In Peppermint Peril
A Tea and Read Mystery
By Joy Avon
Author Twitter: VivWrites
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
In the run-up to Christmas Eve, organizer of book-themed tea parties Callie Aspen and her lovable Boston terrier will have to conquer threefold trouble—a mysterious will, a missing heirloom and a dead body—to restore the festive spirit to their small town.
This Christmas, Callie Aspen returns to her childhood hideout Heart’s Harbor, Maine where her great aunt runs Book Tea, a vintage tearoom where every sweet treat contains a bookish clue. Upon arrival in the fairy-tale snowy town, Callie is drawn into the preparations for a special tea party at Haywood Hall, the rambling house of Heart’s Harbor’s oldest resident, rich but lonely widow Dorothea Finster, who invited her estranged relatives, old friends and the elite of the town to make a mysterious announcement about her will.
Believing they can touch a part of her fortune, everybody is determined to come, despite not liking each other or even their hostess. And Callie’s old friend Sheila complicates things by using the tea party to announce her daughter’s engagement, even though her daughter isn’t sure she’s in love with the young lawyer her mother thinks so perfect for her.
Catering to people who each have their own agenda isn’t easy for the Book Tea crew, especially once the valuable engagement ring goes missing and a dead body turns up in the conservatory. Can Callie and her great aunt use their love of clues to dig into the crimes and show their unhappy hostess and squabbling guests the true Christmas spirit? (Goodreads)
In Peppermint Peril, the first book in the Tea and Read Mysteries series, by Joy Avon is a Christmas themed cozy mystery. I chose to read this book because, well, I like Christmas themed stories, I like peppermint, I like cozy mysteries and finally, I like starting at the beginning of a series.
In Peppermint Peril begins with Callie Aspen returning to Heart’s Harbor, where, as she was growing up, she spent the holidays. We learn that college and then Callie’s job as a tour guide for Travel the Past, an agency specializing in trips to historic venues, are what has kept Callie away. This year however, Callie is back in Heart’s Harbor with her Great Aunt Iphy (Iphigeneia), helping Iphy with a catering job at Haywood Hall. Haywood Hall is a majestic property, with historical site possibilities. Dorothea Finster, the matriarch has invited a select group to attend this event with the intent of disclosing the contents of her updated will. As the event unfolds, a number of things happen…first, the engagement ring that was to be in the box on the cake table is gone and second, a scream occurs and not surprisingly, a dead body is found!
With a mystery or two at hand, Callie feels the need to unofficially help the police, as she knows the community and people more than Deputy Falk. Well, having an amateur sleuth involved surely will make this investigation go smoothly ☺ (I say, tongue in cheek). What transpires is a pleasant read with a bit of mystery… and of course, a bit of romance.
I found Callie quite methodical in her whittling down of the suspects. In due time, both mysteries (missing ring and the murder) were solved. I also loved Callie’s dog – Daisy, the Boston Terrier. She was quite the character. Stealing the show at times ☺.
When determining how I would rate the book, I found that the mystery was done well enough but I frankly found the characters blasé. I also felt there was no warmth with the characters and their interactions with each other. All in all, it was an enjoyable read in that it kept me occupied for the entire read. However, I did find the story a bit flat, nothing to make me really want to continue on in the series ☹. We shall see.
I must say though, I really loved the cover art. Certainly depicted many of the things I love about the holiday season (namely peppermint sticks).