by Cynthia Chow
& Ellie Alexander
This week we have a review of another fun food mystery, Another One Bites the Crust: A Bakeshop Mystery by Ellie Alexander, and we have a fun Valentine’s Day Food guest post and recipe from Ellie! Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Another One Bites the Crust, and a link to purchase it from Amazon and an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.
Another One Bites the Crust: A Bakeshop Mystery by Ellie Alexander
Review by Cynthia Chow
Taking place not long after the working vacation on a cruise depicted in A Crime of Passion Fruit, bakeshop owner Jules Capshaw is adjusting back to life running Torte and its expansion into the basement below. The Elizabethan-themed town of Ashland, Oregon, embraces the Bard as an inspiration to attract tourists, but most of the antics seem to be occurring behind-the-scenes. Jules is seeing firsthand the mental spiraling of her friend Lance Rosseau, the artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, whose upcoming production is the tragic Antony and Cleopatra.
Desperate to hold onto his position and fearing that the board plans to remove him, Lance enlists Torte into catering an over-the-top Shakespearean dessert buffet to go along with his ostentatious preseason party. In an act that has Jules concerned about his stability, Lance physically assaults his method-acting lead, calling him untalented and desperate for attention. Jules wonders if it isn’t an instance of the pot calling the kettle black, as an hysterical Lance arrives at her door holding a prop knife and claiming to have found Antony’s dead body.
When police are unable to find a corpse, even Jules must ponder whether it was all a publicity stunt. Lance may be known for his dramatic attention-seeking acts, and she has to admit that the news will attract a plethora of media attention. As the truth slowly unfolds, Jules is forced to help her friend and once again finds herself in the middle of a police investigation. Even if he weren’t already in the midst of wedding plans to Jules’ widowed mother, the Professor, and lead detective, recuses himself due to possible personal biases. His replacement is by-the-book and not accustomed to Ashland’s informality, which not only has everyone in everyone else’s business, but keeps a prisoner “jailed” in an unused office with Jules delivering Torte treats.
What makes this series so enjoyable is how it perfectly balances the small-town vibe and details with a realistic police investigation. Perhaps it is due to her soon-to-be-father-in-law and an ex-boyfriend-but-interested-in-being-current-boyfriend both being Ashland detectives, but Jules behaves rationally and attempts to follow the law. Details of astoundingly delicious savory and sweet delicacies, along with the quirky dilemmas of her staff, are interwoven into the plot without slowing down the pace or the plot.
Characters introduced early in the series continue to be developed, and while new readers will have no trouble catching up long-time fans will be rewarded by seeing the lives of their favorite residents progress. Jules is realizing that she must make a decision in her personal life, even if one has become glaringly clear. Ashland truly is where she feels most at home, and with a lead up to further intrigue, readers will anticipate where Jules’s life goes next.
Love and Food on Valentine’s Day
by Ellie Alexander
“If food be the music of love, play on.” ~ William Shakespeare
February is the month of love and in my opinion, there’s no greater love language than that expressed with a beautiful flaky pastry, or a magnificent eight-layer chocolate hazelnut cake with mocha buttercream and apricot preserves. In my Bakeshop Mystery series Juliet Montague Capshaw, a romantic pastry chef, spends her days crafting light-as-air soufflés and dainty petit fours in her family bakeshop, Torte, while sometimes stumbling upon murder.
When Juliet (but please call her Jules) returned to her hometown of Ashland, Oregon to heal her broken heart she never intended to fall in love again. But she’s fallen hard for her little hamlet tucked into the Siskiyou Mountains. Ashland is home to an eclectic group of actors, playwrights, artists, and adventure seekers of all kinds. Its sun-drench skies, sepia toned hillsides, and Elizabethan architecture make it an ideal getaway and a dreamy spot to cocoon yourself in.
Torte is more than a bakeshop. It’s a gathering space for the community. Visitors from around the globe come to take in a production of Shakespeare under the stars at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and treat themselves to one of Torte’s famed coconut cream tarts and almond lattes. Everyone who walks through the bakeshop’s front door is treated like royalty. That is especially true on Valentine’s Day.
For the love-infused holiday, Jules is creating her signature red velvet cake. The luscious cake is the perfect slice to share with your sweetheart. Its blood-red chocolate with velvety layers of whipped vanilla buttercream, are sure to make your taste buds swoon. This deep, dark beauty has hints of mystery and will leave you wanting more. Fair warning, you might start seeing stars after one bite.
If you want to impress your amour this Valentine’s Day here is Jules’s recipe for love:
1. Handwrite a Shakespearean sonnet on a creamy note card.
2. Serve a slice of red velvet cake.
3. Pop open a bottle of something bubbly.
4. Light a candle.
5. Gaze into each other’s eyes and let the red velvet love affair begin.
Jules’s Red Velvet Cake
1 ½ cup sugar
½ cup butter
2 oz. red food coloring
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 ½ cup flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, food coloring, vanilla, salt, and cocoa powder. Once incorporated slowly add flour and buttermilk—alternating between the two as you beat the batter. Fold in baking soda and vinegar. Bake in eight-inch greased cake pans for thirty minutes. Cool. Cut in half crosswise to frost.
6 tablespoons flour
1 cup water
2 sticks butter (1 cup)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cook the flour and water on medium high heat on the stove, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until it turns opaque. Set aside to cool.
Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixer. Add cooled flour paste and beat until light and fluffy. Frost in four equal layers.
To enter to win a copy of Another One Bites the Crust, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “crust,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 17, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section.
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Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.
Love the skull in the pie crust – thanks for offering to us!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
I love this title and the red velvet cake recipe is just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Great review! Sounds amazing! I love that the characters name is Jules! My name is Julie but anyone that knows me calls me Jules! I cant wait to read and to try the recipe! Thank you for sharing!!
Now c’mon, a skull in a pie crust would only work if it were a beef pie.
I’d love to read this–ty for the giveaway. firstname.lastname@example.org
Sounds like a great read. Happy Valentine’s Day. Thanks for the chance. sclickner at juno dot com
Looks delicious! kristilewis dot lrc at gmail dot com
I love red velvet anything! Another One Bites The Crust has been on TBR list ever since it came out. Would love to read it.
Thank you for the chance to win a copy of this cozy, it sounds like another winner from Ellie.
wfnren at aol dot com
I love the whole gang at Torte and all the supporting characters in the books. I look forward to getting to know Lance better in this one. It sounds really juicy. The Red Velvet Cake sounds heavenly! Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Another One Bites The Crust. manatee717-letters(at)yahoo(dot)com
I’ve been reading this series and need
to keep up. Sounds like a lot of
twists in the plot. thanks for
the chance to stay current.
Love this series.
Love the look of the red velvet cake. This is an awesome series. Can’t wait to read “Another One Bites the Crust”.
We have a winner!