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.