Bake, Borrow, and Steal: A Bakeshop Mystery
14th in Series
Setting – Oregon
St. Martin’s Paperbacks (December 28, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback : 288 pages
ISBN-10 : 1250789443
ISBN-13 : 978-1250789440
Kindle ASIN : B097L3YJ98
Ellie Alexander’s Bake, Borrow, and Steal, the most delicious installment yet in the Bakeshop Series set in Ashland, Oregon!
As the autumnal hues of November fall over the Shakespearean hamlet of Ashland, Oregon, Jules and her team at Torte are working on their biggest event ever. They’ve been invited to create chocolate showpieces for the gala opening of a new exhibit, Shakespeare’s Lost Pages at SOMA. The museum, located on the campus of Southern Oregon University, is getting ready to unveil the Bard’s lost manuscript, Double Falsehood, which is being touted as the greatest artistic discovery of modern times. In addition to molding luscious, silky chocolate into magnificent structures, Torte will be serving an authentic Elizabethan feast straight from the pages of a sixteenth-century cookbook featuring Lardy cakes, Frangipane tarts, and jellies with chestnut cream.
Jules has underestimated the amount of work required to pull off such a culinary feat. She finds herself in the strange position of feeling frazzled and stressed as the day of the gala approaches. However, her team rallies around her, and once the massive works of chocolate art are safely installed at the museum, she can finally let out a sigh of relief and revel in the excitement of the grand celebration. But her relief is short-lived. Right before the unveiling, news quickly begins to spread that Shakespeare’s lost manuscript is missing. Not only that, but the security guard tasked with keeping the priceless artifact safe has been killed. Is this a case of a heist gone terribly wrong? Or could it be that a killer is lurking in the museum archives?
We return to Ashland, Oregon at what should be a slow time at Torte but Jules and the Torte team are preparing for a big event. The museum at the local college had landed the huge honor of unveiling Shakespeare’s lost manuscript, Double Falsehood to the public. Important people from up and down the west coast will be attending and Torte will be serving them a feast of food from the Elizabethan era. They are also making some amazing chocolate sculptures to add to the exhibit.
But the Shakespeare’s Lost Pages at SOMA reveal does not go as planned. Just before the doors are supposed to open an eagle eye noticed the pages on display are fake and the real lost manuscript has been stolen. A search is immediately started and a museum employee is found badly injured in the basement and a security guard is killed. Lance immediately decides he and Jules can find the missing artifact and the thief. The Professor also asks her to keep her eyes and ears open. She just hopes she doesn’t become the killer’s next missing artifact.
All my favorite characters are back and have time to shine within these pages. I am so happy that Juliet and Carlos are settling in their lives off the cruise ship. Carlos works so well with everyone and is such a great mentor. I think he brings out the best in Jules too giving her the confidence to take on big events like the one at the museum. Rosa plays a bigger role in this story because her uncle Javier is the director of the museum and is in charge of organizing the unveiling event. Every time I read a book in this series I enjoy the way everyone at Torte is like family. They support each other, cheer them on or pick them up depending on the situation. All are very well-developed with room to continue to evolve as the series continues.
Ms. Alexander also introduces readers to new characters with the museum staff. It is a small group but they all play vital places in the plot. Suspects all, we get to know them just well enough not trust any of them. The plot is filled with twists and turns but the true guilty party was evident to us much sooner than it was to those in the book. I really enjoyed the way the reveal played out. The author’s detailed descriptions put me right there in the moment.
Again, the food details had me drooling. I really wish Torte was a real place and I could just pop in to have one of Andy’s special coffees, a cup of Sterling’s soups, a slice of Marty’s bread, and one of Bethany’s brownies. Of course, anything Jules baked up would be wonderful too.
Bake, Borrow, and Steal is a marvelous addition to this series. It can be read as a stand-alone but I encourage you to read the series from the start to truly enjoy these remarkable characters.
Now the waiting begins, Donut Disturb will be released on June 28. I see love will be in bloom. I can’t wait!
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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.”