Review of Tea With Milk and Murder by H.Y. Hanna

Tea With Milk and Murder is Book 2 in the Oxford Tearoom Mystery series and another cute, cozy, intiguing read.

While at an Oxford cocktail party, tearoom owner Gemma Rose overhears a sinister conversation minutes before a University student is fatally poisoned. Could there be a connection? And could her best friend Cassie’s new boyfriend have anything to do with the murder?
Gemma decides to start her own investigation, helped by the nosy ladies from her Oxfordshire village and her old college flame, CID detective Devlin O’Connor. But her mother is causing havoc at Gemma’s quaint English tearoom and her best friend is furious at her snooping… and this mystery is turning out to have more twists than a chocolate pretzel!

Too late, Gemma realises that she’s could be the next item on the killer’s menu. Or will her little tabby cat, Muesli, save the day?

Available on Amazon and via Kindle Unlimited.

The mystery to solve in this one is who killed Sarah Waltham, a spoiled art student who had the hots for Gemma’s best friend’s boyfried. To say that Sarah has her enemies would be an understatement. The picture painted of this fine art(ist) is bleak.  She made enemies at school, at home and made a nuisance of herself at Jon Kelsey’s business place. This all means there are quite a few suspects for us to consider. Some suspects are more than justified in their borderline hatred for the victim and others seem just a touch unlikely. The clues and red herrings are revealed frequently enough to up the story’s pace and keep the reader’s attention. The big reveal at the end is a bit more dramatic than I’d expected but it’s fully entertaining, especially as Gemma’s kitty, Muesli, plays quite a role. 

Another element that keeps the reader’s attention is the characters. The Old Biddies (though I do wish we had a better title for these more mature, mischievous ladies) are hilarious. They’re available and excited to help Gemma when she needs it; and determined to investigate even when no one wants them to. Their banter and freindship make the story even cuter.  Gemma’s mom plays a bigger role in this story and it’s funny to read about her online shopping infatuation and to see her and Gemma’s relationship evolve. Speaking of evolving relationships, things with the sexy Devlin heat up a bit. Turns out that Gemma’s ex may be ready to forgive the past after all. I can’t wait to see if date number 2 works out well for them.

One relationship that is tested in this one is the friendship between Cassie and Gemma when Gemma lets slip that she suspects Jon may have been involved in the murder. Perhaps Gemma could have been a little more sensitive about the matter and a little less shocked that Cassie is royally upset by her attitude. However, it makes for great cozy mystery character building reading!

The setting is, of course, beautiful. I mean, it’s the English Cotswolds. Such an elegant, charming setting that it has inspired writers, academics and artists for centuries. I love that the author translates some of that charm onto the pages of this mystery. That said, in some cases, it was a bit much. Once or twice I found the descriptions to be excessive enough to cause a lag in the story’s pace. Thankfully the beauty of the descriptions and the actual story itself make up for that. 

Finally, the food. I have to say between the pub grub and teashop offerings, it’s been hard sticking to healthy eating while reading this story. Oh, there’s a gorgeous description of a velvet cheesecake that’s a new hit at the teashop. Bonus: the recipe is included at the end. 

Overall I really enjoyed this cozy mystery and give it 4/5 espresso shots!

11 thoughts on “Review of Tea With Milk and Murder by H.Y. Hanna

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  1. Nice review Nini. I have read a couple in this series and agree, the name of the ladies, The Biddies, isn’t my favourite either. I need to get back to this series, it sounds like it is still very well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I live on the edge of the Cotswolds, Nina, and I certainly wouldn’t venture out there after dark…As for The Old Biddies, even though the author attended Oxford University I wonder if she realises that it is a term not used that often here – not in my experience anyhow – and when biddy is used it is mainly as a pejorative. Having said that, I am trying to think of a kinder alternative and I am having difficulties…Great review, btw!!

    Liked by 1 person

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