A Batter of Life and Death
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on June 30th 2015
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Mystery
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Welcome to Torte-a small-town family bakeshop where the coffee is hot, the muffins are fresh, and the cakes are definitely to die for...It's autumn in Ashland, Oregon-'tis the season for a spiced hot apple cider with a serving (or two) of Torte's famous peach cobbler. It's also the perfect time for Jules Capshaw to promote her family's beloved bake shop by competing in The Pastry Channel's reality show, Take the Cake. The prize is $25,000. But as Jules quickly learns, some people would kill for that kind of dough. Literally.
Then, just as Jules dusts off her Bavarian Chocolate Cake recipe and cinches up her apron, the corpse of a fellow contestant is discovered-death by buttercream. What began as a fun, tasteful televised adventure has morphed into something of a true-crime detective show for Jules and everybody else on set. Who could have killed Chef Marco, and why? Can Jules sift out the killer before someone else gets burned?
What I Expected [Prior to the Summary Read]
- An adorable, cozy, foodie-based mystery
- A quick, light read – but still suspenseful
- A fun follow-up to the start of the Bakeshop Mystery series
What I Got
- All of the above!
- I never guessed who the killer is
- Anticipation for the series’ third installment
I adore Ellie Alexander’s A Bakeshop Mystery series – it introduced me to the cozy mystery genre – which I have discovered that I love! I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Meet Your Baker, which was a surprise gift from a blog swap partner. I read Alexander’s intro to the awesome series on a whim and – like I said – I fell in love and could not wait to get to this, the second installment.
A Batter of Life and Death certainly did not disappoint and I blew through it in a matter of a few days. I could have read it in a single sitting, but, you know – life! I was instantly sucked into the continuation of Jules Capshaw’s inadvertent involvements in murder mysteries. Jules is not an amateur detective, she co-owns Torte, a bakery featuring deliciously described delicacies, with her mother.
However, Jules is a magnet for murder, as she is pulled into crime drama due to her intense curiosity and connections with a local detective, who also happens to be Jules’ high school sweetheart. I like that the Bakeshop Mysteries feature only a hint of romance – I can only handle so much lovey dovey stuff.
Jules is chosen to be a contestant on a baking competition show, Take the Cake, one of the crowning jewels of The Pastry Channel. The characters competing against Jules are colorful and well-developed, even the one who gets killed, Chef Marco. Character development and a flowy writing style are very important to me when it comes to books, and this tale features both – lucky me!
Another major selling point for me regarding A Batter of Life and Death is that it was utterly impossible for me to guess the culprit before the big reveal. I did jump from character to character, examining their possible motives and dissecting their sometimes odd behaviors, but never figured out the ending, making me one happy reader!
Alexander’s writing style could be described as poetic – but it’s so not poetry! Her writing simply flows and her dialogue between characters is both entertaining and interesting. As an end-of-story bonus, Alexander includes recipes for the desserts and coffees featured at Torte, which I totally want to create myself!