Fudge and Jury
by Elle Alexander
Series: A Bakeshop Mystery (Book 5)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks (January 3, 2017)
Welcome to Torte–a friendly, small-town family bakery where the pastries are delicious…and, now, suspicious.
It’s almost spring in Ashland, Oregon, and the town is preparing for the Shakespeare and the annual Chocolate Festival. Business is cookin’ at Torte, and the store is expanding as Jules’ team whips up crèpes filled with mascarpone cheese and dark chocolate. Torte stands a chance of being this year’s confectionery belle of the ball! Life couldn’t be sweeter—unless murder taints the batter.
Evan Rowe, of Confections Couture, makes a chocolate fountain that would put Willy Wonka to shame, and his truffles are to die for—literally? Yes, the world-renowned chocolatier has just turned up dead…right after sampling a slice of Jules’ decadent four-layer chocolate cake. Now all eyes are on Jules as she tries to find the mysterious ingredient in her own recipe. Can she sift out the truth before another contestant bites the buttercream?
Juliet, you are the worst liar on the planet. I know exactly what you’re thinking and I assure you that I’m thinking the same thing. Evan was clearly hunted down and killed by a crafty baker. Don’t try to pretend that you’re not as delighted as I am…
She reminded me of a writer who was a regular at Torte. He brings his laptop and plants himself by the front windows while he writes and drinks coffee by the gallon. Andy once asked if we should cut him off because customers around him were complaining that the floor was shaking so much that they thought there was an earthquake.
Mom had made a point of trying to fatten me up, offering me buttery scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam and sausage rolls. She claimed that having a pastry chef who looked like a skeleton was bad for business.
The gyro smelled so good that I would have eaten it off the floor, but I agreed to Lance’s request and tossed the cardboard container back in the bag.
Fudge and Jury is book number five of a six book series – although it had strong enough legs to stand on its own. I had not read the previous books and had no difficulty following the story. As the plot revolves around a chocolate festival and features a bakery owner who thoroughly describes her baking process and tasting of her treats, this story would be a mystery loving gourmand’s highest level of heaven or a dieter’s lowest level of hell, I was coveting her confections the entire time I was reading. Written in the first person POV of a somewhat spacey/daydream-prone baker, the story was packed with quirky characters yet was a bit slower paced than I am used to. However, I was far from cracking the inventive murder mystery. The victim was an esteemed chef who died moments before the chocolate festival was to begin, and being that he was a rather atrocious blowhard, there was no shortage of suspects. It looked like someone might just get away with the perfect murder.
About Ellie Alexander
Ellie Alexander writes the bestselling Bakeshop Mystery series for St. Martin’s Press, set in the Shakespearean town of Ashland, Oregon and featuring a romantic, artisan pastry chef, Juliet Montague Capshaw.
Ellie 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.