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Tea & Treachery: 08/01/21
Tea & Treachery by Vicki Delany is the start of the Tea by the Sea mystery series. Lily Roberts runs a traditional English tea shop next door to her grandmother's bed and breakfast. The setting is Cape Cod, the second recent mystery to be set there.
Next door is a dilapidated home that a developer is trying to get rezoned so it can be sold, razed, and replaced with with a sprawling hotel and golf course. While the overflow business would be good for Lily and Rose, neither wants to give up their isolation on a cliff overlooking the ocean.
To complicate things and to launch this series as a cozy mystery, the land developer is found dead at the base of Rose's cliffside stairs. Suspicion falls on Rose, so Lily with the help of a newly arrived detective, set to work on investigating the murder.
As this novel is set in a tea shop and one of the main characters is an English woman, there's a lot of time and energy set on proper tea making, the different kinds of tea services, and how to mix and match china. Fans of Victoria Hamilton's Vintage Kitchen mystery series will find the Tea by the Sea books familiar and welcoming territory.
The relationship between Rose and Lily reminds me of Blanche and Clare in Cleo Coyle's Coffeehouse mysteries. Rose has a similar tenacity and convictions to how things should be done. Rose, though, is more demanding than her New York counterpart, but her relationship with her grand-daughter feels genuine and relatable.
For the mystery, I found myself guessing until the end. I had some details figured out but not enough to say with any confidence what happened or who had done it. For two thirds of the book I had the completely wrong person fingered as the murderer.
The second book is Murder in a Teapot and it released on July 27th. I am waiting to listen to the audio, which releases August 24th.