Welcome to Torte—a friendly, small-town family bake shop where the treats are so good that, sometimes, it’s criminal…After graduating from culinary school, Juliet Capshaw returns to her quaint hometown of Ashland, Oregon, to heal a broken heart and help her mom at the family bakery. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is bringing in lots of tourists looking for some crumpets to go with their heroic couplets. But when one of Torte’s customers turns up dead, there’s much ado about murder…
The victim is Nancy Hudson, the festival’s newest board member. A modern-day Lady Macbeth, Nancy has given more than a few actors and artists enough reasons to kill her…but still. The silver lining? Jules’s high school sweetheart, Thomas, is the investigator on the case. His flirtations are as delicious as ever, and Jules can’t help but want to have her cake and eat it too. But will she have her just desserts? Murder might be bad for business, but love is the sweetest treat of all…
Welcome to my blog tour stop for Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander. This is a cozy mystery that released December 30th.
Be sure to check out the schedule for the list of reviews, interviews and guest posts by the author! The tour starts January 5th and runs through the 16th.
Juliet Capshaw (Jules) has come back home from years at sea, traveling the world baking in a cruise ship. Her sudden return to her Shakespearean obsessed town of Torte is a mystery. She expects the gossip, after all, it's a small town but she is content enough to bake once again along side her mother who she learns might be keeping secrets from her. Before Jules can dive in the mystery that is her mother, the dead body of hated Nancy Hudson is found and she's caught up in an investigation to find out who the killer is. She finds it her personal mission to find the killer, but with so many people wanting Nancy dead - who isn't a suspect?
I've never read a cozy mystery before so this was a new experience for me. This is exactly what I felt a cozy mystery was going to be dramatic, a book I can read wrapped around blankets, and most importantly descriptions of food! The only cozy mysteries I know of have always had something to do with food - specifically baking. You do not know how excited I was after all the delicious descriptions of baked goods and the process of making them to find at the end a good amount of recipes in the last pages of the book. Meet Your Baker will have your mouth-watering or at least your stomach grumbling with lust over the food in this book.
The mystery was not as straightforward as I thought it would be. First of all, I hadn't read the summary for a while so I didn't realize they already announced who was going to get murdered. As soon as Nancy walked into Torte I knew this girl is going to get killed. She's the type of person who does not care about anyone but herself. In the few pages that she was alive she yelled at a young girl and made her cry as well as she blatantly called someone fat. After a while in the story I'm like certain I know who it is. I kept on telling Jules "how can you not realize who it is? Stop investigating that person! That's the wrong person." And then I ended up being completely wrong and shocked at who the killer was. I have to admit defeat in my investigating skills.
Jules completely took the investigator on the case, Thomas' ask for help to listen to see if anyone mentions information about the murder as she worked at Torte to a whole new level. This girl was tracking down people and interrogating them like an investigator. I give her props - she could have seriously gotten hurt in the process of her amateur investigator hour. The thing with Jules is that she's such an over-thinker. I over-think but the problem with her is that each chapter she would ask a few questions in her head, something like "How is this person involved? Are they lying?" But you know more detailed oriented on the event or conversation she just had. That's the only thing that slightly annoyed me about her personality because I wanted to be asking the questions in my head. Although, I did get used to her over analyzing after a while when I started zeroing in on the suspect I thought wrongly was the killer.
Jules had some secrets herself as long as her mother. I really enjoyed their side stories. They fascinated me as much as finding the killer did. There's a lot that unravels in the story and you slowly learn what is going on between these two ladies which was satisfying to find out. I also enjoyed getting to know the other workers at Torte who are both different but knowledgeable in their own right. I grew to care for Stephanie and Andy so much. I really want to learn more about these characters and how they are in the next installment of the Meet Your Baker series. I'm also interested in the blossoming romance between Jules and Thomas especially since there is a tricky aspect to that part of the book.
Meet Your Baker was a wonderful introduction to the cozy mystery genre. I enjoyed reading about food (who doesn't?), figuring out the main and side mysteries in this story, and slowly caring deeply for the lives of the characters I met along the way.
I couldn't help to add this recipe I saw on the author's tumblr:
About the Author
Ellie Alexander 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.
2 winners will get a paperback copy of Meet Your Baker, Chai Tea, designer baking liners and a Starbucks gift card.
Open to US addresses only.
Ends Jan. 21, 2015
Thanks to CBB Promotions, St. Martin, and the author for letting me read and review Meet Your Baker in exchange for an honest review!