On Thin Icing (Bakeshop Mystery Series #3)

On Thin Icing (Bakeshop Mystery Series #3)

by Ellie Alexander

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Overview

On Thin Icing (Bakeshop Mystery Series #3) by Ellie Alexander

Welcome to Torte-a small-town family bakeshop where the treats are killer good.

It's the dead of winter in the sleepy town of Ashland, which means no tourists-and fewer customers-for Jules Capshaw and her bakery. But when she's asked to cater an off-season retreat for the directors of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, business starts heating up...until Jules finds a dead body in the freezer.

"An intriguing new series."-Reader to Reader

Someone at the retreat has apparently iced the bartender, a well-known flirt with a legendary temper-that is, before a killer beat him to the punch. Then, from out of nowhere, Jules's own ex-husband shows up at the shop-and soon becomes a suspect. With accusations piling up higher than the snow-and thicker than a chocolate mousse cake-Jules has to think outside the (recipe) box to find the real culprit...and make sure he gets his just desserts.

"A delectable tale of murder and intrigue."-Portland Book Review on Meet Your Baker

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250054258
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 12/29/2015
Series: Bakeshop Mystery Series , #3
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 127,374
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

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. She is the author of the Bakeshop Mysteries, including Meet Your Baker and A Batter of Life and Death. You can find her on Facebook to learn more!

Read an Excerpt

On Thin Icing


By Ellie Alexander

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2016 Kate Dyer-Seeley
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-05425-8


CHAPTER 1

They say that you can't go home again. I'm not sure that's true. I'd been home for almost six months, and found myself settling back into a comfortable and familiar pace.

Working at our family bakeshop, Torte, had helped ease the sting of leaving my husband and the life I'd known behind. I didn't have any answers about what was next for Carlos and me, and the longer I was home the less it seemed to matter. Ashland, Oregon, my welcoming hometown, was the perfect place to mend. Being surrounded by longtime friends and family for the past few months had made me realize that while my heart may have been a bit broken, I wasn't. It was an important distinction, and hopefully a sign that I'd made the right decision.

I'd been so consumed with baking and growing our catering business at Torte that I hadn't had much time to reflect. Ashland is best known for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The world-famous theater company draws in thousands of visitors each year. From February through October our sleepy town transforms into a tourist hub. Theater enthusiasts, families, school groups, and travelers from every corner of the globe descend on our quaint streets.

The steady stream of visitors was great for business. During the height of the theater season it was nearly impossible to get a table at Torte, or any other restaurant in town. Shopkeepers make their yearly profits in the busy summer months. Torte had a booming summer and fall season, so much so that my only focus had been on the bakeshop. Now that winter had closed in and OSF had closed its doors for the season, it was as if the entire town shuttered in as well. I'd forgotten how quiet Ashland becomes in January — and how cold!

After spending ten years working as a pastry chef for a cruise line, I hadn't experienced a winter like this in a long time. My winters had been spent island-hopping in the Caribbean and sailing in the Mediterranean, where the sun sparkled on warm waters despite the fact that the calendar read January.

January in Ashland was a different story. The temperature had been dropping steadily since October. Fall's cool crisp mornings felt practically balmy compared to the icy layer of frost that coated the ground. I'd invested in a new collection of sweaters and wool socks. Despite pulling on heavy layers before leaving my apartment, I still shivered on my short walk to Torte.

Torte is located in the heart of downtown. The bakeshop sits in the middle of the plaza, nestled between shops and restaurants, with a front-row view of the bubbling Lithia fountains across the street. It's a prime location for grabbing a pretheater snack or a catching up on the latest gossip. My mom, Helen, had been running the bustling bakery solo since my dad died and I took off to see the world. Her delectable handcrafted pastries are legendary with locals and anyone passing through town. Not only do people find comfort in her sweet creations, they also seek her out for advice and her kind listening ear. Everyone who walks through Torte's front door is treated like family. That's the secret to Torte's longevity. Well, that and the binder of recipes passed down through generations of my family that Mom keeps locked in the office.

Keeping baker's hours means that I'm always awake long before anyone else. This morning as I hurried through a biting wind to Torte, the streets felt especially dark and gloomy. I quickly unlocked the front door, flipped on the lights, and cranked on the heat.

A large chalkboard on the far wall displayed a Shakespearean quote reading: "In winter with warm tears I'll melt the snow. And keep eternal spring-time on thy face."

My dad started the tradition of a revolving quote when I was a kid. He loved everything Shakespearean, hence his insistance on naming me Juliet. I prefer Jules. There's too much pressure attached to having a name like Juliet. But each time I glanced at the chalkboard, I smiled at the memory of my dad's sparkling eyes and quick wit.

Torte's front windows had frosted overnight. I rubbed my hands together for friction and made my way to the kitchen. The bakeshop is divided into two sections. Customers can nosh on a pastry or linger over an espresso at one of the tables or booths in the front. A long counter and coffee bar separates the dining space from the kitchen. It gives the bakery an open feel and allows guests to watch all of the action in the back.

I grabbed an apron from the rack and tied it around my waist. Our red aprons with blue stitching and a chocolate Torte logo in the center are as close as it gets to a uniform around here. Everyone on staff wears one of the crisp aprons that match Torte's teal-and-cranberry-colored walls.

My first task of the day was getting the oven up to temp. We'd been down an oven for a while. Managing with one oven was doable during the slow season, but Mom and I had been tucking cash away in hopes of upgrading our equipment before things got busy again. I turned the oven on high, and leafed through the stack of special orders waiting on the kitchen island.

On today's agenda were two birthday cakes, a pastry order for the theater, and our normal bread deliveries. The tight-knit business community in Ashland diligently supported and promoted each other, especially in the off-season. Wholesaling our bread to local restaurants and shops definitely helped with cash flow.

I washed my hands with honey-lavender soap and got to work on the bread. There's something so therapeutic about making bread. From watching the yeast rise to kneading the dough, I allowed my thoughts to wander as I went through the familiar steps. Some of my colleagues in culinary school had complained when they had to work early shifts. I remember one aspiring chef said that she always felt lonely in an empty kitchen. Not me. I like working in a quiet space with nothing more than the hum of a mixer and the scent of sourdough bread baking around me. That's not to say that I don't enjoy a vibrant kitchen with bodies squeezing past each other and a counter chock-full of delectable treats. I guess, like so many things in life, it was finding the balance between solitude and socialization that counted.

With the first batch of bread rising, I quickly sketched out a menu for the day. Once the team arrived everyone would have an assignment. The cold weather had our customers hungry for hearty breakfast options. I'd have Stephanie, one of the college students I'd been mentoring, bake chocolate, cinnamon, and nut muffins. Mom could handle stocking the rest of the pastry case with an assortment of sweet and savory delicacies. That would give me time to focus on the special orders.

As I finished writing the menu and task list on the whiteboard, the front door jingled and Andy walked in. He wore a puffy orange parka and knit stocking cap. His shaggy sandy hair stuck out from beneath the cap. "Morning, boss," he called, rubbing his arms. "Man, it's cold out there."

Andy had been working for Mom since he was in high school. Now he attends Southern Oregon University, and runs Torte's espresso bar whenever he's not studying. He's a genius when it comes to crafting coffee drinks. His creative flavor combinations have earned him a loyal following. There's always a line for one of Andy's expertly pulled shots or specialty lattes. He has an innate talent, and I've enjoyed watching him thrive.

He shrugged off his parka, stored it and his backpack behind the counter, and tied on an apron. Without missing a beat, he revved up the espresso machine. "You want to try something new?" he asked, pulling a canister of beans from underneath the bar.

"I'd love anything you want to make me," I said as I roughed out a sketch for one of the birthday cakes. The order form read: Anything chocolate. Talk about a dream client. Chocolate was wide open for interpretation. Since this was for an adult birthday, I thought it would be fun to work some childhood nostalgia into the cake. I'd make an Oreo mousse cake and slice it into four layers. Then I planned to fill each layer with chocolate mousse and fresh berries. I would top it with more berries, Oreos, and gold dust. It should give the cake a whimsical yet elegant touch.

While I whipped egg yolks and sugar in the mixer for the mousse, Andy plugged his phone into our sound system and blasted some tunes. I watched as he swirled steaming milk to the beat of the music.

Mom and Stephanie arrived a few minutes later. Stephanie had originally been hired to help at the front counter, but her introverted personality — and the fact that she could really bake — made her a much better match for the kitchen. When I first met her, I thought she was a bit sullen. I've come to realize that there's a kind and caring young woman underneath the layers of black eyeliner, purple hair, and her standoffish attitude. Mentoring Stephanie in the bakery had been one of the highlights of the last few months. She was a quick study and had an eye for design.

"Morning, everyone," Mom yelled over the music. She really needs hearing aids. "It's already hopping in here this morning."

I signaled for Andy to turn down the music. He nodded and turned the volume down.

Mom patted Andy on the shoulder in silent thanks as she walked toward the rack of aprons.

"You know it, Mrs. C. It's Monday. That means we crank up the tunes and the grinds." Andy grinned and drizzled white chocolate sauce over a steaming latte. "Order up, boss," he said to me.

"What is it?" I asked, grabbing the coffee from the front counter.

"I'm thinking of calling it a snowflake latte." He reached under the bar and pulled out a notebook that he uses to track coffee recipes and ratios of milk to espresso. "It's an almond latte with a little touch of white chocolate and whipped cream. Give it a try. I'm hoping it's not too sweet. It's my gift to the snow gods. We need some fresh powder on Mount Ashland. I'm dying to hit the slopes."

The coffee smelled heavenly. I caught a whiff of almond as I took a sip. The creamy latte was perfectly balanced with just the right touch of sweetness. Andy had succeeded once again. We make all of our sauces and syrups at Torte. Our white chocolate sauce is a customer favorite. It's much richer in flavor and texture than mass-manufactured sauces. I'm not a fan of sugary coffee drinks. Andy knew exactly how to add a splash of sweetness without letting the sugar overpower the drink.

"This is delicious." I held the mug up in a toast. "It's like winter in a cup. I think the snow gods will love it."

"That's what I was going for, boss." His cheeks reddened. "Anyone else want to give my snowflake latte a try?"

Mom and Stephanie raised their hands in unison. Andy laughed and started steaming more milk. I knew he appreciated the praise. It was well deserved. I could drink Andy's lattes all day. That is, until I started to shake from too much caffeine intake.

"This one needs to go up on the special board today," I said, cradling the warm mug in my hands.

Stephanie tucked her hair behind her ears. "What do you want me to do first, Jules?" She normally wears her dark hair with streaks of purple, but today it was dyed in a shockingly bright violet. The look was startling.

"You changed your hair," I noted.

She shrugged. "Yeah, I was tired of the black."

"It matches your gorgeous eyes," Mom said, returning to the kitchen and handing Stephanie a snowflake latte.

"Thanks." Stephanie looked at her feet as she spoke. She was dressed in all black, quite the contrast from her cheery red apron and purple hair.

"Can you start on the muffins?" I asked, pointing to the whiteboard. "We're going to need an extra dozen of each flavor for Lance's order."

Stephanie sipped her latte and studied the board. "What are you thinking for the cinnamon muffins?"

One of the many things that I appreciated about Stephanie was her willingness to ask questions. When I worked on the cruise line one of my biggest pet peeves with apprentice chefs was that they were afraid to ask questions. How are you going to learn if you don't ask? I'd much rather have a chef-in-training ask too many questions versus doing it wrong and having to dump an entire batch of pastries in the trash.

"What do you think?" I threw it back at her. "We could do cinnamon chips or a cinnamon crumble on the top."

"I'll do both," she said.

"Works for me." I returned to the mixer.

Mom squeezed between me and the butcher block island that sits in the middle of the industrial kitchen. She's shorter than me by a few inches. I inherited my height and lean frame from my dad. Even in her clogs, she has to stand on her toes to meet my eyes. "I see you've already got a head start back here."

"That's not a bad thing, is it?"

"Not at all. In fact, I might get used to this and start sleeping in." She winked.

I whipped the yolks and sugar together until the mixture turned a creamy lemon color. One of the things I've been trying to teach Stephanie is that each step matters when it comes to baking. The most common mistake novice bakers make is to dump all the ingredients in at once. For a light and airy cake, it's imperative that the egg yolks and sugar are slightly thickened before incorporating the chocolate.

Mom rolled up her sleeves. She cubed butter and measured brown sugar into a large mixing bowl. She chatted with Stephanie and Andy about their classes as she creamed cookie batter together by hand. Baking was in her DNA. Despite the fact that Torte has two industrial mixers, Mom was old-school when it came to making cookie dough. She prefers her large stainless steel bowl and wooden spoon.

"Mom, you know we have an industrial mixer, right?"

"How do you think I stay so fit?" She flexed her arm and raised the wooden spoon. "Who needs a mixer when I have muscles like these?"

I worried that the years of physical labor were taking their toll on her. Her pace had started to slow a bit, but not her enthusiasm, so I let it go.

I filled the double boiler with an inch of water and placed it on the stove. Then I measured dark chocolate chunks. I would melt the chocolate on a low boil and slowly incorporate it with the eggs and sugar. Soon the entire kitchen became infused with the delightful smell of cinnamon muffins baking in the oven, steaming coffee, and melting chocolate. I couldn't resist swiping a taste of the warm chocolate as it liquefied in the pan.

"Where's Sterling?" Mom asked, glancing at the clock on the wall. It was almost six. In a few minutes Torte would be bustling with locals stopping by for a coffee and pastry on their way to work.

"He said he'd be here by seven," I replied, wiping chocolate from my fingers. "He stayed late last night." Sterling was our newest staff member. Like me, he'd thought Ashland would be a temporary resting place, but had come to love our quirky small town. His piercing blue eyes, tattoos, and skater style had earned him quite the following among teenage girls. I wanted to tell them that they were wasting their time, while they stood in line, giggling and ordering hot chocolates. Sterling liked Stephanie. I wasn't sure where she stood. The chemistry between them was definitely palpable, but as far as I could tell that was where it ended.

Sterling and Andy made a dream team in the front. Their personalities complemented one another. Andy with his boyish all-American good looks, and knowledge of local sports, chatted up customers with easy banter. Sterling had a sexy edginess that customers responded to. He discussed indie bands and dabbled in writing poetry. He reminded me of a young Johnny Depp.

After the holidays, Sterling asked me if I'd be willing to give him cooking lessons in the evenings. He didn't think baking was his style, but he was interested in learning his way around the kitchen. It was great timing for me, since Torte's catering business had been steadily increasing. Having an extra hand to help prep would be a huge help.

By the time Sterling arrived, Andy had sold a dozen snowflake lattes and packaged up pastries to go for our regular clients. A handful of locals occupied the tables in the front, but we were nowhere near as busy as we are in the summer months. I arranged the theater pastry order in a large white box with the Torte logo stamped on the side. Lance, the artistic director for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, was hosting a breakfast for some local board members and requested pastries to be delivered before eight.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from On Thin Icing by Ellie Alexander. Copyright © 2016 Kate Dyer-Seeley. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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On Thin Icing: A Bakeshop Mystery 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
hpgirl2008 More than 1 year ago
In this third installment of the Bakeshop Mystery books, Jules travels to a remote mountain resort to cater a private party and immediately things start to seem strange. Between the loud Tony who tends the bar and the weird Mercury the owner, Jules is starting to wonder. And then someone from her past walks right back into her life and turns everything upside down. And while Jules is trying to sort out her feelings and figure out what she wants, she finds a body in the freezer. And thus begins yet another round of finding out who committed the murder - but this time there is not an entire town of suspects, there is only those at the remote resort to look to. Jules really seems to lose a lot of focus in this book, and I liked it a lot because we really start to see a lot of aspects of her character that haven't been shown until now ... as well as more details about her past 10 years. I think the thing I love about these books is the way Ellie Alexander ever so subtly references Shakespeare in almost every way. For example, if you know anything about Shakespeare - Mercury = Mercutio, Jules = Juliet and more. It's very cool to read and try to figure it all out as well as the mystery :) The best way to read this book is a nice hot cup of java or hot cocoa with a blanket and chair :) The only reason I did not give this book 5 full stars was because I felt that it lacked a bit of coherence, I think that there were a lot of things that were unaccounted for. Otherwise I loved it! ***I received a complimentary book in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received.***
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
I am enjoying the Bakeshop Mysteries. This one is your locked door mystery in a sense. Jules and Sterling have set off from Ashland to Lake of the Woods, a lakeside resort in the Southern Oregon Cascades to cater a three day retreat for Lance and the Shakspeare Company Board. Shortly after everyone arrives, the worst snowstorm in history hits. They are snowed in with only one landline (no cell phone coverage up there) and sure to lose power. When Carlos (Jules estranged husband) shows up, it sets Jules or Julietta as he calls her, heart a flutter. When she finds the body of the obnoxious bartender on the second day, she starts to investigate as the police cannot get there. The Ashland police finally arrive and that complicates things even more for Jules. Now there are two men vying for her affections while she is just trying to bake and cook scrumptious meals. The series is full of wonderful characters, enticing food descriptions (recipes included), and intriguing settings. Being in the warm Florida sun while reading this book made me think about being snowed in with my family back home and yearning for that. I like Jules very much. She is a strong character who stands up for what she believes in and is finally discovering her strengths and talents. The others who work at "Torte" the family bakery in Ashland are all different characters who add to the business and story. Carlos is a romantic who is head over heels in love with his Julietta and will do whatever it takes to get her back. He is a latin lover that all the women are attracted to, but he only has eyes for Jules. This book could be read as a standalone, but I recommend you read them in order if you can. There is a lot of background and if you know it, you would enjoy the book much more. Otherwise, I recommend this book to cozy mystery lovers as well as those "foodies" who love to read about food and get new recipes to try. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
SewWrite More than 1 year ago
Jules Capshow agrees to cater for a long weekend at a remote resort. The resort is a great vacation spot until fighting erupts with the bartender who is always drunk. Soon a body is discovered during a big snow storm that makes the resort even more remote. The phones are down and the road is blocked. To make matter worse, Jules estranged husband Carlos shows up at the resort. Talk about a lot going on in Jules life! This was my favorite book so far in this series. I can't wait for the next one, as a matter of fact I have per-ordered it.
AuthorsWebTVHost More than 1 year ago
It’s been many years since I experienced a blizzard and reading On Thin Icing had me shivering and very happy that I live in the desert. Alexander’s descriptions of the miserable weather makes you feel as if you are there – be it in the kitchen with the power threatening to go out, trying to keep warm while sleeping in an unheated cabin, or walking knee deep in fresh snow. I was as surprised as Jules to find her estranged husband, Carlos, making an unexpected visit. The tension between Carlos, the romantic Spaniard, and Thomas, the local no-nonsense detective, is so thick it could be cut with one of Jules’ bread knives. The descriptions of wines were enough to cause drooling, and of course, the food is to die for. Thank you, Ellie, for the recipe for Orange Cardamom Rolls. I will be trying them soon. As with any really good mystery, everything (well, almost everything) was wrapped up by the end, but we are left to wonder what will happen between Jules and Carlos. The idea of waiting months for the next installment is almost painful. Once again, a fabulous read!
lovingbooks More than 1 year ago
Did you ever read a book that you didn't want to end because you were enjoying it so much? But you were in a hurry to finish to see how it ends? Well this is one of those books. There were twists and turns through out the whole book. Kept me guessing until the end. And when we weren't trying to figure out who the murderer was... we were cooking and baking!! I felt as if I was chopping and kneading right along side Jules!! And I wished I would smell the wonderful smells cooking up in that kitchen!! The main characters are all so likable. There is nothing bad to say about this book. Looking forward to the next book in this series, "Caught Bread Handed" coming out in July!!
csrsvivr More than 1 year ago
Who wouldn’t love to get away at a lakefront cottage lodge, right? Jules Capshaw and her mother own an adorable bakery in Ashland, Oregon named Torte. Jules and her mom want to expand their talents and take on a three day catering job at this lodge. Jules will be working with Sterling, a sous chef in training. Sterling is much different than Jules originally thought and is quite quick at picking up what to do. Mom, Helen, is back at Torte with their staff, Andy and Stefanie holding down the fort. Snow, snow and more snow make this catering job just a bit trickier, but when murder happens, nothing remains the same. Unexpected guests arrive; an estranged “Head” chef husband, no cell phone reception, loss of power and changes in altitude make Jules and Sterling constantly re-evaluate their meal choices. How will Jules and Sterling stay focused preparing three meals a day with snacks while solving a murder? Curl up with a hot drink and picture yourself in front of a roaring fire…..how will it end?
weluvdopey More than 1 year ago
Great Series! This is a great series; this is the third book in the A Bakeshop Mystery series by Ellie Alexander. Jules Capshaw runs her own bakery in Ashland, Oregon. It is winter so there are no tourists and fewer customers. She is asked to cater a retreat for the directors of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. When the bartender’s body is found in the freezer, she needs to put her sleuthing skills to the test to find out what really happened. If you are looking for a great mystery that you will not want to put down, then you need to read this book. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. A Review copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. The free book held no determination on my personal review.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
On Thin Icing by Ellie Alexander is the third book in A Bakeshop Mystery series. Juliet “Jules” Capshaw has been back home in Ashland, Oregon for the last six months. Jules found out that her husband, Carlos, of three years had been lying to her. Jules met Carlos while working on a cruise ship. Carlos was the head chef and Jules was the pastry chef. After finding out about Carlos lies, Jules went home to Ashland has since been working with her mother, Helen at the family bakery called Torte. Jules has an opportunity to cater a retreat for the executive board of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (which is based in Ashland). The retreat will be held at Lake of the Woods resort near Ashland. Jules agree to the job and takes their employee, Sterling with her. The resort is beautiful, but the bartender, Tony is obnoxious (and the owner, Mercury is a wee bit flaky and unorganized). Then the unexpected happens. Jules husband, Carlos shows up (thanks to Jules mother). Just what Jules does not need. The next morning Jules is looking for some of their supplies when she finds Tony stuffed in a freezer. They are snowed in at a remote cabin with a dead body and a killer (and Jules estranged husband). This should be a real interesting weekend! Will they be able to find the killer before someone else is killed? On Thin Icing is an easy and quick read. However, I felt it was not as good as the first two books in the series. The book was thin on clues and the focus was not on the mystery (call me crazy but I feel the mystery should be the main focus of a cozy mystery). There was too much emphasis on Jules attraction to Carlos (I got weary about hearing how attractive Carlos was, his sexy accent, and his excellent cooking). Food descriptions to up a big portion of the book (the food sounded delicious, but did the writer have to describe every single thing the people cooked in the book). I give On Thin Icing 3 out of 5 stars. This book was missing the quirky townspeople and the bakery. I also felt that the theme has been done too many times this year. They are stuck in a remote place with a dead body and a murderer. The plus side is the limited suspect pool. The down side is the limited number of suspects (it is an oxymoron). At the end of the book you will find the recipes for the dishes made in the story as well as a sneak peak of Caught Bread Handed (the next book in the series). I received a complimentary copy of On Thin Icing from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
ReadYourWrites More than 1 year ago
Wonderful characters & intriguing mystery. Ellie Alexander is a new author to me, however, I’ve had my eyes on the Bakeshop Mystery series since the first book Meet Your Baker. When I was offered a chance to read On Thin Icing, I jumped at the opportunity. On Thin Icing is the third book in the series and can definitely be read as a standalone. This installment of the series finds Juliet “Jules” Capshaw working on extending the Torte brand. She has accepted a weekend catering job from Lance, the artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, to cater a board retreat weekend at the lovely mountain resort of Lake of the Woods. Ellie has created a wonderful world for her equally wonderful characters to exist in. Ashland, Oregon is described as picturesque with falling snow and a true sense of community. Jules is a pastry chef who has returned to her hometown, after deciding to take a break from her marriage. She is a little torn between her feelings for Thomas (her once high school boyfriend, who she has reconnected with) and her feelings for Carlos, her estranged husband. I found On Thin Icing to be like having a cooking instructor inside a cozy mystery. While Jules is trying to figure who the murder is, she’s also offering the reader up cooking tips. Who knew so much could happen in one weekend. Not only does Carlos show up unexpectedly, but Jules discovers a dead body. Add to that, a blizzard has knocked out all the power to the resort, the roads are impassable and Jules and everyone at the resort are stuck with a murderer in close proximity. To the rescue comes Thomas and the Professor, who don’t actually have jurisdiction over the resort, but are the only ones who can reach the resort and start the investigation. My one true negative of the book was that the murder didn’t occur until about 30% in. I personally like to have my death happen earlier on. Ellie Alexander made up for that with little breadcrumbs to keep you guessing. I admit to figuring out who the killer was and then second guessing myself. Since I’m admitting to things....Knowing Carlos was going to show up, I predetermined that I wanted Jules to be with Thomas. But after meeting Carlos and finding out what secret put a strain on their marriage, I can now say that Carlos is an interesting character and I think Jules should give him another chance. I am definitely looking forward to returning to Ashland, Oregon to find out what other cooking tips and murders are served up. **Received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest unbiased opinion.**
TessT More than 1 year ago
Ellie Alexander writes the Bakeshop mysteries and the Pacific Northwest mystery series. On Thin Icing is Ellie's 3rd Bakeshop Mystery. Catering in really not Jules number 1 job to do. But as winter has moved into Ashland, and the tourists are all gone, their bakeshop, Torte, is starting to feel the lack of customers. Jules decides to take the catering job at Lake Of The Woods resort, she also brings along her employee, Sterling, to act as her sous chef. As Jules and Sterling arrive there, Jules must learn quickly that everything that occurs is not her responsibility. When Jules discovers the body of Tony the bartender in the freezer, it's not her problem. When Jules ex-husband Carlos and Thomas, the detective sent to investigate the case start to act like children, it's not her problem. Or is it? Jules thought that the catering job would be a piece of cake (I know,I know) but I think that we all knew better. I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
CozyMysteryLover1 More than 1 year ago
I have not read any of the earlier books in this series, but I absolutely loved this book. I will be reading the earlier books so I can catch up. It was easy to follow the story and I found myself cooking right along with Jules and Sterling. Jules has returned home and is working in the family bakery, Torte. Unfortunately it's winter in Ashland and cold weather is keeping the customers away. When Jules is offered a chance to cook for a weekend retreat she has no idea just what she is in for. Constant snowfall, frigid temps and power outages are just a few of the problems Jules encounters. when Jules finds a dead body she has no choice but to help find the murderer. This book will keep you on your toes from beginning to end! I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my fair and honest review.