Blog post by Sarah Graves

As many of you already know, the Jake & Ellie “Death by Chocolate” mysteries – including the first in the new series, DEATH BY CHOCOLATE CHERRY CHEESECAKE – are set in the real-life town of Eastport, Maine. That’s where my husband and I moved from Connecticut twenty years ago, and it’s where we’ve stayed – partly because we’ve gotten so busy here, but mostly because it’s just too beautiful to leave. So of course, the place found its way into my work: sometimes into the fiction, other times into the actual physical work of writing, as well.

Two years ago, for instance, we bought an old motorboat. Nothing fancy, but it had a tiny cabin where a writer could hide away, and as a bonus the boat’s battery ran my laptop! So now I spend summer afternoons at a picturesque dock, and if I get any interruptions they’re from birds and an occasional curious seal.

Another great thing about writing in Eastport is that there is so much to do and see! And every bit of it is not only fun in the moment when it’s happening, it also serves as material for the book-in-progress. After all, if I think it’s lovely, funny, scary or just plain weird, Jake and Ellie – and readers, I hope – probably will, too. 

Most of all, though, it’s the small, self-contained intimacy of a tiny island city like Eastport – seven miles long, four miles wide, population about 1200) that makes it so perfect for writing, and especially for cozy writing. We really are all stuck with one another, here, warts and all. And in cozy mysteries, as in life, sometimes that kind of closeness breeds friendships you just can’t find anywhere else.

It’s certainly true for Jake Tiptree and Ellie White, the two intrepid Eastport bakery entrepreneurs who find the secret to success in plenty of chocolate and just the tiniest pinch of murder… Mainers in general do tend to take the direct approach, after all. So living and writing here means all I have to do is make it a little more direct…

After which I add plenty of chocolate, and voila! A treat – and a visit to Eastport, Maine – that I hope readers can enjoy no matter where they are. Happy reading – and eating!


Life just got a little sweeter in the island fishing village of Eastport, Maine. Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree and her best friend Ellie are opening a waterfront bake shop, The Chocolate Moose, where their tasty treats pair perfectly with the salty ocean breeze. But while Jake has moved on from fixing up houses, she still can’t resist the urge to snoop into the occasional murder.

Jake and Ellie have been through a lot together, from home repair to homicide investigation. So when they decide to open a chocolate-themed bakery, they figure it’ll be a piece of cake. With Ellie’s old family recipes luring in customers, they expect to make plenty of dough this Fourth of July weekend. Having family home for the holiday only sweetens the deal for Jake—until the ill wind of an early-season hurricane blows up her plans. When the storm hits, Jake’s grown son Sam is stranded in a Boston bus station, and her husband Wade is stuck on a cargo ship. But as bitter as the storm is, something even more sinister is brewing in the kitchen of The Chocolate Moose—where health inspector Matt Muldoon is found murdered.

Ellie never made a secret of her distaste for Matt, who had been raining on their parade with bogus talk of health code violations. Now, with no alibi for the night of the murder, she’s in a sticky situation with the police—and it’s up to Jake to catch the real killer and keep Ellie living in the land of the free.

Includes a Recipe!

Praise for Sarah Graves and her Home Repair Is Homicide Mysteries!

Dead Cat Bounce

“Graves blends charming, evocative digressions about life in Eastport with an intricate plot, well-drawn characters and a wry sense of humor.” —Publishers Weekly

Triple Witch

Triple Witch is a pleasure to read. Jake Tiptree is an engaging, appealing character.” —Portland Press Herald

Wicked Fix

“Graves has . . . done a fine job of characterization. Readers will especially enjoy the realistic relationship between Jake and her son, Sam.” —RT Book Reviews

Wreck The Halls

“Frequent humor tempers the Down East mannerisms, plucky heroine, and more serious subject matter.” —Library Journal


“Another standout in a series that, unlike the homes it features, needs no fixing up whatsoever.” —Booklist

Nail Biter

“For fans who enjoy nooks, crannies, subplots, and carpentry tips.” —Kirkus Reviews