Cover Image: Bread Over Troubled Water

Bread Over Troubled Water

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Member Reviews

This is the eighth installment of the Bread Shop Mystery series and although I haven’t read any of the previous novels in the series, I was fully immersed in the Californian town of Santa Sofia and its charming characters. The main amateur sleuth, Ivy is a photographer and also works part-time at the Yeast of Eden bakery, where one of its customers is found murdered a day after visiting the establishment. The bakery, where the comings and goings of staff and customers all add up to some strategic red herrings and the list of characters do become a bit confusing between them all at some point. However, if I read the previous novels, I believe that wouldn’t have been an issue. What I will say is, I appreciate it when authors include a list of characters at the beginning of their cozy mystery book to help us keep track.

What I especially loved was all the family dynamics surrounding Ivy with the bakery owner's family and the lengths that Ivy was able to conclude who the killer was. The pacing of the story was just right and I was able to solve whodunit in the last quarter of the story.
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Ivy Culpepper is a photographer whose second job is working in a bakery that specializes in bread.  When one of their regulars turns up dead, the rumors start running rampant claiming the bread killed him.  Ivy doesn't have time to investigate as she is busy preparing for her upcoming wedding.  However, she is sure the bakery's food had nothing to do with Josh's murder.  As she delves deeper she finds out Josh was not the upstanding husband, business professional, or friend as he appeared.

This is a fun cozy.  Ivy and her friends are interesting and quirky.  Lost of suspects and the writing style is easy-to-read.  I enjoy a cozies and this one fits the bill.
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Photographer Ivy Culpepper is working in the Yeast of Eden bakery when a customer has been murdered. Josh Prentiss always turned heads with his startlingly good looks and thousand-watt smile. But Ivy can’t help noticing one morning that he seems distracted and off his game. Later, during a visit to the park her rescue pug, Agatha, sniffs out Josh lying dead in a bed of poppies. When the bakery is accused of poisoning him, Ivy decides to investigate to find the truth.
This was a great culinary cozy mystery. Ivy is a very likeable, smart sleuth who cares for her coworkers and family. The plot was so engrossing that I kept on turning the pages to find out whodunnit, but I was surprised by the identity of the culprit in the end. I will definitely read the next installment of this wonderful series. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington for this advanced reader’s copy. This review is my unbiased opinion.
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I really loved this book in a new to my series and author. I can't wait to read the next one. The characters and location really add to the plot. This book keeps you guessing until the end
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Winnie Archer did a great job of misleading you into thinking you had it all figured out. When the killer is revealed, it made perfect sense as the clues had been there all along, I just didn't see them. I am glad that Captain York seems to be easing up on his dislike for Ivy. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
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Bread Over Troubled Water follows Ivy as she attempts to solve a murder that sits too close to home. The customer had just been in her bread shop before they were found dead, and the people closest to her are being blamed. I liked how complicated this mystery was, with many layers and potential motives. Overall, a great read for a foodie who loves cozy mysteries. 

This was a NetGalley review.
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Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher/author for this ARC for an exchange for an honest review. 

Interesting read, worth it.
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i found the “bread shop mystery” series filled with loveable characters and lots of suspense. this was my first time reading an installment from this author and from the beginning i felt like there were lots of names being introduced. this was definitely a female-dominated cast of characters so remembering all their names was a bit overwhelming. i also wasn’t too sure how the rest of santa sofia’s residents were connected to each other but i’m sure that if i read some previous novels or continue on with this series, i’ll be able to sort everything out. “bread over troubled water” had plenty of twists, turns, and red herrings that had me hooked the entire time! i thought it was clever how some classic murder mysteries - like agatha christie’s - were subtly incorporated into the setting and plot … even ivy’s pup is named after the beloved author!

i especially liked the themes of “found family” that was emphasized between the employees at yeast of eden and the other residents of santa sofia and i’m hoping to explore more about ivy and miguel’s relationship. i also couldn’t help but fall for ms. bradford’s determination and charisma. between her, ivy, and agatha, this trio made an unlikely yet exciting team as they paraded around town looking for answers! i’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of them in future novels
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Winnie Archer continues the Bread shop mysteries with Bread over Troubled Water.  Josh is a regular at the bread shop until he is discovered by Ivy's pug dead in the park.  Whodunit? Josh was a philanderer with a long list of defrauded ladies he inveigled out of money for "investments" and cheated on his wife.  Ivy is sleuthing again to defend a friend.  Then someone else is poisoned.  Got to find the murderer quick.  Read cozy and enjoy.
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Photographer Ivy Culpepper also works part-time at the bread shop Yeast of Eden.  Lately she has noticed that Josh Prentiss, who has been working regularly at a table in the bread shop for several months, is acting a bit strange.  Not thinking much of it, she does however notice that several women are apparently not too pleased with Josh.  So is it that surprising when Ivy discovers Josh dead tin he park where she and Miguel plan to hold their engagement party?  Maybe not surprising but the suspects maybe so.

Again, Ivy is front and center when the body is found and she can't stay out of trying to solve the murder because of those she cares about.

Fun mystery, love seeing the characters moving forward.
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This was a very enjoyable story taking place at The Yeast of Eden bakery which is Ivy’s second home and now a member of the community has been murdered and she has to find out who did it with her little side kick a pug.
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Princess Fuzzypants here:  Josh is a very popular guy.  A VERY popular guy.  When Ivy and Miguel stumble across his body in the park where they will be holding their engagement party, they are shocked.  The shocks are just beginning.  Josh was not at all the person he projected.  A serial Lothario who not only cheated on his wife but defrauded the various older women with whom he connected on a dating site.  The man was a sleaze bucket.  He was playing a dangerous game until one of the players decided enough and poisoned him.

Because he was a regular at Yeast of Eden and had been there the morning he died, initially the bakery was in the spotlight as a possible source of the poison.  Ivy felt obligated to help defend her friends and employer.  The more she discovered about the double or triple life Josh was leading, the more suspects she uncovered, including some close to her.  

But when the killer is revealed, it turns out that Josh’s misdeeds started far earlier than anyone imagined.  His past caught up with him.  The reader may be surprised at the villain.  There were enough twists to keep us on our toes.  And entertained.  Well entertained.  Five purrs and two paws up.
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Bread Over Troubled Water is #8 in the Bread Shop Mysteries.  It is the first time I have read a book in this series so it took me quite awhile to settle into the shop and its characters. Ivy works there in part time on a kind of voluntary basis. She is very loyal to the owner Olaya who also happens to be in a relationship with Ivy's father.

When Josh Prentiss is found murdered, by Ivy, and because he has just eaten at the bakery, the immediate public blame falls on the bakery. So Ivy is very motivated to prove they had nothing to do with it. Or did they? And with the elderly pink loving Penelope Branford, Ivy is on a mission. She has friends in high places in the local police - her best friend and well... sister in law. However in the past Captain York has been a bit of a thorn in Ivy's side. In her favour Ivy is someone who shares most of what she finds out with the police.

They mystery was full of red herrings so I never really worked out who the murderer was until Ivy works it out at the very end.

Starting into this book at #8 was workable, however it would have been a lot easier to follow if I had come to know the characters via the previous books.
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Bread Over Troubled Water is a bit on the convoluted side. There are too many characters to track, and some scenarios are not logical. Yeast of Eden, the prime location, sounds delightful if you are really into bread. It is also a place rampant with rumors and the gossip mill. The suspects almost outnumber the main characters, and the evidence is practically non-existent. However, all of that said, it is still a good mystery.

Ivy has long been a character the reader either loves or hates. The bread shop she works at, Yeast of Eden, is always the focal point of this series. I’m not sure why her profession is stated to be a photographer when she rarely seems to have a paying client. The need for her to work at the bread shop might be financial, but it’s doubtful the shop pays much other than in bread, or maybe it’s so she can hear the latest rumor about who is sleeping with whom. For whatever reason, Ivy works there; the best characters in this story are the employees and the customers.

This time around, a customer is poisoned, and all fingers point at the sister of Yeast of Eden’s owner. The rumor mill is circulating one crazy idea after another, and Ivy decides to find the killer to save Olaya’s reputation and possibly her business. As she begins her investigation, she discovers that the victim, Josh, is not the sweet, generous, handsome lady’s man everyone thought he was. Josh is a cold, calculating fraud. The suspects are all women and businesses that trusted the victim, some with their life savings, and all were swindled and have a motive for murder. There are plenty of twists and turns throughout the story. The evidence is slim, and many readers cannot figure out who the killer is. No amount of bread or rumor will help you figure it out.

Overall, Bread Over Troubled Water has good chapters and a few that would have been better left out. Ivy’s engagement party with Yeast of Eden taking center stage will happen, and everyone will be happy, but something about the concussion of this story will linger in readers’ minds. The rumor mill misses quite a few opportunities where Olaya and her sister are concerned. Ivy’s lovely husband-to-be plays a minor part in this story, which is a shame as he is one of the best characters in the series. I had hoped for better from this installment and definitely hope the next book has fewer characters and more intrigue.
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Yeast of Eden is hopping every morning with regulars who drop in to get the delicious and freshly baked goods (recipes provided at the end of the book) from Olaya Solis and staff. That is, until a patron is found dead from poisoning that may or may not have been in his usual Tuesday morning order, a sourdough roll. I would have gone for the breakfast cookie, myself. There is no way that Ivy Culpepper, part time counter clerk and professional photographer is going to let anyone malign her home away from home and the friends she calls family.  Charismatic and soon to be divorced, Josh Prentiss, is a man thought to be a saint by by the athletic department especially the football boosters and a well-to-do financial advisor who is quite tech savvy. Maybe too savvy when it comes to a certain dating app…just ask Olaya’s sister, Martina.  There are plenty of suspects including the widow who isn’t grieving and a harem that is missing him and some of their money. Which leads to Ivy pulling out the sleuthing skills, teaming up with her octogenarian neighbor, Mrs. Branford, and track down the answers, while also getting things ready for the big party.  While this is a stand-alone mystery, and there is plenty of back story to keep you from being lost, it is always more fun to “see” the characters develop not only through a single storyline but the entire series. From Ivy’s arrival back to town to present day as she plans for her future with Miguel, after so many years.
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The Eighth Bread Shop Mystery

A staple in Santa Sofia, Yeast of Eden has its share of regulars, including the charming Josh Prentiss. After a tumultuous morning at the bread shop Ivy Culpepper and her pug, Agatha, take a break in the park that will be the site of her engagement party. Instead of a relaxing stroll, Agatha is on the scent of something else and leads Ivy to Josh's dead body. Before long protests against Yeast of Eden begin, with people claiming it was bread that poisoned the man. With the beloved bread shop in the crosshairs and the owner's sister a suspect, Ivy delves once more into a murder investigation. But will she find a killer, or will a killer find her?
New characters add more layers and decidedly more spice to this eighth Bread Shop Mystery and not everyone is what they seem. While on the surface everyone seemed to love Josh, his true colors are slowly revealed, providing lots of motive to a variety of suspects. Detailed descriptions enrich the drama and immerse readers into the story. I found characters I wanted to smack, and breads I really wanted to eat!

BREAD OVER TROUBLED WATER skillfully blends misdirection, red herrings, and surprising twists into a cleverly written character driven mystery.
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Ivy Culpepper is happily envisioning her upcoming engagement party, to be held in one of the gorgeous parks overlooking the Santa Sofia beach. Her employer and friend Olaya Solis has promised to provide a wall of bread that’s going to be as beautiful and creative (and social media worthy!) as it is functional, providing guests with tasty carbs with which to celebrate the joyous occasion. Olaya is well known throughout their town and beyond as an excellent baker, whose products have perhaps a touch of magic. But when one of the regulars at their Yeast Of Eden bakery abruptly drops dead, Olaya gains an entirely different sort of reputation, one that threatens to shut down her business for good.

Josh Prentiss was the kind of handsome, charming guy who seemed to have a smile for everyone. Popular with the other clientele, he’d often enjoy a simple mid-morning snack of a baked good and coffee while working on his laptop at his regular table. 

He’s thus present for a particularly chaotic shift one day that Ivy is only too glad to see the back of. Soon after Josh leaves the bakery, Ivy manages to escape too, picking up her beloved dog Agatha and heading to the park to meet her fiance Miguel. The happy couple enjoys their walk even as they revel in thoughts of their shared life together. Their idyll is cut short, however, when they find Josh lying dead in a park flower bed.

When word gets out that Josh was poisoned, several of his acquaintances immediately and angrily assume that it was something from Yeast Of Eden that killed him. With demonstrations threatening to kill Olaya’s business and reputation as dead as the dearly departed, Ivy will have to put on her detecting hat in order to get to the bottom of what really happened to her personable regular. But the more she finds out about Josh, the more afraid she becomes that there may be some truth to the rumors, and that the bakery did indeed play a pivotal role in his murder.

Wow, I can’t believe it’s already been eight books in the series! It’s a pleasure to follow along as Ivy’s relationships deepen, even as she helps her best friend and now sister-in-law, Sheriff Emmaline Davis, solve the murders that plague their seaside town. The introduction of Pilar, Olaya’s recently orphaned niece, was also a welcome development in the social fabric of Santa Sofia (and helped Ivy in a critical part of the investigation!)

There were three recipes included, and I decided to try out this fragrant sweet bread:

Lavender Tea Bread

¾ cup milk
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lavender
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan.

Combine the milk and lavender in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat to a simmer, then remove from heat, and allow to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture, alternately with the milk and lavender, until just blended. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for 50 minutes at 350°, or until a wooden pick inserted into the loaf comes out clean.

Cool before serving.

Since I’m not fortunate enough to have fresh lavender quickly to hand, I made do with three teaspoons of dried instead. The scent of the lavender is so wonderful throughout the entire process, making this one of the most pleasant baking experiences I’ve ever had. I do worry that I overworked the dough a little when I alternated adding the flour mixture with the milk and lavender, as the final product came out a little more dense than I anticipated. It was still very delicious – and so fragrant! – especially with butter slathered over it or with a nice cup of tea.

Next week, we whip up a crowd pleasing holiday treat while investigating the crushing death of a critic. Do join me!
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Bread Over Troubled Water is the 8th book in "A Bread Shop Mystery" series. This can be read as a standalone, as the mystery is fully solved in this book, but you will miss out on relationship building as well as character development. I also want to warn you not to read this book or any in the series when you are hungry. The descriptions of the delicious breads, rolls, croissants etc. will have your mouth watering.

In this outing, a patron of Yeast of Eden is poisoned and the shop becomes a target of picketers and media. When owner, Olaya Solis' sister Martina becomes a suspect, she asks Ivy to find out who really killed the man. Of course, Ivy is also invested, as it is her dog, Agatha, who sniffed out the body at the park where Ivy was taking pictures to set up for her engagement party. As Ivy investigates, it turns out that Josh has been defrauding older women and possibly the football booster club. That means there are several suspects, lots of red herrings and twists. Will Ivy find out who killed him?

There is a lot happening in Bread Over Troubled Water. Ivy and Miguel are now engaged and their engagement party is coming up within a week. While trying to plan the party, Miguel is running his restaurant, Ivy is working at Yeast of Eden and investigating Josh's death. The relationships in the book are well developed with Ivy being both the sister-in-law and best friend of the Sheriff. One thing I like about this cozy series is that Ivy shares all information she finds with the police. She also doesn't take a lot of chances. With feisty, octogenarian and retired English teacher, Penelope Branford at her side, they gather information and put two and two together. This is a well written mystery, with great clues sprinkled throughout the story, excellent and well developed characters and an ending that I had not figured out, but fit perfectly. If you are looking for an interesting cozy mystery, with a great story and characters, I recommend you pick up Bread Over Troubled Water, or better yet, start with Kneaded With Death, the first book in this great series.
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An exceptional cozy series where the intricate mystery is counterbalanced by the fully developed cast of unique engaging characters.  And always with the underlying themes of the strength and beauty of friendships and family. Ivy Culpepper has been working at the Yeast of Eden, a truly magical bread shop, since she returned to Sants Sofia after the death of her mother. Now the bread shopi's reputation is threatened  after a regular customer dies. Working to protect her friends, Ivy investigates learning the victim was not the affable man he appeared to be,  but rather a dark and abhorrent  chiseler and cheat.Enjoy the mystery and celebrate the community.
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This is a Cozy Mystery, and this is the 8th book in A Bread Shop Mystery series. I have read and reviewed several of the other books in this series, but I have not read all of them before picking up this book. I do think this book can be read as a standalone, but you would have missed some of the character developed that happen in the other book. I really love the characters in this book, and the mystery in this book was so great. I loved that a lot of this book takes place in the bread shop. The main character of this book is so much fun to follow as she tries to get to the bottom of what really happened. This is a solid cozy mystery. I found the mix of mystery and cute/lite hearted things to be very good. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Kensington Cozies) or author (Winnie Archer) via NetGalley, so I can give an honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.
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