23014667by Ellie Alexander

Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 30th 2015 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks
5 Stars

Synopsis: Welcome to Torte-a small-town family bakeshop where the coffee is hot, the muffins are fresh, and the cakes are definitely to die for…
It’s autumn in Ashland, Oregon-’tis the season for a spiced hot apple cider with a serving (or two) of Torte’s famous peach cobbler. It’s also the perfect time for Jules Capshaw to promote her family’s beloved bake shop by competing in The Pastry Channel’s reality show, Take the Cake. The prize is $25,000. But as Jules quickly learns, some people would kill for that kind of dough. Literally.
Then, just as Jules dusts off her Bavarian Chocolate Cake recipe and cinches up her apron, the corpse of a fellow contestant is discovered-death by buttercream. What began as a fun, tasteful televised adventure has morphed into something of a true-crime detective show for Jules and everybody else on set. Who could have killed Chef Marco, and why? Can Jules sift out the killer before someone else gets burned?

My Review: This is the second book in the “Bakeshop Mysteries”. Juliet (Jules) Montague Capshaw is settling back into life in her hometown of Ashland, Oregon after leaving her husband Carlos for a year break. The summer tourist season is coming to an end and Jules is trying to find ways to bring money into the family bakery, Torte, during the off season. She has found an exciting opportunity of letting a bake show “Take The Cake” use the bakery kitchen while they are in town filming. Jules was in for a surprise when she found out that one of the contestants had backed out and that she would be persuaded to be a contestant herself. Of course, the $25,000.oo prize was a great incentive as well as the opportunity to showcase her hometown on television. The unexpected happens when on the first day of filming, Jules finds another contestant dead on the set face down in butter cream frosting.
Thomas, the local police detective (and Jules’ ex-boyfriend) along with “the Professor” the police chief both warn Juliet to stay away from any involvement in investigating what happened to the chef. Even though she found him, Jules does not want to get involved, especially when she remembers what happened last time she did. Unfortunately, it just seems as though circumstances keep putting her in the center of the mystery. As Jules tries to get her baking done for both the show and the bakery in the cramped kitchen, deals with her emotions involving both Carlos and Thomas and tries to keep her staff from hating one another, the mystery unfolds around her and once again, she finds herself in danger.
The characters in this series are wonderful. They are extremely realistic, warm and caring to one another. They are not obnoxious, except perhaps Richard Lord, and have their ups and downs that they need to deal with. Jules, the main character, is strong and independent without being annoying. Some cozies have the main character in your face, actively seeking out the culprit and doing things they should not be doing. Jules is kind, helpful and just seems to be in the right place at the right time. People confide in her because of her caring nature.
I am very much enjoying this series. The recipes at the back are an added treat. They are not too complicated and seem like they would be very good to try. I recommend this book anyone who enjoys a well-written cozy mystery with lots of food.