The prestigious competition draws coffee aficionados from up and down the coast to Ashland. The winner will not only claim to be best-in-brew, but also be awarded a hefty cash prize. Andy’s nervous about his chances, but Jules is confident that her star barista will shine. However, things take a grim turn when head judge Benson Vargas spits out Andy’s first offering, claiming it to be the worst thing to ever touch his lips - and hours later, is found dead clutching Andy’s creamy latte. Suddenly Torte’s favorite barista becomes the number one suspect. There’s no roast for the weary. Jules will have to sleuth out whodunit to clear Andy’s name and catch a killer before she ends up with one foot in the grounds.
Juliet (aka Jules) was raised in small town Ashland, OR. She grew up helping her parents in their bakery and went on to culinary school. After working for many years on a cruise line, where she met her husband, Carlos, she moved back home to take over the family bakery. She now shares ownership of it with her mother, who recently married the local head of police. After a two year separation, Jules has worked things out with Carlos and he is running the winery they have majority ownership of.
Andy, one of Jules' employees, is really into coffee and has been selected to compete in the West Coast Barista Cup. He's nervous but ready to go. Benson is one of the judges and has a flair for dramatics and not in a good way. He takes a dislike to Andy and even spits out one of his offerings during the competition. A few hours later, Benson is dead and Andy is the number one suspect. But Benson was not a nice man and disliked by many so anyone could have killed him. Because of loyalty to her employee, Jules and her friend, Lance, set out to find out who hated Benson enough to kill him so they can clear Andy's name.
This is the thirteenth in the Bakeshop Mystery series (I've read them all) and I thought it was okay. 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. I suspect there will probably not be many more in this series as everyone is settling down happily and Jules is thinking about having a baby.
There are recipes at the end.