I never would have imagined I would have enjoyed reading about a murder during the holiday season, but A Cup of Holiday Fear was the perfect balance of murder mystery and a ton of baking within a story.
As the tenth book in the Bakeshop Mystery series, our beloved protagonist, Jules finds herself once again involved in the investigation of the future investor in the when a murder has happened during the Winchester Inn’s Dickens Feast: a traditional six-course feast that Ashland residents and tourists enjoy.
I read this as a buddy read with some friends and because it’s December, we wanted to squeeze this timely novel into this festive month. With that, we skipped ahead in the series and so I was introduced to new characters that I hadn’t met as well as new reunited with some of the original characters in Meet Your Baker. With that being said, Ellie of course did a fantastic job in bringing the reader up to speed on who was who and why they were now a part of the story.
Additionally, I really liked the secondary storyline between Bethany and Andy’s relationship, or lack of it. As Bethany really likes Andy, it’s unrequited. I found it hilarious that Bethany invited her cousin to the bakery’s staff holiday party and pretended her cousin was her date in an attempt to make Andy jealous.
With that being said, I was not a fan of how Jules’ love life was going in the direction of as I was really hoping by now in the series, that she would have gone with my preferred love interest for her. But such is life and I’m hoping Jules does end up with the one I’m rooting for.
Overall, Ellie has again crafted a wonderful cozy mystery story that I craved to pick back up and finish whenever I had to put it down.
Torte, Ashland’s favorite bakeshop is decking the halls and brewing up cups of holiday cheer. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is dark for the season, but spirits are high as twinkle lights illuminate Main Street and snow falls softly on rooftops. Torte is bustling with activity. Jules and her team are rolling out dozens of Christmas tree cutouts and dusting them with sparkling green sugar. Helen’s signature Antoinettes, a delectable almond cookie filled with raspberry preserves and slathered with chocolate buttercream, are an instant hit. As are Andy’s peppermint bark mochas and eggnog shooters. While carolers serenade shoppers in the plaza, Jules packages up festive boxes of holiday sweets. She feels a bit like Santa Claus as she delivers glistening Christmas stolens, dainty tea cakes, and mincemeat pies.
To cap off the merry season, Jules and Helen host their annual staff party at the historic Winchester Inn’s Dickens Feast. The six-course dinner is a beloved tradition, complete with Yorkshire pudding and a Christmas goose. Santa, Mrs. Claus, and even a cheerless Ebenezer Scrooge delight dinner guests with jokes, friendly banter, and surprise gifts. As snow piles up outside the hot buttered rum and mulled wine keep everyone toasty inside. However, just as the dessert course is about to be served the power goes out. When the glow of warm light returns, the merriment evaporates. One of the guests is sprawled out in front of the twenty-foot Christmas tree. Suddenly Jules finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. Her only wish this Christmas is to catch a killer.