Title: Another One Bites the Crust (A Bakeshop Mystery) by Ellie Alexander
Genre: Currently #553 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Cozy, Culinary
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Source: St. Martin’s Paperbacks and NetGalley
Title and Cover: Another One Bites the Crust – Cover reflects bakery locale
It’s almost time for the annual Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon, and the bakery Torte is gearing up as a major supplier of Elizabethan-era treats, not only for the cast and crew, but to greet the hordes of tourists who flock to the area for the season event. Unfortunately, Antony of Antony and Cleopatra is found murdered before the curtain can rise, and Jules’s friend, Lance, artistic director of the OSF, had a rather public fight with the actor on the eve of opening night. But actors can be as ego-driven and difficult as Lance and Lance can orchestrate drama all by himself.
Juliet (Jules) Capshaw is protagonist and owner of Torte who employs four university students part-time on staggered schedules to help man the bakery-coffee-lunch shop along with her mother. Apparently, Jules has decided on the bakeshop and Ashland, Oregon against ex-Carlos and her former cruising lifestyle. The bakeshop is ideally located right near the center of activity at the theater in an older shop that she is planning to remodel and is coordinating with her mother regarding the gutting of the basement and expansion of the kitchen.
Her barista, Andy, is an artiste with his lattes. In addition, Sterling and Stephanie help with prep support and Bethany is a strong, steady addition Jules has undertaken to mentor. Lance has been a friend and strong supporter for some time and plays artistic director with proper clothing, affecting speech, and mannerisms to promote his role. He hired the actor playing Antony, but a method actor, the man has taken his part WAY too serious and is set to undermine Lance.
Interwoven thickly with the plot is a constant barrage of latte recipes, instructions for baking, sweet treats, sandwich fixings, soups, and pastries of all kinds and descriptions, including specifically for the festival, Elizabethan era confections.
Along with employee personalities, Jules’s mother is creating drama of her own, planning a wedding. Jules must contend with Richard Lord, the owner of the shop across the street. Thomas, old boyfriend and Ashland detective, becomes involved in the death of Antony, as well as “the Professor,” Jules’s mother’s fiancé. You have to give Ms. Alexander kudos for her variety of well-crafted characters, each with personalities you can learn to appreciate.
It’s a cozy mystery and doesn’t fire off the blocks. I might describe it a character-driven plot more than plot driven if it were not for the constant infusion of recipes and cooking instructions. I suspect foodies will absolutely love her descriptions of the artistry and unique latte infusions, as well as the difference between cheeses and room temperature ingredients and one unique baking idea after another, but I must admit that after the third or fourth start of another baking project, my eyes began to glaze over and not from cream cheese frosty. Also, it bothered me somewhat that one or the other character working a mixing bowl stuck their fingers into the batter to taste it. (‘Cuse me??!! She did what? I don’t care if it is her pinky–it’s a no-no.)
The seventh in the series, it is still standalone with well-developed characters you don’t have to have a long backstory to get to know. The description of the little town set an idyllic bucolic setting. No tripping over four letter words or suggestive sex scenes, it’s clean. A delicious little romp of a foodie book turned into a cozy mystery. Perhaps because of the slow burn through the next delicious haute cuisine sample, the plot just turned to molasses for me. I must admit that I didn’t guess the antagonist–not like he was a character in the forefront, and the ending was kind of an …okay…fade to gray.
I downloaded this ebook from St. Martin’s Paperbacks and NetGalley and totally appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Totally recommended for those who appreciate the inside scoop on custom coffees and unique bakeries with a little mystery.
Rosepoint Publishing: Three-point Five of Five Stars
The Author: (From Amazon Author page) Ellie Alexander, author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series (St. Martin’s Press), is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.
(From Goodreads) The 7th book in the bakeshop series, Another One Bites the Crust, releases in January 2018, and be sure to check out Ellie’s new beer series set in Leavenworth, WA, DEATH ON TAP. ©2017 Virginia Williams