The Big Thrill Discusses CASE OF THE BLEUS with Korina Moss
Cheesemongers from across the Northwest have come to the Sonoma Valley for the Northwest Cheese Invitational. As owner of the local cheese shop, Curds & Whey, Willa Bauer loves it. The event showcases custom cheese creations, and it’s the perfect time to gather with old colleagues to honor her former boss, the late and grate cheese legend, Max Dumas. He was famous for journeying into the wild bleu yonder to where he aged his award-winning custom Church Bleu. Only Max knew the recipe and location to his beloved cheese, and many are eager to have these revealed at his will reading.
But instead of naming someone to inherit his cheese and its secrets, Max stuns everyone with one cryptic clue. When a fellow cheesemonger dies under mysterious circumstances–the woman they all thought would get the secrets to Max’s prized possession–everyone falls under suspicion. Willa adores Church Bleu as much as the next cheese connoisseur, but it’s not to die for. Is a killer trying to get away with murder…and the cheese?
Award-winning author Korina Moss recently spent time with The Big Thrill discussing Book #4 in her Cheese Shop Mysteries, CASE OF THE BLEUS.
When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?
My three major supporting characters were created alongside my protagonist, Willa, and became integral in the development of her character. I wanted to represent two types of relationships not seen enough in mysteries. The first is the close-knit intergenerational friendships of people who are unrelated. I also wanted to explore the bond between a man and a woman, both single and of similar age, without any hint of romance or sexual chemistry. I think both types of friendships can be rewarding and challenging and offer insight into Willa’s character.
A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?
I was your average cheese eater, buying the typical cheeses from the grocery store and knowing nothing about them except that I liked them. Once I started going down the rabbit hole of cheese research, I became enthralled by it—its long history, the various processes of making and aging it, and the multitude of factors that go into its texture and flavor. I can understand why cheesemakers and cheesemongers have such a passion for it. Although mystery and community are at the heart of my books, enveloping those stories in the incredible world of cheese is a captivating process.
Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
All the cozy mysteries I’ve ever read, which are numerous—I’ve been a cozy mystery fan for almost thirty years. I wanted to give my readers everything that I love in a favorite cozy, but also offer something fresh.
In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
Readers of my series are invested in the recurring characters, so I hope they’ll be pleased with my characters’ personal growth and evolving relationships with each other. And I always hope they feel a little less intimidated about trying new cheeses. Most of all, I want them to enjoy spending time in my fictional Yarrow Glen and have fun trying to solve the mystery.
What can you share about what you’re working on next?
I’m working on Book #5 in the Cheese Shop Mystery series, which will take place at the Dairy Days festival in a nearby town. Up until now, our Detective Heath has been an important but peripheral character. However, this particular murder takes place outside his jurisdiction, and for the first time, the handsome detective and my protagonist, Willa, will be sleuthing together to solve the case.
KORINA MOSS is the author of the Cheese Shop Mystery series (St. Martin’s Paperbacks) set in the Sonoma Valley, including the Agatha Award winner for Best First Novel, Cheddar Off Dead. Her books have been featured in PARADE Magazine, Women’s World, AARP, and Fresh Fiction. For more information about Korina and her books, and to subscribe to her free monthly newsletter, visit her website at korinamossauthor.com.
CASE OF THE BLEUS with Korina Moss