Fudge and Jury by Ellie Alexanderby Ellie Alexander

Published January 3rd 2017 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks

4.5 Stars

Synopsis: Welcome to Torte—a friendly, small-town family bakery where the pastries are delicious…and, now, suspicious.
It’s almost spring in Ashland, Oregon, and the town is preparing for the Shakespeare and the annual Chocolate Festival. Business is cookin’ at Torte, and the store is expanding as Jules’ team whips up crèpes filled with mascarpone cheese and dark chocolate. Torte stands a chance of being this year’s confectionery belle of the ball! Life couldn’t be sweeter—unless murder taints the batter.
Evan Rowe, of Confections Couture, makes a chocolate fountain that would put Willy Wonka to shame, and his truffles are to die for—literally? Yes, the world-renowned chocolatier has just turned up dead…right after sampling a slice of Jules’ decadent four-layer chocolate cake. Now all eyes are on Jules as she tries to find the mysterious ingredient in her own recipe. Can she sift out the truth before another contestant bites the buttercream?

My Review: Juliet (Jules) Montague Capshaw lives in Ashland, Oregon. This little town is home to a Shakespearean Festival and this story takes place during the off season. Juliet is her mother’s partner in the family bakery/cafe, Torte. She has returned from working on a cruise ship where she met and married Carlos. Juliet is still trying to figure out where her marriage with Carlos stands, but he is back on the cruise ship and she is in Ashland. Jules and her Mother are participating in the Chocolate Festival in Ashland, Oregon. Jules meets Evan, a famous chocolatier and obnoxious chef to boot, for the first time and is not impressed. When he suffers anaphylactic shock and dies in front of Jules she is extremely upset. Even though she did not like him, no one deserved to die like that. She begins to help the police with the investigation. With all this going on, Torte is undergoing minor renovations with new ovens being put in, Jules’ old boyfriend Thomas seems to be attempting to become more than a friend, she finds out that her mother is developing arthiritis, a pastry magazine wants to do a cover story on Jules and Torte, and they are trying to decide if they want to lease the bottom floor of the bakery and do an addition. There is a lot adding stress to Jules’ life, can she handle it all? Will they figure out who killed Evan?

This is the fifth book in this series and I love visiting Torte and Ashland. I love the relationship between Jules and her mom, as well the one between Helen and the Professor. The employees at Torte are very different from one another, but they work so well together and they are like a family. The plot moves quickly and kept me reading quickly until reaching the conclusion. The mystery was interesting and I was surprised to see who the killer was, as well as the reason and the method used to do it. This is a fun, interesting series that will leave you wanting more and with your stomach growling. Cozy mystery readers will enjoy this one. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

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