A Crime of Passion Fruit by Ellie Alexander

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Setting: Aboard the Amour of the Seas, a boutique cruise ship


  • Juliet “Jules” Capshaw: Former full-time pastry chef on a cruise line, current co-owner of Torte, a popular local bakery and cafe in Ashland, Oregon.
  • Carlos: Jules’s estranged husband, head chef on the Amour of the Seas
  • Rocky: Cruise director
  • Helen Capshaw: Jules’ mother and co-owner of Torte
  • The Professor: Police chief detective and boyfriend of Helen

Plot: Before returning home to Ashland, Jules spent several years traveling the world on cruise ships, where she worked as a pastry chef.Her heart – and her feet – are now firmly planted on the ground as she takes on more and more at Torte. But when Carlos calls and asks Jules to fill in for a week aboard the Amour of the Seas, and sweetens the offer by extending an invitation to Helen and the Professor, as well, Jules can’t help but set sail once more. Once on board, Jules finds herself torn between her heart and her head – should she return to the life of a world traveler alongside her husband? Or should she stay back in Oregon with her family and continue to renovate and renew the business her parents built?

The decision isn’t an easy one, especially when her personal debate is sidetracked by an investigation. While taking an early morning stroll, Jules comes across the body of stow-away passenger – dead in the pool. Her already tattered nerves are even more frayed at the thought of a killer on board the boutique cruise ship. It’s up to the Professor and Jules to identify the victim, pinpoint the motive, and isolate the murderer – all while sailing directly into the eye of a storm.

Pacing: Consistent

Predictability: Low

Wild Card: A Crime of Passion Fruit is the sixth book in the Bakeshop Mystery series, which is a favorite of mine. The carefully crafted stories are as enticing as the mouth-watering descriptions of what Jules and her crew are cooking up at the bakery. Over the course of these six books, I’ve gone back and forth along with Jules on the issue of Carlos. At first, I was ready to do away with him. Drop him off the canvas and cheer on a new path with an old flame. But then he came to Ashland and, well, the guy is charming. But now . . . I’m undecided. I’m thrilled that Jules is ready to return to land without another thought of sailing off into the sunset, and I’m equally eager to see what’s next for the remodeling and expansion at Torte. However, I just don’t know if I’m Team Carlos, Team Thomas, or Team Torte! (After all, a gal doesn’t have to have a love interest to be happy and successful!) Needless to say, this delightful and delectable series continues to be a favorite and I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next twists and turns that Ellie Alexander has in store.

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CRIME OF PASSION FRUITTorte–everybody’s favorite small-town family bakeshop–is headed for the high seas, where murder is about to make a splash. . .

Jules Capshaw is trying to keep her cool as Torte gets set to make its transformation from quaint, local confectionary cafe to royal pastry palace. Meanwhile, Jules’s estranged husband Carlos is making a desperate plea for her to come aboard his cruise ship and dazzle everyone with her signature sweets. She may be skeptical about returning to her former nautical life with Carlos but Jules can’t resist an all-expense-paid trip, either. If only she knew that a dead body would find its way onto the itinerary.

“A warm and inviting atmosphere, friendly and likable main characters, and a nasty murder mystery to solve!” —Fresh Fiction

Now, instead of enjoying tropical drinks on deck between whipping up batches of sea-salted chocolates and flambeing fresh pineapple slices in the kitchen, Jules is plunged into dangerous waters. Her investigation leaves her with more questions than answers: Why can’t anyone on board identify the young woman? And how can she help Carlos keep passengers at ease with a killer in their midst? Jules feels like she’s ready to jump ship. Can she solve this case without getting in too deep?

“A perfect mix for fans of Jenn McKinlay, Leslie Budewitz, or Jessica Beck.”
–Library Journal


The Bakeshop Mystery Series

  1. Meet Your Baker
  2. A Batter of Life and Death
  3. On Thin Icing
  4. Caught Bread Handed
  5. Fudge and Jury
  6. A Crime of Passion Fruit

8123142Ellie Alexander, author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series (St. Martin’s Press), 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.

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