Review of Tea and Treachery by Vicki Delaney

In this charming new cozy mystery series from nationally bestselling author, Vicki Delany, a New York City expat-turned-Cape Cod tea shop owner must solve the murder of a local real estate developer to help her feisty grandmother out of a jam . . .

 As the proud proprietor and head pastry chef of Tea by the Sea, a traditional English tearoom on the picturesque bluffs of Cape Cod, Roberts has her hands full, often literally. But nothing keeps her busier than steering her sassy grandmother, Rose, away from trouble. Rose operates the grand old Victorian B & B adjacent to Lily’s tea shop . . . for now. An aggressive real estate developer, Jack Ford, is pushing hard to rezone nearby land, with an eye toward building a sprawling golf resort, which would drive Rose and Lily out of business.

 Tempers are already steaming, but things really get sticky when Ford is found dead at the foot of Rose’s property and the police think she had something to do with his dramatic demise. Lily can’t let her grandmother get burned by a false murder charge. So she starts her own investigation and discovers Ford’s been brewing bad blood all over town, from his jilted lover to his trophy wife to his shady business partners. Now, it’s down to Lily to stir up some clues, sift through the suspects, and uncover the real killer before Rose is left holding the tea bag.

Available on Amazon.

Lily, Bernie and Rose to the rescue in this cute, tea-filled cozy mystery.

I’m a coffee lover but I do enjoy a cup of tea, especially one brewed from a well-balanced leaf blend. I adored the way the author threw in tea descriptions and preparation advice. I guess I’ll have to really think about getting that tea kettle…

Tea aside, this is the first book in the A Tea by the Sea Mystery series by Vicki Delaney. I’ve been meaning to try this author for ages and was quite pleased to find this book on NetGalley. I was not disappointed as I found the Cape Cod setting to be delightful, the characters to be fun and the mystery quite interesting.

So who killed developer Jack Ford? It’s not as if he’s anyone’s bestie. Well, there’s his girlfriend who seems to have been completely in love with him. But there’s also his wife… yeah… and there’s his business partner, local politicians, swindled clients, a neighbour and of course Rose, our heroine’s grandmother who’s the police’s top pick. We know it’s not Rose but we’ve got lots of clues, red herrings and motives to consider against other suspects. The story keeps a great pace and I was never bored while reading. The big reveal is wonderfully dramatic, but I do feel we could have had a dusting more crumbs to help lead to that conclusion.

Lily is our heroine and she’s just opened a charming teahouse in Cape Cod, close to her grandmother’s B and B. Too close perhaps, Lily might think as Rose has her granddaughter involved in all aspects of the business and then her social and investigative shenanigans too! I quite enjoyed reading from Lily’s perspective. She’s fun but yet committed to her goal of running a successful teahouse. There’s a handsome gardner who’s clearly interested in finding out more about our intrepid main character, but Lily is determined to keep her business focus. Thank goodness for happy, even if giddy, best friends who know just how to bring out the best in their loved ones. Bernie is Lily’s best friend, aspiring writer, new Cape Cod transplant and Rose’s side kick all rolled into one. She also provides some cute moments of comic relief.

On the topic of secondary characters, we have the lazy, incompetent lead detective Williams. He’s smarmy and rude, and easy to dislike. He also ends up the butt of quite a few of Rose’s insults. Fortunately, he’s joined by new detective (to North Augusta, Cape Cod) Amy Redmond. Redmond is definitely the diamond to Williams’ cubic zirconia and by the end of the story, she’s built up a natural and promising almost-friendship with Lily.

Overall, this was a great start to a new series and I look forward to reading more in it! I give Tea and Treachery 4/5 espresso shots… or should it be tea bags in this case….

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