A lovely Oregon town is host to both a wedding and a murder attempt.
Along with her mother, Juliet Capshaw owns and operates Torte, Ashland’s finest bakery and coffee shop. Jules has been stressed with a capital S. In addition to planning a major renovation to Torte, she’s secretly planning an Elizabethan wedding for her mom and her longtime boyfriend, the Professor—a celebration that perfectly suits a town famous for its Shakespeare festival. On top of that, her husband, Carlos, and his teenage son, Ramiro, are expected in town. Jules has plenty of feelings left for the handsome Spaniard, but his job as a cruise-ship chef has strained their relationship ever since she decided that Ashland is where she wants to be. Before the wedding takes place at Uva, the winery in which Jules owns a share, her friend Lance, the artistic director of the festival, reveals that he’s a son of the Brown family of Medford, who’ve made a fortune in timber but never supported his theatrical ambitions. Lance’s dying father thinks his other son, Leo, is trying to kill him. So Lance has hired tough private eye Megan Antonini to check things out. When his father does die, Lance, certain that he was murdered, asks that Megan, Leo, and his lawyer and personal assistant be invited to the wedding, which goes off without a hitch until Megan drinks a glass of poisoned wine which may have been meant for Jules. Jules and Lance turn sleuth, much to the dismay of their friends in the police department, who prefer to solve crimes themselves.
Alexander’s charming series (A Crime of Passion Fruit, 2017, etc.) offers descriptions of enticingly fattening foods, a tour of southern Oregon, and, incidentally, a mystery that provides enough riddles to keep you guessing without ever upstaging the main event.