Mocha, She Wrote: A Bakeshop Mystery
13th in Series
Setting – Oregon
Publisher : St. Martin’s Paperbacks (June 29, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback : 320 pages
ISBN-10 : 1250789427
ISBN-13 : 978-1250789426
Kindle ASIN : B08FZBWPYS
When a barista competition comes to town, Torte’s favorite pastry chef finds herself sleuthing once again—in the next installment of Ellie Alexander’s beloved Bakeshop Mystery Series, Mocha, She Wrote!
Summer has ushered in a new season in the charming hamlet of Ashland, Oregon. Torte is bustling with tourists taking in star-drenched shows at the Elizabethan, setting out to hike in the surrounding Siskiyou Mountains, and sampling the bakeshop’s summer lineup of raspberry lemon tarts and mint mojito cold brews. Jules and the team are buzzing with excitement when they learn that Andy, Torte’s head barista, has been selected to compete in the West Coast Barista Cup.
The prestigious competition draws coffee aficionados from up and down the coast to Ashland. The winner will not only claim to be best-in-brew, but also be awarded a hefty cash prize. Andy’s nervous about his chances, but Jules is confident that her star barista will shine. However, things take a grim turn when head judge Benson Vargas spits out Andy’s first offering, claiming it to be the worst thing to ever touch his lips—and hours later, is found dead clutching Andy’s creamy latte. Suddenly Torte’s favorite barista becomes the number one suspect. There’s no roast for the weary. Jules will have to sleuth out whodunit to clear Andy’s name and catch a killer before she ends up with one foot in the grounds.
It’s summertime and an exciting event is coming to Ashland, Oregon. The West Coast Barista Cup is about to start and Torte’s own Barista Extraordinaire Andy will be competing in the prestigious competition. The Best-in-Brew title is rewarding in itself but the winner also receives a nice cash prize too. The entire Torte staff plans to take turns supporting Andy with Jules attending all the events to cheer him on.
Andy gets a bit of a rough start but quickly finds his footing right up until head judge Benson Vargas spits out Andy’s signature coffee creation. He rips into Andy saying it is the worst he has ever tasted. The head judge’s drink is clearly different from the other judge’s coffee. Determined to win the judge over he brews another latte and vows to get it to the judge. Hours later Benson Vargas is dead and it appears that he is holding Andy’s second effort. This means Andy is suspect #1 but he is allowed to continue to compete. Jules, with a little assistance from Lance, vows to find out what really happened and prove what she already knows, Andy is innocent and someone else is brewing up trouble.
I was so happy to see Andy featured in Mocha, She Wrote. This storyline has been building for a while because Andy is really a genius at blending up some truly terrific coffee drinks, He really knows his flavors and is well known in the area for his expertise. I hated to see him high on the suspect list but we all knew he was innocent of the crime. The camaraderie that has been built by the characters of the Bakeshop Mysteries is heartwarming. With the exception of one character who is such a sad sack, the people within these books really care about each other and that was clearly seen in this story. When I load these books up on my Kindle I feel like I am checking in on old friends and know it is time to get comfortable, and enjoy my visit.
I am a huge fan of cooking competition shows on television so I loved the barista cup theme of this story. The judges for the competition seemed true to life. You know there is always one boisterous judge with a differing opinion. Benson Vargas truly fit that bill. He rubbed many people the wrong way and now pushed someone to kill.
Ms. Alexander has given readers a well-plotted mystery with a roomful of suspects. Everyone knew Andy was innocent but police including the Professor have to follow the evidence. But he is smart enough to trust Jules eyes and ears. Sabotage and twists run rampant and Jules gets a little diverted at one point. As she and Lance try to pare down the suspects they find it is not an easy task. I had a couple of theories of my own and one turned out to be correct as proven with a very exciting climax to the mystery.
The author’s descriptive voice continues to bring each location to life. There have been some changes to Torte that have been very well received. I love the new area and can easily picture myself enjoying a pastry and one of Andy’s concoctions and people watching. The people in the kitchen, and all the people who find their way into this amazing place. For Mocha, She Wrote, she had to create the perfect setup in a local space. Each contestant’s station, the judge’s table, and the audience, some contenders have their own groupies, were all clear in my mind.
Mocha, She Wrote is a delightful addition to this series. I really liked this story and can tell you it was A Perfect Escape. The next book in this series, Bake, Borrow, and Steal will be released on December 28.
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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.
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.”