He dropped by to tell Carly she’s got to be out in a matter of weeks because a new boutique is going in. The boutique’s owner, none other than the upstairs tenant and Lyle’s girlfriend. 

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Image Source Poisoned Pen Press
When Carly arrives at work the next morning, she finds the girlfriend distraught. Lyle’s body is next to the dumpster. 

The girlfriend is a suspect, but then so is Carly because of the eviction and Suzanne because she threatened Lyle would get what was coming to him, plus the residents of a mobile home park Lyle owned, and who knows how many others. The motive for Suzanne is weak until the police find out Lyle got Suzanne’s husband involved on the losing side of high stakes gambling. 

Carly has a little personal anxiety going on, too. Her best friend from school married Lyle despite Carly’s warning. They divorced, but the women hadn’t spoken since. Then there’s Ari, a regular customer at the shop. Carly is attracted to him, but guilty that it’s only been two years since her husband’s death and she’s also not sure she’s reading the signs right. Is Ari interested in her too or just being flirty? 

Carly doesn’t take a lot of risks, but does get involved where she shouldn’t at times. With the “help” of Don, the local reporter, she might just solve the case after all.

There are recipes at the back of the book for the sandwiches Carly makes like the Party Havarti, Smoky Steals the Bacon, Grant’s Vermont Jammin’ along with a pair of tips for a successful grilled cheese.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She writes about eco-friendly topics, pets and wildlife for magazines and reviews mysteries and thrillers for KRL. A collection of her short stories, published by Untreed Reads, From Hay to Eternity: Ten Tales of Crime and Deception can be found at all the usual outlets. Each one is a little weird and all have a twist you won't see coming.

By Any Other Name…

By Linda Reilly, author of the Grilled Cheese Mystery series

O, be some other name!

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet…

Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

Those words, uttered by Juliet to her beloved Romeo, reflected her burning desire for Romeo to be anything but a “Montague”—the name of her family’s mortal enemy. Tis but thy name that is my enemy…

Juliet was, of course, referring to Romeo’s surname, but one of the tasks I face every time I begin writing a new story is what given names to assign to my characters. While it might seem a simple thing, for me it’s a huge challenge—one that requires a lot of brainstorming. Especially if the story is the launch point of a new series, that name has to appeal to readers for at least another installment, and perhaps many more, fingers crossed.

Linda Reilly
Years ago, I bought two of those itty-bitty “baby name” booklets you see at grocery store checkouts. I’ve flipped through the pages of both books dozens of times, looking for the perfect names for my characters. One of the names that appears in both books is “Talia,” a name described as “Greek; blooming.” Since the main character in my Deep Fried mysteries is of Greek and Italian heritage, I thought it was perfect for her. Not only was it easy to pronounce, but the word talia forms the central part of the word Italian. And thus, Talia Marby was born.

Right around the time I was flirting with the idea of writing a Cat Lady mystery series, the movie Dr. Zhivago aired on TV. The name of Dr. Zhivago’s love interest was Lara—a simple but lovely name, in my opinion. My “baby name” books tell me that the name means “famous,” but my Lara, a watercolor artist and cat rescuer, is anything but. I chose that name anyway, for its simplicity and for the way it looks in print. I’ve never regretted the decision.

When I began writing my Grilled Cheese mysteries (my favorite of the bunch!), I agonized over what to name my main character. I wanted it to reflect “small town Vermont” and still have wide appeal. I toyed with the name “Marnie,” of Alfred Hitchcock fame, but somehow it felt like a bad fit. I couldn’t picture Marnie operating a grilled cheese eatery. I asked readers for suggestions, and they came up with some terrific ideas. Ultimately, I chose the name “Carly.” Carly Hale is now the owner of Carly’s Grilled Cheese Eatery, and she’s also an amateur sleuth. Her first (but not her last!) venture into crime-solving is described in Up To No Gouda.

Carly has a suggestion for treating your own special person on Valentine’s Day—whether it be your sweetheart, your mom, or your elderly neighbor next door. Using a set of heart-shaped cookie cutters, cut two large hearts from two slices of bread and stuff with whatever cheese you like. (Carly uses shredded cheese because it melts faster, but that’s entirely up to you.) Coat the outer sides with butter and sprinkle parmesan cheese over the butter, then set the sandwich in a frying pan. Keep the heat on low so that the cheese will melt. Grill both sides until golden. Tip: When preparing the sandwiches, cut the bread with the cookie cutters first, then grill as you normally would. As a side dish, prepare a cup or bowl of tomato soup, and float a few toasted or broiled heart-shaped croutons on top. Carly sprinkles bits of shredded orange cheese atop the hearts before toasting them under the broiler, but you can you use any cheese you wish.  

To enter to win a copy of Up to No Gouda, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "gouda,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 12, 2022. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. BE AWARE THAT DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS THERE MAY BE A DELAY IN SHIPPING THE WINNING BOOK. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Armed with a degree in Criminal Justice, Linda Reilly once contemplated a career in law enforcement. But life took a twist, and instead she found her niche in real estate closings and title examinations, where the dusty tomes in the Registry of Deeds enticed her into solving mysteries of a different sort. A dyed-in-the-wool New Englander, Linda lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband and cats. When she’s not pounding away at her keyboard, she can usually be found prowling the shelves of a local bookstore or library hunting for a new cozy adventure.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds like a great new cozy and with such yummy sounding cheesy recipes... Count me in! I would love a chance to win a copy. Claire.denning.11 at gmail dot com

  2. Sounds like a great new series.

  3. Up to No Gouda: A Grilled Cheese Mystery by Linda Reilly sounds like a comfy homestyle read that I would enjoy.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  4. This sounds so good and thanks for the Valentine sandwich idea. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

  5. Can't go wrong with grilled cheese sandwiches.
    Have feet of snow on the ground - one would
    be good right about now. Sounds like a good
    read. thanks txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  6. Grilled cheese and bacon is my favorite! Looking forward to reading Up to no Gouda! Thanks for the chance to win! Luvs2read4fun@gmail.com

  7. Grilled cheese and bacon is my favorite! Looking forward to reading Up To No Gouda! Thanks for the chance to win! luvs2read4fun@gmail.com

  8. I've been hearing a lot about this one, sounds good! tWarner419@aol.com

  9. SO excited about this new series and this first book which has wonderful reviews! Looking forward to meeting Carly and the towns people in Vermont and eating a good grilled cheese sandwich while solving a twists and turns mystery! oh_bother88@hotmail.com

  10. I would love to read this! Grilled cheese is a comfort food for me for sure! Congrats on the start of a new series! jeaniedannheim (at) ymail (dot) com


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