Title: Till Death Do Us Tart
Series: A Bakeshop Mystery
By: Ellie Alexander
ISBN: 1250159377 (ISBN13: 9781250159373)
Author’s Website: http://www.elliealexander.co/
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Torte―the small-town bakeshop no one can resist―is hosting a midsummer night’s wedding . . . where merry-making and murder are served up in equal measure. Till Death Do Us Tart is Ellie Alexander’s eighth delectable novel in the Bakeshop mystery series.
Jules Capshaw has too much on her plate―and she’s feeling the pinch: the whole town of Ashland, Oregon, is in on the surprise Elizabethan-themed wedding she’s planning for her mom and soon-to-be stepdad. But is her secret scheme half-baked? She’s hiding racks overflowing with sweet treats while Torte is topsy-turvy with a major remodel and the return of Jules’s estranged husband, Carlos. And until now, Jules had no clue about the bitter family feud that has her friend Lance frazzled and suspicious. But when a party crasher takes someone out with a serving of poisoned wine and Jules discovers the deadly cup was intended for her, it’s time to turn the tables on a killer. (Goodreads)
Hard to believe that I have not read even one book by Ellie Alexander before. Definitely my loss! I was not even one third of the way through Till Death Do Us Tart (and no murder as of then) and I was totally hooked. The characters, setting, writing style all had me from the get go.
Jules Capshaw and all of the town of Ashland, Oregon is keeping a secret…. a surprise wedding for Jules’ mother and her fiancée (the Professor). And Jules is managing this wedding feat while also overseeing a major renovation at her bakery, Torte AND having her estranged husband, Carlos, visit with his teenage son, Ramiro from Spain. I am exhausted just thinking about all that she is juggling.
One of Jules’ besties is Lance, the artistic director at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The story begins with Lance MIA for approximately two weeks. This of course is worrisome for Jules. When Lance does return to Ashland, she learns that Lance has reconciled (sort of) with his dying father and Lance is worried that his brother is trying to speed the process along all in the name of greed. One thing turns into another and Lance’s father does pass away and Lance is 100% convinced that his demise was sooner than it should have been. Lance wants Jules help in figuring out who did this to his father. Could it be his brother Leo, who has no use for Lance? Now don’t forget, Jules is putting together a surprise Elizabethan wedding. Jules had:
“created an elaborate decoy party, the grand reopening of Uva, a gorgeous hillside vineyard that I was now a one-third owner in.”
To prepare for the arrival of Carlos and Ramiro, Jules cooks what seems like a feast to me and I would not have called it simple. The descriptions like the one below had me wishing my meals were so grand! And this is only one of several meals that are described in such detail:
“I had already prepared a simple dinner – a Greek pasta salad with artichoke hearts, marinated chicken, cherry tomatoes, red onions, black olives, goat cheese, and fresh basil that I tossed with a lemon vinaigrette. I would serve it with homemade parmesan-and-olive bread, salad, and Carlos’s favorite chocolate cake.”
I must say, the vows during the wedding were just spectacular. So romantic and heartfelt. A small excerpt to whet your appetite for the whole dialogue:
“By moonlight, by sunlight, in stillness, in brightness, you are my shield and I shall forever be your shadow. I’ll follow you through summer’s glare, through winter’s darkness. You, the beacon of my heart, my everything, my everywhere….”
During the wedding, another tragedy strikes as a guest drinks a sip of wine and falls ill. Was this guest the intended victim? And who was the perpetrator? Is it the same “bad guy” that has possibly murdered Lance’s father?
Let me tell you, there are no shortage of suspects. I really enjoyed the way Jules went about gathering clues, helping the police and eventually getting to the bottom of the murder(s). All while running a business, entertaining her husband and step some, planning and executing a surprise wedding AND remodeling Torte (I think I mentioned this before)!
One of the great aspects of this book is that I did not guess whodunit until the very end. To me, that is a satisfying cozy mystery! A well constructed story with interesting characters, good plot development with sufficient red herrings to keep this reader interested and intrigued. So much so that I had a hard time putting the book.
My first trip to Ashland, Oregon was delightful and I look forward to catching up with the seven books in the series as well as adding Ellie Alexander as one of my favourite authors.