A Crime of Passion Fruit (A Bakeshop Mystery) by Ellie Alexander
Rating: Very Good
Description: Jules Capshaw is trying to keep her cool as Torte gets set to make its transformation from quaint, local confectionary cafe 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 . .
Now, instead of enjoying tropical drinks on deck between whipping up batches of sea-salted chocolates and flambeing 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?
Genre: Mystery - Cozy
Why I Picked This Book: This is a series I've really been enjoying and I'm excited to see Jules in cruise ship mode.
My Impression: I've been reading this series since the beginning and have completely enjoyed every single mystery. This one might just be my favorite. The bulk of this book takes place on Jules' former cruise ship when she takes over as temporary pastry chef. Working on cruise ships has always been a big part of Jules' story so to see her actually at work there was really fun as well as getting a peek at what ship life is like for the crew on a cruise ship. Typically in the out of Ashland books I've really missed the Torte setting and the characters there but my enjoyment of the cruise ship more than made up for it.
The mystery as expected from this solid series was well done and I enjoyed the not just whodunnit part but the who exactly is the victim aspect. Jules role in the investigation is a little more official in this one as the Professor asks her to help him navigate the politics and personnel of the ship. I do love when an amateur sleuth has a reason to poke around!
And then there's the food... Jules is a pastry chef and the descriptions of her creations make my mouth water. There's peach coffee cake, crepe cakes (stacks of super thin cakes with pastry cream in between), lemon jelly rolls, cupcakes, and all kinds delicious and decadent sounding desserts. Luckily, the back has several of the recipes that are mentioned throughout the book (I'm most excited about the lemon jelly roll) and for when you're feeling a little desserted out you can try Asian Noodle Salad or make a Monte Christo Sandwich, All will pair well with a Mai Chai - one of Torte's top barista's creations - full of chai spices and tasty tropical accents.
If you enjoy mysteries and love foodie books this is one of the best combinations I've found. The mystery is solid, the characters are interesting and likable, and the food descriptions are enough to make me want to get into the kitchen and start whipping up my own creations. This is a series I always enjoy and always look forward to the next book though I don't recommend reading on an empty stomach!
I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads