Monday 8 February 2021

Book ~ "A Cup of Good Fear" (2019) Ellie Alexander

From Goodreads ~ Torte, Ashland’s favorite bakeshop is decking the halls and brewing up cups of holiday cheer. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is dark for the season but spirits are high as twinkle lights illuminate Main Street and snow falls softly on rooftops. Torte is bustling with activity. Jules and her team are rolling out dozens of Christmas tree cutouts and dusting them with sparkling green sugar. Helen’s signature Antoinettes, a delectable almond cookie filled with raspberry preserves and slathered with chocolate buttercream, are an instant hit. As are Andy’s peppermint bark mochas and eggnog shooters. While carolers serenade shoppers in the plaza, Jules packages up festive boxes of holiday sweets. She feels a bit like Santa Claus as she delivers glistening Christmas stolens, dainty tea cakes, and mincemeat pies. 

To cap off the merry season, Jules and Helen host their annual staff party at the historic Winchester Inn’s Dickens Feast. The six-course dinner is a beloved tradition, complete with Yorkshire pudding and a Christmas goose. Santa, Mrs. Claus and even a cheerless Ebenezer Scrooge delight dinner guests with jokes, friendly banter and surprise gifts. As snow piles up outside, the hot buttered rum and mulled wine keep everyone toasty inside. However, just as the dessert course is about to be served the power goes out. When the glow of warm light returns, the merriment evaporates. One of the guests is sprawled out in front of the twenty-foot Christmas tree. Suddenly Jules finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. Her only wish this Christmas is to catch a killer. 

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 over two years and, though she doesn't know what will happen with Carlos, she now happily shares ownership of Torte with her mother, Helen. 

It's Christmastime and Ashland is a winter wonderland celebrating with a parade, the village shops are decorated and everyone is feeling the holiday cheer.  Jules and Helen have their annual staff party at the Winchester Inn's Dickens Feast.  This may be the last year for it because the owners, Emma and Jon, have sold the Winchester Inn and are retiring.  Cami, the new owner, doesn't seem to have the same warm feelings about the festivities.  During the feast, the power suddenly goes out and Cami then is found murdered.  Cami was not liked so anyone could have killed her.  Was Emma and Jon's son mad that they were selling rather than passing his legacy onto him?  Why were Cami and Francine, the feast's entertainer, fighting just before Cami's death?  

While all this is going on, Jules and her staff are busy baking up delectable treats for the Christmas season.  And Jules is looking forward to celebrating with Helen and Doug, her new stepfather, in their recently purchased house, and wondering if her future will include Carlos.

This is the tenth in the Bakeshop Mystery series and I liked it.  I've read most of the books in this series and have read all in this author's Sloan Krause 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 others in this series.

No comments: