Will a murder dash holiday spirits in Ashland, Oregon?
Sometime sleuth Juliet Capshaw is too busy baking for Torte, the family bakery and coffee shop in the heart of Ashland, to think about murder. Her staff is hard-pressed to keep Torte’s pastries and specialty holiday coffee drinks available as they fly out the door. The whole group is looking forward to the famed Dickens feast at the Winchester Hotel, which Emma and Jon McBeth, friends of Jules’ mother, have owned for years. Since Jules’ husband, Carlos, is away at his job on a cruise ship, her dinner date is her pal Lance. Rumor has it the McBeths are selling the hotel, but Emma says the contract limits the changes that Cami, the buyer, can make. The food is delicious, the wine a perfect complement, but it’s all spoiled by Cami, who, seated near Jules’ party, is rude and obnoxious. Her nastiness escalates when she gets into a fight over a cellphone with Francine La Roux, a talented singer who’s part of the quartet providing entertainment for the dinner, and threatens to stab her with a steak knife. Emma’s distraught over several complications that are ruining the carefully planned event, and when Jules offers to help, she finds Jon passed out in the wine cellar. The discovery of Cami with a steak knife in her chest forces Jules to start sleuthing along with the Professor, the stepfather whose advice has aided the police in several earlier cases (Live and Let Pie, 2018, etc.). Between baking night and day and cautiously meddling in her staff’s love lives, she somehow helps solve the crime.
Murder plays second fiddle to a foodie’s delight and a paean to awesome Ashland.