Title: Caught Bread Handed
Author: Ellie Alexander
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Release Date: June 2016
Length: 320 pages
Series?: Bakeshop Mystery #4
Welcome to Torte—a friendly, small-town family bakeshop where the oven is heating up as high as the body count…
Jules Capshaw is still chewing over her husband Carlos’s return to Ashland, Oregon. Could there be too many cooks in the kitchen? Whatever is stirring between those two will have to wait. Despite the Oregon Shakespeare Festival being dark for the winter, the bakeshop is bustling, the dough is rolling, and there’s no rest for the weary… especially when murder is thrown into the mix.
When Mindy Nolan, the owner of a new restaurant in town, turns up dead, the batter at hand thickens. Jules knows that there was bad blood between Mindy and others in town, and tracking the killer could prove to be an unwelcome treat. And to top it all off, there’s Carlos, who is pleading—with those delicious dark eyes and sexy Spanish accent—for Jules to take him back. Is home where the heart is or will she make a fresh start… and risk getting burned?
A week following Jules and Andy’s secluded catering gig, things have returned to normal in Ashland. Relatively. Everyone around town is in love with Jules’s estranged husband, Carlos.
A new fast-food burger chain buys out a local resident’s restaurant and opens up in downtown that has the business community up in arms. Once again, Jules is right in the thick of things the day following a major town meeting bashing Mindy. Rumor has it a fight went down and two particular residents seem to have it out for Mindy and her business partners.
When Jules walks in on the unthinkable, she is swept up in the investigation once again.
Jules – Jules is the sweetheart of Ashland that everyone keeps their eyes on. She is the hub and hum of her parents’ bakery, Torte, that she is trying to get into the black and get back on track to being financially successful. She is on a cusp with her relationship with her estranged husband. With the renewal of her friendship with high school sweetheart, it puts Jules in a strange place.
Sterling – Torte’s frontman employee, charged with manning the cash register and pastry case. He is growing as a chef and baker as well, taking large direction from Jules’s husband, who is also helping him with his love life.
Stephanie – Torte’s backup baker in the kitchen. She follows Jules’s direction and is a developing baker. She also still has a soft spot for Sterling.
Andy – Torte’s barista boy. He is known for making new drinks that he shares with Torte’s customers.
Carlos – Jules’s estranged husband turned up in Ashland and has stayed. He is very respectable and compassionate. He also diligently mentors Sterling both as a chef and as man. He wants to reconcile with Jules.
The Professor – The Professor’s real name is Doug. He is the Ashland’s chief of police, and the “unofficial Shakespeare aficionado.” It is his norm to quote The Bard and other philosophical individuals. He is a charming, friendly man who has captured Mrs. Capshaw’s attention.
Thomas – Thomas is The Professor’s right hand man, and also Jules’ high school sweetheart. They left things unresolved back then, and Thomas clearly has the highest regard for Jules. He comes running when Jules calls, and tries to back off and give Jules some space to handle her situation with Carlos.
Alan – Local town favorite who shut down the Jester and sold to Mindy. He is a very laid back dude who is exuding a high level of anger at the town meeting.
Mindy – A new business owner in downtown Ashland. She brings in a fast-food chain, Shakesburgers, and is the target of the town.
Matthew – Mindy’s business partner.
Lance leaned toward my ear. “First rule of fashion. Never pair a cheap T-shirt with an even cheaper suit. He looks like a walking pickle.”
The Highs and Lows
- Carlos. He is a refreshing surprise. I expected things to be tense again with him around, but he didn’t pressure and push Jules as much as he did in the previous installment. He is kind to everyone he meets and wants to be a good mentor to Sterling. I feel like he added a lot of meaning to the book.
- Sterling. He is growing so much as a character and I love seeing that.
- Depth. I didn’t feel there was necessarily as much depth to the story as the previous installments, but that didn’t stop me from devouring the book.
- The Twist. While Alan sold the Jester to Mindy, he reveals a surprising twist after her death. It changes the game entirely and points Jules in the right direction.
- Financials. While the financial status of Torte weighs heavy on Jules since they only have one working oven, the town junkie finds a way to make something good out of Mindy’s death. There is grant money to keep the downtown businesses in line with the city council’s Shakespearean theme. Since Jules has been working toward something like this for four books now, it’s good to see it finally happening!
I just love Jules and her entire little family at Torte: her mother, Sterling, Stephanie, and Andy. They each have such interesting and fun personalities and they mesh so well. They support one another and
Recommendation – Buy, Borrow or Skip?
Borrow. This is not one you’d want to skip, and if you aren’t a collector of the series, this may be one you just want to read once.
Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter to learn more.
- Signed copies of all 4 books in the Bakeshop Mysteries,
- Cupcake tea towel and pot holder
- Love cake topper
- Bakeshop page flags
- Assortment of gourmet lemonade
- Triple Chocolate Chunk cookie mix
US only. Giveaway ends July 20th. Must be 13 or older to enter and have parental permission if under 18. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to win.