Tuesday 28 December 2021

Book ~ "Bake, Borrow, and Steal" (2021) Ellie Alexander

From Goodreads ~ As the autumnal hues of November fall over the Shakespearean hamlet of Ashland, Oregon, Jules and her team at Torte are working on their biggest event ever. They’ve been invited to create chocolate showpieces for the gala opening of a new exhibit, Shakespeare’s Lost Pages at SOMA. The museum, located on the campus of Southern Oregon University, is getting ready to unveil the Bard’s lost manuscript, Double Falsehood, which is being touted as the greatest artistic discovery of modern times. In addition to molding luscious, silky chocolate into magnificent structures, Torte will be serving an authentic Elizabethan feast straight from the pages of a sixteenth century cookbook featuring Lardy cakes, Frangipane tarts, and jellies with chestnut cream.

Jules has underestimated the amount of work required to pull off such a culinary feat. She finds herself in the strange position of feeling frazzled and stressed as the day of the gala approaches. However, her team rallies around her and once the massive works of chocolate art are safely installed at the museum, she can finally let out a sigh of relief and revel in the excitement of the grand celebration. But her relief is short-lived. Right before the unveiling, news quickly begins to spread that Shakespeare’s lost manuscript is missing. Not only that, but the security guard tasked with keeping the priceless artifact safe has been killed. Is this a case of a heist gone terribly wrong? Or could it be that a killer is lurking in the museum archives? 

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.

A lost manuscript of William Shakespeare has been discovered and, since Ashland is home to a Shakespearean theatre and the town has a Shakespearean theme, the director of the local museum has managed to have it exhibited in there.  It is a big deal and Tortes has been hired to provide the catering for the opening night gala, which has all the staff at Torte racing around preparing the food.  At the unveiling gala, there is a lot of tension, both with the museum staff and the Torte staff.  It doesn't help when it's discovered that the manuscript has been stolen, the maintenance man has been attacked, a guard killed and the director of the museum is then arrested for everything.

This is the fourteenth 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 settled down happily and Jules is thinking about having a baby.

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