- Title: Chilled to the Cone
- Series: Bakeshop Mystery #12
- Author: Ellie Alexander
- Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
- Publication Day: December 29, 2020
- Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
- Genre: Cozy Mystery
- My rating: 4 stars
The deep freeze has thawed in Ashland, Oregon and Torte is gearing up for a busy spring. When a surprise opportunity to launch a pop-up ice cream shop comes her way, Jules jumps at the chance to showcase Torte’s signature iced drinks and cold custards. But selling the desserts of her dreams comes at a price. . .and, before she knows it, Jules’s life swirls into a nightmare. One of the town’s most colorful characters, a street performer known for wearing capes and a cone-shaped hat, turns up dead just as Torte 2.0 is set to open its doors. Can Jules get the scoop on what happened to “The Wizard” of Ashland before her new business venture reaches a chilling conclusion?
This was my first visit to Ashland, Oregon with Jules, but it won’t be my last! This is the twelfth in Ellie Alexander’s Bakeshop Mystery series. I didn’t know all of the backstory, but I was able to glean enough information from this book that I didn’t feel too lost.
I love a good cozy mystery, and Alexander hits the cozy nail on the head with this one. Jules is a likable protagonist, and the food theme in cozies is one of my favorites. Here, Jules’ friend Laney lets her know about an available space in Ashland’s Railroad District. After some consideration, Jules and her crew move ahead with opening Torte 2.0, a second location that will serve ice cream, iced coffees, and other cool treats. The renovation is put on hold, however, when The Wizard, a local colorful character, ends up dead. Who could have killed him, and why? In addition to sorting out where she and Carlos stand and getting the new space ready, Jules has to investigate the mystery.
This was a lot of fun to read! The recipes and descriptions of all the treats were positively drool-worthy, and I wish I lived in Ashland and could really go to Torte to try some of them. The mystery was an engaging one, with clues and hints, but not so many as to give away the ending too early.
In addition to the food and the crime to be solved, the story also looked at several relationships. Carlos has come to Ashland and left the high seas behind, but Jules fears he misses the cruise ship life more than he loves her. I adore the Professor and his relationship with Jules’ mom. I’m probably more of an age with those two characters, and they just make me smile. And Lance, who is apparently something of a playboy, not much for settling down, may have been stricken by Cupid’s arrow at last. A story with richly drawn relationships, whether longstanding and comfortable or brand-new, is always a treat to read.
Whether you’re new to the series or all caught up already, this latest addition to the Bakeshop Mystery series will satisfy your craving for a good cozy read! I’ll definitely be reading the first eleven to get myself up to speed. Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance reader copy.