Genre: cozy mystery
Tucked away in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York is the charming town of Gracious Grove, where time moves slowly, gossip spreads quickly, and the scones are to die for...
When her fashionable Manhattan restaurant goes under, Sophie Taylor retreats to her grandmother's cozy shop, Auntie Rose's Victorian Teahouse, where serenity is steeped to perfection in one of her many antique teapots. The last thing Sophie expects is a bustling calendar of teahouse events, like her old friend Cissy Peterson's upcoming bridal shower.
Not everyone is pleased with the bride-to-be's choice of venue - like Cissy's grandmother, who owns a competing establishment, La Belle Epoque, and has held a long-simmering grudge against Rose for stealing her beau sixty years ago. Tensions reach a boiling point when Cissy's fiancé's mother dies while sampling scones at La Belle Epoque. Now, to help her friend, Sophie will have to bag a killer before more of the guest list becomes a hit list...
As a child, Sophie loved visiting her grandmother in Gracious Grove, and hang out with the local children, but her jet setting mother detested the place, and insisted she go to an expensive boarding school. Sophie became a cordon blue chef, something her mother never understood, and ran an upscale restaurant in New York for years. But when it went bankrupt, she was at a loss for what to do, so when her grandmother invited her over, she gladly went.
Sophie’s grandmother, Rose Freemont, owns a successful teashop, Auntie Rose’s Victorian Teahouse, which she has been running with her equally elderly employee Laverne. They are very busy, hosting several weekly and monthly events and they serve delicious teas and foods. Her grandmother’s former best friend has also opened a teashop next door, called The Belle Epoque, but she serves frozen and store bought goods, and the cheapest ones she can find. Her elderly employee Gilda has to do almost all the work herself, on a very low budget, especially since Thelma broke her hip a few years ago. It is not as successful as grandmother Rose’s teashop, and Thelma doesn’t like that one bit. She does her best to blacken Rose’s name when she can. And now her beloved granddaughter has told her she wants to have her bridal shower in Auntie Rose’s Victorian Teahouse. That sure does not sit well with Thelma.
But Cissy knows what she wants, and she wants the best this time. But to appease her grandmother, she agrees to an engagement tea party at La Belle Epoque. But now she wishes she never agreed, when her mother-in-law to-be, Vivienne Whittaker is murdered by a yellow frosted cupcake. Who poisoned her?
The local police are stumped, and to help her friend Cissy, Sophie starts looking into things. There is a lot of intrigue going on, with the people who attend the local country club, the new development and the possible annexation of it. Politics, and will the town stay dry or will they finally allow alcohol to be served and sold in town? Vivienne who suspected someone to have taken her money.
There are so many suspects here, the movers and shakers of the town, and even Vivienne’s own family ... and of course Thelma Earnshaw who dislikes all the Whittakers, and even Cissy’s brother Phil Petersen, who wants nothing more desperately than to get alcohol into town.
Sophie really enjoys her time in Gracious Grove, meeting up with her old friends Dana, who works in the bookshop owned by Cissy, and running into her former crush Jason Murphy, who is now an English lit teacher.
I really enjoyed this cozy mysteries, and I loved the little bits about the teapot collection most of the characters own. I do have some 40 of them myself, almost all in cottage shape, forming a village with shops. I had to stop collecting when I ran out of windowsill to display them. Of course mine are all just knick knacks, not worth a penny, unlike the priceless antiques described in this book. I would love to join the Silver Spouts!
The mystery was a good one, there were so many undercurrents running through this book. Al was not well in the Whittaker family, and I did not think Cissy really loved her fiancée Francis. Sophie does her best to create some kind of truce between her grandmother and Cissy’s grandmother, Thelma. The old feud really needs to stop, especially when there is talk of a third and very modern tea room in the street ...
And the politics of the new development and the town’s mayor are certainly well written and thought out, I really did not know where to look for the murderer until it was all revealed in the end.
I liked getting to know Sophie and her family, meeting her old friends and thinking about taking over her grandmother’s tearoom instead of going back to New York. I think she will fit in nicely in this village.
I look forward to the next book.
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian