The island fishing village of Eastport, Maine, has plenty of salty local character. It also has a sweet side, thanks to Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree, her best friend Ellie, and their waterfront bake shop, The Chocolate Moose. But when island life is disrupted by the occasional killer, Jake and Ellie put their chocolate treats aside to make sure justice is served.
This summer, Eastport’s favorite lovebirds, kindergarten teacher Sharon Sweetwater and Coast Guard Captain Andy Devine, are getting married. The gala reception is sure to be the fête of the season, especially with a wedding-cake-sized whoopie pie courtesy of The Chocolate Moose. For Jake and Ellie, the custom-ordered confection will finally reel in some much-needed profits. But the celebratory air, and sweet smell of success, are ruined by foul murder.
When Sharon’s bitter ex-boyfriend Toby is poisoned with an arsenic-laced milkshake, Andy is jailed as the prime suspect and the wedding is cancelled, whoopie pie and all. Then Sharon makes a shocking confession—one that sounds like a fishy attempt to get Andy off the hook. Now both the bride and groom are behind bars. And with the fate of The Chocolate Moose at stake, it’s up to Jake and Ellie to catch a poisonous predator before someone else sips their last dessert.
In this second addition to the Death by Chocolate mystery series, readers return to the quaint little Maine town of Eastbrook. Jake and Ellie are struggling with the reality that they may not be able to keep their shop open for much longer. Winters are long and hard on the small town and Jake has come to grips with the fact that running a bakery is expensive and it might be time for them to throw in the towel. On the other hand, Ellie, who is forever an optimist, believes their recent order for a whoopee themed wedding cake might be all they need to make it through. However, when the bride and groom come under suspicion for murdering the town’s womanizing abusive jerk, the two friends become determined to clear their names and ensure the wedding goes forth.
I found that I have mixed emotions about this particular novel. As with the previous one, there are just so many different plot lines being thrown into one novel. A man is murdered, copper pipes are being stolen, a baby is taken from its home, an older women is found tied up in her home, another older woman is found floating in the water after being assaulted, etc. It’s a lot of drama for what is supposed to be a quiet little town and it’s a lot for the reader to digest. I wish the author would cut back on the drama, but I also understand some of the events are needed to uncover who the murderer is. Plus, Jake and Ellie are bakers, not police officers or detectives. So there isn’t any place for a lot of the standard police procedural that can fill out a crime/mystery novel.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel at its core. Once I could push through some of the side plots (or just flat-out ignore them), I found myself invested in uncovering who murdered the town jerk and if The Chocolate Moose was going to be able to survive. Also, this series stems from a longer series that I have not read. In the previous novel, I was confused by a lot of the storylines because of this tie-in. In this novel, I felt the author did a great job of backing up and helping to give some insight for Jake’s past for newer readers. I don’t feel like she has to do this every novel (unless it helps to explain some background on newer crimes/plots), but I’m so thankful that she did because it gave me some much needed clarity into Jake. It also helped to make Jake into a more developed character.
This series has a lot of potential and I look forward to seeing what’s next for Jake and the rest of the Eastport clan.