Guest Chick: Linda Reilly

I met Linda when I was invited to join (along with Ellen) the Cozy Mystery Crew group over on Facebook. I’ve been a fan ever since. If you haven’t read her new Grilled Cheese mysteries, heat a can of tomato soup and grill up a sandwich of your own. Trust me on this … if you didn’t want one before you started reading, you will crave one in short order.

Thank you, Becky, for inviting me to return here as a Guest Chick! I had such a blast the last time that I’m back for more!

When I began plotting No Parm No Foul, my second Grilled Cheese mystery, I’d already decided to set the story in late October. Not only do I love the Halloween season (a no-pressure holiday in my humble opinion), but the idea of using a “monster” to propel the story held a definite appeal.

I was about fifteen when I started watching “monster” movies on television. I gobbled them up like so much candy corn. Back then, my standard three were the original versions of The Wolf Man, Frankenstein, and my favorite—Dracula.

The Wolf Man, portrayed so poignantly by Lon Chaney, Jr., is still one of my faves. Oh, how I lamented over that poor creature’s predicament as he transformed from the kindly Larry Talbot to a hairy, dangerous beast. Did he bear any resemblance to a real wolf? No, not for a minute. But viewers like me could suspend disbelief because the movie was so thoroughly entertaining.

Then there was Frankenstein, reviled and rejected by the villagers because of his horrific appearance. By then I’d already read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and I knew the monster’s plight was not at all the way it was portrayed in that movie. The creature was seeking what most of us want in life—love and acceptance. And yet, the movie’s entertainment value is still undeniable.

It was the most evil of the three—Dracula—who fascinated me the most. Not an ounce of humanity did this figure possess, and I rejoiced when he crumbled into dust. I didn’t read Bram Stoker’s novel until I was in my twenties, but elements of it have always stayed with me. Stoker’s writing is so gorgeously evocative that even now I occasionally flip through the pages and read some of the passages. At the end, after the vampire has been vanquished, Stoker writes: “The Castle of Dracula now stood out against the red sky, and every stone of its broken battlements was articulated against the light of the setting sun.”

Is there a monster in No Parm No Foul? There is, but it’s an all too human one. Main character Carly Hale wears a “lady vampire” dress to the town’s annual Scary-Licious Smorgasbord competition—an ensemble made from pale gray satin with a filmy cape that swirls around her like bat wings. Carly’s beau, Ari Mitchell, dons his own vampire cape, and the two make a charming undead couple. But when Carly’s culinary nemesis is found in his sandwich shop, a steak knife jutting from his heart, their choice of costumes turns out to be a curse they couldn’t have foreseen.

If you’d like a sample of Carly’s delicious fare, stop by her grilled cheese eatery for a real treat. Who knows? You might just meet a monster dressed in human clothing!

How about you—do you have any favorite movie monsters? Did you feel empathy for any of them?

After a long hot summer in Balsam Dell, Carly Hale is ready for crisp Vermont weather and gourmet grilled cheeses at her Grilled Cheese Eatery. And the upcoming Halloween food competition is the perfect way to impress the locals. Unfortunately, Ferris Menard, the owner of Sub-a-Dub-Sub, is nursing a serious grudge against her. Two days before the competition, one of Carly’s employees quit his part-time gig at Menard’s sub shop, sending Menard into a serious snit. In a confrontation at the eatery, Menard accused Carly of sabotage and vowed to bring her down. When Menard’s body is found in his kitchen the morning after the competition, a steak knife sticking out of his heart, the police aim the finger of guilt directly at Carly. But Menard had a slew of enemies, and if Carly doesn’t figure out which one is the culprit, she might find herself—or someone she cares about—serving grilled cheese sandwiches under lock and brie . . .

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.






33 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Linda Reilly

  1. Shelly’s Frankenstein got my vote — one misunderstood fellow who deserved better. His role in many films inspired my desk plaque: Dr. Fergenstein.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, I do too. Don’t you love those fake bats that hover in the oversized window? I could watch that movie right now!


  2. My favorite “monster” isn’t from a movie, but rather from Broadway. The character Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) in “Wicked” begs the question, “Are people born wicked or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?” I actually try to think about that when I find myself passing judgment on someone. She is a multi-layered and fascinating character … one I very much empathize with.

    Good luck with the new book, Linda!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Welcome to Chicks, Linda, from a fellow 603-er! This series sounds DELISH–on my “Halloween” cozy read list now. I haven’t watched a lot of monster movies, so…I vote for the Grinch! Another misunderstood creature. The Abominable Snowman thing from Rudolph, though? I never bought his “transformation” after the tooth extraction.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of my faves is Gorgo, a Godzilla-type dinomonster who had the misfortune to be captured and displayed in a London zoo. What the stupid humans did not know however, is that the 100-foot tall creature was a juvenile and that Mama would come a’callin’…

    Hope they just eat up your new book, Linda!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m not a fan of truly scary books or movies, as they tend to give me nightmares. (I remember reading Dracula in my early 20s and being so frightened that I couldn’t sleep at night.) But I do love American Werewolf in London, for its comedy element–though it is also a bit scary!

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks again, Linda! Grilled cheese is one of my favs–I even have some grilled cheese sandwich socks.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m a sucker for grilled cheese, too, Leslie. So much yum! And your comment about being scared is similar to mine. Not a big fan of the scary, but I love Shaun of the Dead and I just discovered the series “Wellington Paranormal” on HBO Max. It’s a funny mockumentary playing off the X-Files. The New Zealand accent takes a bit of getting used to, but you might like it as much as I do!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Dracula is truly a frightening creature–definitely not the romantic he’s sometimes portrayed as. I never saw American Werewolf in London, but it sounds like a fun scare! Thanks so much for stopping by, Leslie. I’ll bet your grilled cheese socks are adorable ~

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Dracula is truly a frightening creature–definitely not the romantic he’s sometimes portrayed as. I never saw American Werewolf in London, but it sounds like a fun scare! Thanks so much for stopping by, Leslie. I’ll bet your grilled cheese socks are adorable ~


  6. I’ve not been a big monster movie person, at least as far as the classic monsters go. I did read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in high school, and I still love it. No movie has come close to capturing the allegory of the story.

    I do enjoy some modern “monster” movies – slashers. (I know, this cozy guy enjoys some slasher movies). My favorite is the Scream franchise, and those killers turn out to be all too real. I also enjoy some of the movies in the Halloween franchise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Like you, I read Jekyll and Hyde in high school. You’re right when you say no movie has come close to capturing the essence of the story. Those Halloween movies seriously creep me out! Another monster I didn’t mention is the Mummy. I still love the 1959 version of that one. I wait for it to come on TV every October.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m not a big scary movie person, although I did watch quite a few when younger–I blame my family!

    My empathy extends to Beast from Beauty & the Beast and also the Phantom of the Opera (not truly a monster, though).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So your family loved scary movies! Beast and Phanton definitely deserve empathy. Thank you for stopping by, Jennifer!


  8. Linda, thank you so much for visiting! I love your choice of monsters. I’m not a big fan of horror movies but I love the oldies like you’ve mentioned. I think Dracula is the one who sticks with me. He’s, I don’t know… the ultimate bad boy? Sexy but oh so dangerous!


    1. Totally! Stoker’s Dracula, in my opinion, wasn’t portrayed as sexy–more like mesmerizing with those horrible red eyes. Thanks for stopping by, Ellen!


    2. Totally! In my humble opinion, Stoker portrayed Dracula not as sexy, but more like mesmerizing…with those terrible red eyes. Thanks for stopping by, Ellen!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I read Dracula in a college class called “Psychoanalytic and Myth Criticism.” It was…interesting. All the women’s fault, not Dracula’s, of course, thanks to their repressed fantasy lives. Umm…ok.


  9. Frankenstein! Actually, I love most any movie with Boris Karloff. And I love grilled cheese sandwiches! Congrats on the new release, Linda!!


  10. Thank you so much for hanging out with the Chicks, Linda!

    I love the classic monster movies–and a good multidimensional villain, which can inspire a lot of empathy. I’m not sure if I have a favorite movie monster, but I do have questions about The Blob. Mostly “what?” “why?” and “how?”.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s