A Cup of Holiday Fear: A Bakeshop Mystery
10th in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (September 24, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07PCL3XS8
It’s Christmastime and everyone is heading to Torte, the most cheerful bakery in town. There’s no place like home for the homicide…
Ashland, Oregon, looks as pretty as a postcard this holiday season. The halls are decked, stockings hung, and eyes are all aglow—mostly thanks to the buttered rum. Jules Capshaw and her staff at Torte are busier than ever. . . still, even the town’s most in-demand bakers need to take a break. So Jules invites everyone to celebrate at the local Winchester Inn’s Dickens Feast, a six-course extravaganza with Yorkshire Pudding, Christmas goose, and all the trimmings. But as the weather outside becomes frightful, things inside turn less delightful when one of the guests ends up as dead as Scrooge’s doornail. Now it’s up to Jules and her helpers to make a list of suspects—and check it twice—to try to find out who’s naughty, who’s nice, and who’s guilty of murder…
Things are merry and bright in Ashland, Oregon and people are keeping the elves at Torte busy baking all kinds of holiday treats. They are all looking forward to a little respite by attending the annual Dickens Feast at the Winchester Inn and having others wait on them. The popular six-course feast has been taking place forever and Jules and Helen are excited to share the event with their staff. Lance also joins the party as Jules plus one.
The evening starts with a little snow, great food, and fun entertainment and ends with an unconscious innkeeper and a dead body. Jules and Lance are quickly following the trail of breadcrumbs to help the Professor and Thomas catch the Scrooge that ruined their party with MURDER.
I love this series! Spending the holidays with Jules and everyone in Ashland is a real treat. The author paints the scenes so vividly you can almost feel the snowflakes landing on your face and taste all the cookies, cakes, breads, and lattes served at Torte.
After ten books the characters have become old friends but that doesn’t mean we know everything about them. Lance is having a hard time with the holidays and opens up to Jules. Their friendship just warms my heart. Helen and Doug are blissfully happy and have hearts as big as all outdoors. They open their home for the holidays to be sure no one spends the holidays alone. Doing so lets us get to know Marty a little bit better. We meet Jon and Emma Winchester who own the inn. They have been friends with Helen and her now-deceased husband for years, opening their businesses at the same time. All the characters are interesting, have purpose, and are wonderfully written. They make wish I could meet them all in person.
The mystery was very well-plotted with plenty of suspects and twists. The victim was a real shrew and had ticked plenty of people off. Lance and Jules’s investigation was not only fun to follow but funny at times too. They do make a great team.
What I love most about this series is the way I get as wrapped up in the daily life of the characters as I do in the mystery. I want to know about the Torte staff crushes, Helen and Doug’s plans, that Jules is missing Carlos, all of Lance’s drama, and what baking at Torte. This time after the case was wrapped we go to Helen and Doug’s for Christmas Eve dinner. They have invited several guests. Doug rises to give a little speech that was poignant and brought tears to my eyes. I found great meaning in his message, words I needed to hear personally this time of year. Moving forward a few pages, the tears were still present but a big smile appeared on my face. The ending was absolutely perfect.
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About the Author
Ellie Alexander (aka Kate Dyer-Seeley), 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.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”