Saturday, July 1, 2017

A Crime of Passion Fruit

Author:  Ellie Alexander
Series:  A Bakeshop Mystery #
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  St. Martin's
Publication Date:  June 27, 2017

Description:  Jules Capshaw is trying to keep her cool as Torte gets set to make its transformation from quaint, local confectionary café to royal pastry palace. Meanwhile, Jules’s estranged husband Carlos is making a desperate plea for her to come aboard his cruise ship and dazzle everyone with her signature sweets. She may be skeptical about returning to her former nautical life with Carlos but Jules can’t resist an all-expense-paid trip, either. If only she knew that a dead body would find its way onto the itinerary . .

Now, instead of enjoying tropical drinks on deck between whipping up batches of sea-salted chocolates and flambéing fresh pineapple slices in the kitchen, Jules is plunged into dangerous waters. Her investigation leaves her with more questions than answers: Why can’t anyone on board identify the young woman? And how can she help Carlos keep passengers at ease with a killer in their midst? Jules feels like she’s ready to jump ship. Can she solve this case without getting in too deep?

My Review

This has become one of my favorite culinary cozy mystery series.  The characters really make this such a highly enjoyable, fun read. They are well written and developed characters that come across the page as warm, friendly and likable.  One of my favorite aspects of the series is the mother/daughter relationship between Jules and Helen Capshaw.  It is written with a genuine, authentic feel that draws the reader into the story.  The secondary cast of characters are also coming into their own at this point in the series as well.  What I particularly enjoyed about this book was that there was a bit of change in store for most of the characters be it professional or personal.  I think this will allow the author to craft many more wonderful stories in this series. 

This time around, we find Jules, Helen and The Professor headed out to sea.  Unfortunately for Jules, her penchant for finding dead bodies follows her out to sea.  No sooner have they set sail then Jules finds a dead body and is drawn into helping The Professor solve the mystery.  A secondary plot woven throughout the mystery deals with Jules and Carlos and what will be come of their marriage.  At first, I wasn't sure about Carlos, but the more he is woven into the stories I am starting to route for them to stay together.  How that will work - I guess we will just have to see what the author has in store.

The mystery is sort of a play on the murder in a closed room theme.  After all, it occurs when the ship has sailed so there is really no where for the murder to go.  Because there is little known about the murder victim, this allows Ms. Alexander to provide us with plenty of suspects, which she does.  Throw in her usual clues and misdirection and you have a terrific mystery with the killer revealed in a dramatic fashion.

I found this story to be very entertaining and it kept me engaged right through the end.  These characters are warm, friendly, funny, quirky and very likable.  The mystery is well crafted and the plot had a steady pace.  I can't wait to see what this author has in store for this series next and I will definitely be back for a visit to Ashland.

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy provided to me by the publisher through Netgalley. 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great book. I'll have to check it out. thanks for posting your review Peggy.