Earlier this year while browsing Booktube I was introduced to the Bakeshop Mystery series by Ellie Alexander. I was instantly intrigued as this series was set in Ashland, Oregon, which is a place near and dear to my heart. I have many fond memories of Ashland and the Oregon Shakespeare festival throughout my life, going to the Shakespeare Festival was a tradition for my dad and I. Needless to say, I was both excited and cautious when I picked up the first book in the series, Meet Your Baker.
This series centers around Juliet, who has recently returned home to Ashland, Oregon to help her mother at their bake shop, Torte. Obviously murder and mayhem ensues and soon Jules is knee deep in the mystery.
I was pleasantly surprised by how vividly Ellie Alexander painted Ashland and how accurate the descriptions of this section of the city were. After reading this first book I was completely hooked. Her writing is descriptive and rich, with humor and playfulness woven in. While reading this book I was completely immersed, not just because of the story but because of how perfectly she painted the atmosphere of Ashland itself. It’s one of my favorite places so I readily admit I’m biased, but that may have also made me a harsher critic if it wasn’t as perfect as it is.
I immediately started collecting the next couple books in the series but as of yet hadn’t had a chance to continue (the TBR struggle is real). I added not only the books from the Bakeshop series to my wish list, but also her other series both under Ellie Alexander, but her other name Kate Dyer-Seeley.
This past week I got an email from my favorite local bookstore, Oregon Books, notifying me of an author event they were having. Imagine my surprise (and delight) when it was Ellie Alexander. My internal fangirl did a little dance and I immediately put it on my calendar. I didn’t know what to expect, but was just excited that I would get to meet a local author whose work I truly enjoy. The event was amazing, the intimate setting allowed us to have a great discussion about her different series, how they came to be, her writing process and more. If I didn’t already want to read everything she had written, this would have definitely made me want to. It was obvious that she puts some of herself into each story she writes and that serves to make her work more inviting and full of depth. Listening to her talk about the places she writes about (all of which she has visited) made me want to visit them all, even those I’ve been to many times throughout my life. I was able to get books from a couple of her other series which I can’t wait to pick up.
I would have recommended her books before meeting her, but after meeting her and getting to spend time with her I want to recommend her even more. If you are looking for a new cozy mystery, definitely check her out. If a bakeshop/food centered mystery isn’t your thing, she has three other series available that focus on other themes. There’s the Pacific Northwest Mysteries (her first series) which center around Meg, who wants to be a serious investigative reporter but ends up working for an outdoor magazine – even though she doesn’t know much about outdoor activities. Her Rose City mystery series centers around a floral shop in Portland, Oregon where our main character Britta works with her aunt Elin. Last (but definitely not least) is the Sloan Krause Mystery series, set in Leavenworth, Washington with a theme of brewing craft beers.
(All cover images link to the Amazon pages for the books)