It's the dead of winter in the sleepy town of Ashland, which means no tourists - and fewer customers - for Jules Capshaw and her bakery. But when she's asked to cater an off-season retreat for the directors of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, business starts heating up ... until Jules finds a dead body in the freezer.
Someone at the retreat has apparently iced the bartender, a well-known flirt with a legendary temper - that is, before a killer beat him to the punch. Then, from out of nowhere, Jules's own ex-husband shows up - and soon becomes a suspect. With accusations piling up higher than the snow - and thicker than a chocolate mousse cake - Jules has to think outside the (recipe) box to find the real culprit ... and make sure he gets his just desserts.
Juliet (aka Jules) was raised in small town Ashland, OR, but dreamed of seeing the world. She grew up helping her parents in their bakery, Torte, and went on to culinary school. She got a job with a cruise line and didn't get home often after that. She met her husband, Carlos, an executive chef, on a cruise and things were going well until she discovered he had a secret. With a broken heart, she headed home to figure things out. It's been six months and she now happily shares ownership of Torte with her mother. Though she and Carlos had agreed to not contact each other until the new year, Jules thinks of him often.
Things have quieted down for Torte now that it's not the tourist season so when Jules is offered a catering job for a weekend retreat in the middle of nowhere, she accepts it and takes along Sterling, her young employee, as her sous-chef. She gets quite a surprise when Carlos shows up out of the blue wanting to work things out. Tony, the bartender, is a jerk and when Jules finds him murdered the next morning, anyone could have had reason to kill him, including Carlos. Because of the wintery conditions, the roads are blocked for the local police so Jules calls the police officers from Ashland. Thomas, one of the Ashland officers who arrives, is Jules' high school boyfriend and may still have feelings for her. Needless to say, this adds more tension to an already stressful situation.
This is the third in the Bakeshop Mystery series and I liked it. I've read all in this author's Sloan Krause Series and I'd recently read the first couple and the last one in this series. This book works as a stand alone ... there is enough information provided. It's written in first person perspective in Jules' voice. It was a quick light read and is a "cozy mystery" so there is no swearing, violence or adult activity. There are recipes at the end. I look forward to reading the others in this series.