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FUDGE AND JURY: A Bakeshop Mystery ~Ellie Alexander

Monday, January 16th, 2017

“A delectable tale of murder and intrigue…This bakeshop mystery is a real page-turner, and we look forward to other in the series, just as tasty.” (Portland Book Review)

FUDGE AND JURY finds us in Ashland, Oregon in the most marvelous Bakery one can imagine, which is located just down the street from the Historic Ashland Springs Tower Hotel and the Shakespearian Festival Campus.   Ashland is one of the favorite sites on my list of best places to visit even though I have never seen a play or the Festival in my visits.  I have stayed at the Ashland Springs Hotel and eaten at the pubs after strolling through the wonderful downtown with its marvelous shops and lovely people.  Ashland is also known for it’s snow and ski adventures.

Juliet has moved back to her hometown with a broken heart.  She left Ashland to go to culinary school and then worked on a series of cruise ships where she met her husband Carlos, another chef, who omitted that he had a son and the discovery, was an undoing.   Our lead character has come home to TORTE her parent’s bakery; now run by her mom alone they are busy preparing for the March Chocolate Festival, the biggest Chocolate event in the Pacific Northwest.  The bakery is also getting a kitchen remodel with new ovens arriving and lots of painting and inventory.  Hands are busy and the rain is raining heavy and hard.

“Food is an expression of art and love.”

The book is part of a series and Alexander includes incredible descriptions of textures and smells of the lovely baking, coffee, and chocolate wafting through the building.  There is a cozy feeling to the whole adventure.  There is also a relationship theme to the story.  The workers at TORTE form an interesting group and community; it is evident that there is respect for each other and a joy in their efforts. They each experience the town’s citizens and good people as worthy of respect. At the chocolate festival, Juliet and her mother are encouraging to the other participants and assist the new entrants in their efforts.  It is this caring cooperative spirit that attaches to Juliet’s curiosity and questioning and assists in developing the solution to the murder!

This is a gentle read with some interesting problems to solve and certainly makes one want to read the next in the series and to eat some lovely food, especially chocolate.  Ellie Alexander has created a delightful read with FUDGE AND JURY.

A TLC Book Tours Book

“Ellie Alexander writes the bestselling Bakeshop Mystery series for St. Martin’s Press, set in the Shakespearean town of Ashland, Oregon and featuring a romantic, artisan pastry chef, Juliet Montague Capshaw.

Ellie 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.”

Ellie Alexander Twitter 
Ellie Alexander Facebook

Related:
The Garden Plot
The Skeleton Garden
The Last Camellia

Hosanna

Monday, April 2nd, 2012
women in black poster

Women in Black poster

I guess I am a fool, but I am not attending worship services again this important week.  There is no one to celebrate a Seder and our faith community just schedules their gathering with the ever growing group of Temple friends.  I do not attend most Christian services anymore because it is such a huge event of Entertainment – which means tons of fancy clothing and perfume.  Add all the visitors with out-gasing toxic laundry products, shampoos and deodorants it makes the gathering a nightmarish, experience.   This year I decided to watch the news instead.

Too much US vs. THEM I turned it off and went walking and to smell the flowers.  When I returned home an old 1990 day planner called the Everywoman’s Almanac  caught my eye.  I could not remember why I did not throw it out; I did remember the lovely bookstore where I purchased it and how important it was to me. I truly savored the brief stories and art that surrounded the days of the week.   When I opened it, I knew why I could not throw it away and what an amazing record of my hours spent working for PEACE.

I would like to share two of the excerpts from the book.  The first piece is about Felicia Langer   an Israeli human rights lawyer and activist.  All of her work has been defending Palestinians and Israeli dissidents.  In 1988, she was the vice president of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights.

When I came to Israel in 1950 I saw that there was an Arab population under military rule.  I couldn’t understand how it was possible that we, the Jews, who were discriminated against so much, could put another people in a prison.  I felt suffocated.

The second stage of suffocation occurred in 1967 when the oppression in the Occupied Territories began.  I had been a lawyer for two years and I said to myself, “I have a skill, I can do something.  I have to do something, otherwise I cannot survive.”  I decided to open an office in Jerusalem.

I was told, “You’re a Jew, an Israeli, and a woman, why should Arabs believe you, and you don’t even speak Arabic?”  Everybody was skeptical.  The mother of my first client came and spoke about her son’s shirt which was stained with blood from his torture in Hebron prison.  I thought about my son, Michael.  I didn’t speak, but if felt as though there was no barrier between us.  We became friends then, without a language, without common culture or origin.  You can lie with words, but it’s very hard to lie if you feel something very strongly.

For years we had to fight in order to have a line in the papers about the Occupied Territories.  Now it is better.  We have peace forces and a strong opposition.  But I am not satisfied with the amount of people who are protesting the Occupation.  Every day, the death toll is terrible.  A society that is tolerating murders is cultivating murder.  This tolerance is a tragedy, not only for the Palestinians but also for us.  Therefor we have to expose the ugliness of what is happening.  If they want to beautify it, we have to expose it relentlessly.

I have so much love for everything which is human, that it is hard to speak about being self-hating.  What I really hate is discrimination, I hate inflicting pain and sorrow and I hate murderers.  But I very much love those who are fighting against them.

I got a prize at Dachau in memory of a German lawyer who fought against fascism.  I asked my friends, “Munich is so close to Dachau.  Didn’t you know what was going on?”  They answered, “Those who didn’t want to know, didn’t know.”  It’s the same in Israel.  Nobody can live with the excuse that they don’t know.  I think that silence in such a time is complicity.”

The second piece is about the “Women in Black” group which was organized in 1988. Our group still meets at the busiest intersection of the city on Friday nights during rush hour.    Mothers are still silently praying for peace all over the world.

Women in Black organized a weekly gathering in Jerusalem.  Every Friday form 1pm to 2pm, about eighty women dressed in black gather and stand in a circle holding black signs that read “End the Occupation.”  They have been gathering since January 1988, a month after the Intifada, the current Palestinian uprising in the Occupied Territories, began.

More than 3,000 women, Jewish and Arab, have contributed to a quilt by adding a square containing her name and a political slogan, saying or poem.

So here we have arrived with a week of eating unleavened bread and waving branches of palm to mark our sorrow and all around me is the ravages of Us vs. Them – Jesus was all about giving to Caesar what was Caesars; healing and peace.    I guess we are just celebrating bling these days with plenty of chocolate on the side.

How are you working on peace?   Do you want to know?  Do you want to see?

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s   from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket!

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