Death Gone A-Rye
A Bread Shop Mystery
by Winnie Archer
About Death Gone A-Rye
Death Gone A-Rye (A Bread Shop Mystery)
In the Northern California seaside town of Santa Sofia, a killer is trying to get a rise out of baker’s apprentice Ivy Culpepper . . .
Vincent van Dough focaccia is being touted on Instagram as the best thing since sliced bread. By strategically placing chives, olives, and yellow peppers to look like poppies and sunflowers, bakers create a mouthwatering masterpiece in the style of the great postimpressionist painter. At Yeast of Eden, where bread making has always been an art, they’re baking their own version for the school district’s Spring Fling.
But one person won’t be tasting the Mexican bakery’s latest specialty. Ambitious school board president Nessa Renchrik has been murdered. Like the rest of this close-knit community, Ivy is shocked. But she’s just as surprised to discover her beau—restaurateur Miguel Baptista—had his own fling with Nessa back in the day and now the police have this half-baked notion he might have killed her. It’s up to Ivy, her boss Olaya Solis, and eighty-six-years-young Penelope Branford to separate the wheat from the chaff to determine who the real culprit is . . .
About Winnie Archer
The indefatigable Winnie Archer is a middle school teacher by day and a writer by night. Born in a beach town in California, she now lives in Colorado. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with both yoga and chocolate, adores pumpkin spice lattes, is devoted to her five kids and husband, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams. Visit her online at WinnieArcher.com.
Death Gone A-Rye by Winnie Archer has Ivy Culpepper enjoying the wedding of her best friend and her brother in Santa Sofia, California. She notices Capt. Craig York looking at his phone and then consult with the bride, Sheriff Emmaline Davis. It turns out that Santa Sofia school board president, Nessa Renchrik has been murdered. Unfortunately, Capt. York narrows his sights in on Miguel Baptiste, Ivy’s boyfriend. It turns out that Miguel dated Nessa over ten years ago and saw her the week before her death. Ivy knows that Miguel did not harm Nessa. Thankfully, there are plenty of suspects. Ivy with help from Penelope Branford, retired schoolteacher, and Olaya Solia, owner of Yeast of Eden, set out to sift through the clues and uncover the killers’ identity. Death Gone A-Rye is the 6th tale in A Bread Shop Mystery series. It can be read as a standalone if you are new to the series or if you have missed a book or two. The story is well-written with developed, likeable characters. There is a diverse cast of characters. I especially love Mrs. Penelope Branford. I hope I am like Mrs. Branford when I am in my 80s. It is always pleasant to visit Santa Sofia. The pacing is a slow for my taste. A little action would have helped. It was wonderful to see Billy and Emmaline get their happily ever after. I enjoyed the descriptions of the bread offered at the reception. The Vincent Van Dough focaccia sounded beautiful (you should look them up online). The mystery was multifaceted. There are several good suspects in the death of Nessa. I am surprised the list was not longer after learning more about the victim. Ivy questions a number of people in her quest for the truth. There are good clues (if you pay close attention to the details) to help you identify the killer. I like everything tied together and the complete resolution. The ending will leave a smile on your face. I do feel that the story needs more humor. That is the one thing lacking for me. There are recipes at the end for Van Dough Focaccia Bread Art along with helpful bread making tips. Death Gone A-Rye is an appetizing cozy mystery with fancy focaccia, a bothered bride, a surplus of suspects, a framed fella, curious clues, and a cantankerous captain.
“Are those sourdough?” Miguel asked. He pointed to a cluster of dinner rolls. Instead of having a rounded top, each looked like the dough had been rolled into a strand, then knotted and sprinkled with white and black sesame seeds.
“Yes. Made with fresh-milled local rye, spelt, and, por supuesto, wild yeast.”
“Of course. Only wild yeast,” Miguel agreed with a smile.
“You laugh, but it makes a huge difference,” she said.
Miguel threw up his hands. “I am not laughing. I know the importance of your traditions and the best ingredients.”
Olaya nodded her head, just once. It was her acknowledgment that she knew Miguel understood. She released my arm, took up a napkin, and used it to rearrange a few of the rolls to better balance the display. Miguel slipped his arm around me, pulling me close. “You look beautiful,” he said. With his free hand, he played with the loose strands of my hair. “I like the updo.”
I gingerly patted the back of my head. My hair tended toward unruly, but the clips and bobby pins were keeping it controlled at the moment. My coquettish reply was stalled when the door from the patio flung open and a man stepped through. It was David Soul’s look-alike. He had his phone in his hand again, but this time he held it to his ear. “I’ll tell her, but she’s leaving on her honeymoon. Don’t worry. I’ll handle it.”
Miguel and I looked at each other. This was the captain in the sheriff’s department, and he was clearly talking about Emmaline. “Will do,” he said into his phone. He snapped the device onto the phone clip strung onto his belt, then looked up, noticing us for the first time. A wee bit concerning for a crime investigator. I thought spacial awareness and observation would be key to his position.
“Sorry ’bout that,” he said. He looked at me. “You’re Ivy, right? Culpepper? Sister of the groom?”
I nodded. I’d originally placed him in his late forties, but up close, he looked younger. Maybe forty or fort-yone. His skin was tanned, and with his blond hair and white teeth, he wore his age well. I wondered how he felt about having a female boss who was younger than him, hoping he was the progressive sort who celebrated women in power.
“The sheriff has mentioned your, um, contributions to the department.”
Contributions. That was one way to put it. Crime solving was another. I was an apprentice baker at Yeast of Eden, but I had also found myself acting as a Santa Sofia sleuth lately. “She’s mentioned you, too. She was thrilled to steal you from San Luis Obispo.”
He nodded but didn’t continue the chitchat. “There’s been a . . . an incident. Good to see you.” He nodded to Miguel, acknowledging him, although they hadn’t formally met, before turning on his cowboy-booted heel and heading back outside.
From his conversation on the phone and his demeanor, I knew he didn’t want to burden Emmaline with whatever incident had happened, but she was the sheriff and I knew he had to. I pulled away from Miguel. “I’ll be right back,” I said, and started after him.
“Stay out of it,” Miguel called after me.
I couldn’t promise that until l knew what it was. I looked over my shoulder and smiled. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said, and before he could tell me exactly what he was thinking, which was that I didn’t need to get wrapped up in another murder, I was back on the patio and making a beeline for Em and Billy.
The Avid Reader
I love this series and can't wait to read this book.ReplyDelete
Sounds great! love the variety of decorated bread in this post.ReplyDelete
Love the cover.ReplyDelete