Torte—everybody’s favorite small-town family bakeshop—is headed for the high seas, where murder is about to make a splash. . .
Jules Capshaw is trying to keep her cool as Torte gets set to make its transformation from quaint, local confectionary café to royal pastry palace. Meanwhile, Jules’s estranged husband Carlos is making a desperate plea for her to come aboard his cruise ship and dazzle everyone with her signature sweets. She may be skeptical about returning to her former nautical life with Carlos but Jules can’t resist an all-expense-paid trip, either. If only she knew that a dead body would find its way onto the itinerary . .
“A warm and inviting atmosphere, friendly and likable main characters, and a nasty murder mystery to solve!” —Fresh Fiction
Now, instead of enjoying tropical drinks on deck between whipping up batches of sea-salted chocolates and flambéing fresh pineapple slices in the kitchen, Jules is plunged into dangerous waters. Her investigation leaves her with more questions than answers: Why can’t anyone on board identify the young woman? And how can she help Carlos keep passengers at ease with a killer in their midst? Jules feels like she’s ready to jump ship. Can she solve this case without getting in too deep?
“A perfect mix for fans of Jenn McKinlay, Leslie Budewitz, or Jessica Beck.”
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Sixth book in A Crime of Passion Fruit!
A Crime of Passion Fruit by Ellie Alexander is the sixth book in A Bakeshop Mystery series. Jules Capshaw receives a call from her estranged husband, Carlos asking for her assistance. The pastry chef on the cruise ship quit unexpectedly and his replacement will not arrive for a week. The captain would like Jules to return and offers an incentive of an all-expense paid trip for her mother, Helen and her fiancé, Doug Curtis (the Professor). Jules and Helen leave Torte in the hands of their capable staff and Lance. Lance, Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is at loose ends and states he will “supervise” the staff while they are away (oh, dear). Jules quickly settle back into the routine of ship life, but it is inevitable that she will stumble over a body. Jules discovers a blonde woman floating in the salt water pool. The same blonde woman she noticed sneaking around the crew area of the ship. But who is the victim? No one seems to know her identity. The captain asks the Professor to investigate the crime (there goes the vacation). Jules and the Professor need to capture the killer before the ship arrives at its next port. Jules has her hands full with baking scrumptious treats for the passengers, searching for clues, Carlos and a rocky ship from a squall they are passing through. Can Jules and the Professor catch the killer or will Jules end up as fish bait?
A Crime of Passion Fruit is easy to read and has a nice steady pace. I thought A Crime of Passion Fruit had more of the cozy element than mystery. There are numerous food descriptions in the book. The whodunit is in the background in this story and can easily be solved. The suspect pool is limited. I identified the culprit early in the story. The cruise ship was a nice change of pace and I appreciated how the author included the characters from Ashland into the story. A Crime of Passion Fruit can easily be read alone. All the necessary background details are provided. My rating for A Crime of Passion Fruit if 3 out of 5 stars. I did find it unbelievable that Jules would have time to run around the ship hunting down the Professor and looking for clues. She is running a large pastry kitchen (that works virtually around the clock as we are told more than once) that would command her full attention (I know it is fiction, but it needs to be slightly realistic). Also, a cruise ship has their own security to conduct investigations (and there are laws and regulations to follow when a crime is committed on a ship). A Crime of Passion Fruit reminds me of the Love Boat. I can see Captain Stubbing asking the Professor for his assistance and Jules reminds me of a female version of Gopher with her sleuthing. There is a repetition of information (seems a common theme lately in cozy mysteries). I wish I could say the Carlos and Jules situation was resolved, but it was not (sigh). I am not a fan of Carlos (#TeamThomas). He does not support Jules in her investigations (he wanted to promise “you will bake and stay in kitchen”). I do not feel the love between Jules and Carlos. There is lust, but that it is not love. At the end of A Crime of Passion Fruit, we are left with a little cliffhanger (which means I will be reading the next book in A Bakeshop Mystery series to find out what happens).