Title: Live and Let Pie (A Bakeshop Mystery Book 9 ) by Ellie Alexander
Genre: Cozy, Culinary, Mystery, Amateur Sleuth
Publisher: St Martin’s Paperbacks
Printed pages: 304
Publication Date: Happy Publication Day, New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2018
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
- ASIN: B07DNBH26W
Title and Cover: Live and Let Pie – Pie theme cover
The heat is on for pastry chef, family business operator, and unlikely sleuth Jules Capshaw. Just when she thought she could enjoy some time away from the kitchen, Jules manages to discover a skull during a picnic by the lake. As if unearthing remains that may be connected to a missing-persons case from the 1960s isn’t enough on her plate, Jules must contend with the unsolved matter of her own marriage while her estranged husband Carlos sails the open seas, awaiting a verdict. Then there’s Jules’s bitter landlord Edgar, who is intent on making a sweet deal on a vacant lot down the block from Torte—until he turns up dead. If only Jules could find a recipe that would let her bake her cake and eat it, too…
This is my second Baking Shop Mystery (albeit not in order and therefore a good point for being a standalone book). Juliet (Jules) Capshaw is protagonist and co-owner (with her mother) of Torte. The quaint bake-coffee-lunch shop in Ashland, Oregon, has the three “L’s” being in the heart of the main historic district but is currently under a major renovation, almost finished, which will greatly expand (or double?) their current square feet. It also demands new hires as the part-time employees, mostly OSU students, are stretched as far as they can go.
Jules is wrestling with the idea of estranged hubby Carlos, who is still enjoying the cruising lifestyle, coming to Ashland to settle down with her. Now because her mother has remarried (to a man they call “the professor,” they are out looking for potential properties for her mother when Jules witnesses the recovery of a skull connected to a decades-old murder. There is also a very desirable lot that becomes a major bone of contention and eventually leads to a second murder. (Ashland must be a hotbed of intrigue.)
The new hires must mesh well with Jules employees, and there is an immediate clash between her resident barista and the new gal, who is expertly trained but trying not to make waves. The support characters are very well developed, and it is easy to engage with them and enjoy the love of their work, each a different spectrum but necessary ingredient to the success of the bakeshop.
The background is busy with small sub-plots, her mother’s possible new home, Edgar and his desirable lot promised to several interested parties, her marriage, and the two bickering baristas. Jules is a subtle sleuth, but she steadily gains information from her former would-be boyfriend, Thomas, local police person and murder insider info contact along with assistance from Lance, a character unto himself. The description of the renovation (main level) sounded a bit cramped, but they are opening the basement for expansion of the kitchen (with a few more private tables) and they needed inside stairs. But description of the stairs with loads of foodstuffs didn’t sound all that convenient.
Now here is my problem, as it was with the previous book I read–over the top detailed descriptions of baking instructions. Derailed the plot and turned the book into a foodie paradise and still with all the crafting descriptions, recipes at the end of the book. Yes, so easy to follow and sounds so delightful you can smell the delectable innovations. But…interrupts the well-plotted mystery, which, again, has taken a backseat. Stuff I didn’t know but interesting is included, “A concrete (or frozen custard) is a smooth, silkier version of ice cream.” Then who in the world would have named it “concrete?” Also, I wonder about a bakeshop with a liquor license (fine wines and craft beers?) Yes, I’m probably over-thinking it. After the beer and wine, some expresso? Maybe trying for too much? Not a bakery per se anymore. Bistro?
I downloaded this uncorrected digital galley from St. Martin’s Paperbacks and NetGalley and appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Would I read another? Oh yes, because at this point, I have to know how the stair traffic works and now I’m thinking supper ideas–also I really do love Ashland. Totally recommended for those who appreciate the inside scoop on uniquely crafted custom coffees and bakeries with much more to offer than fluffernutters.
Rosepoint Publishing: Three-point Five of Five Stars
The Author: Ellie Alexander, author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series and the Sloan Krause Mysteries (St. Martin’s Press), is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing 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.
Find out more about Ellie and her books by visiting her here:
©2018 V Williams