Murder in a Teacup
Tea by the Sea Mysteries #2
By Vicki Delany
Author’s website: vickidelany.com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jeanie
National bestselling author Vicki Delany’s delightful Tea by the Sea mystery series continues, as Cape Cod tearoom proprietress and part-time sleuth, Lily Roberts, stirs up trouble when she unwittingly serves one of her grandmother’s B&B guests a deadly cup of tea…
Lily has her work cut out for her when a visit from her grandmother Rose’s dear friend, Sandra McHenry, turns into an unexpected–and unpleasant–McHenry family reunion. The squabbling boils over and soon Tea by the Sea’s serene afternoon service resembles the proverbial tempest in a teapot. Somehow, Lily and her tearoom survive the storm, and Sandra’s bickering brethren finally retreat to Rose’s B & B. But later that evening, a member of their party–harmless Ed French–dies from an apparent poisoning and suddenly Tea by the Sea is both scene and suspect in a murder investigation!
Mercifully, none of the other guests fall ill. They all ate the same food, but Ed insisted on bringing his own special blend of herbal teas. So it seems, amid the whining and dining, someone snuck up to one of Lily’s cherished teapots and fatally spiked Ed’s bespoke brew, but who? Was it Ed’s long-estranged sister-in-law? Did teenage troublemaker Tyler take a prank too far? Or perhaps the family’s feuds have been steeping for longer than anyone realizes? It’s up to Lily, Rose, and their friends to get to the bottom of the poisoned pot and bag the real culprit behind the kettle murder plot. (from Goodreads)
I enjoyed this second in series even more than the first, Tea and Treachery! This talented author brings us a refreshingly different cast of characters, a gorgeous Cape Cod setting, humor, and a mystery with a most unlikely set of sleuths and bad guys.
Grandma Rose owned her gorgeous home-turned-B&B on a bluff overlooking Cape Cod Bay three years before in desperation she asked her granddaughter, Lily, to come help her. Victoria-by-Sea has enjoyed many guests to date. Lily’s primary role there is to prepare breakfast and bake. The bulk of this talented chef’s time is spent at Tea by the Sea, her tearoom converted from an old structure on the property. She caters to tourists and locals, specializing in afternoon tea and excellent baked goods.
Sandra, an old friend of Rose from the decades she lived in Iowa, and Sandra’s family, including the in-laws of her beloved granddaughter, Heather, will be at Rose’s for a family reunion. Heather had married a man who later sold his start-up company for a huge sum of money. They moved to Manhattan and Heather had the life she could never have imagined. He was hit and killed by a cabbie shortly after their move. When Sandra and Heather were going to Victoria-by-Sea, Sandra talked Heather into making it a family reunion and perhaps settle old differences between everyone.
It wasn’t a fun reunion. Except for Sandra, the family squabbled like little children. There was one issue nobody wanted to get over. Heather’s family, the McHenrys, and her late husband’s family, the Frenches, were not willing to set aside long-ago business differences. A couple days into the vacation, the entire family met at Tea by the Sea for a royal afternoon tea. Heather’s brother-in-law Ed wasn’t feeling well that evening and didn’t join the family when they went out to dinner. Late that night, his wife Trisha called an ambulance; he was taken to the hospital and later died. Several tried to blame Lily’s tearoom staff until opposing family members squabbled more family dirty laundry.
The regular characters are likable and well depicted. Rose and her old friend Sandra are octogenarians but seem at least a decade younger. They enjoy evenings on the veranda talking about their lives, families, and old times in Iowa. Lily most resembles Rose in appearance, but the outgoing personality of Bernie, a childhood friend of Lily, is like Rose’s. When it comes to adventure, Rose and Bernie are in it from the first minute; Lily, an introvert, is usually reluctant to go along. One thing I appreciated is that Lily’s primary focus is the B&B for Rose and establishing the tearoom as opposed to actively seeking a relationship.
Rose and Bernie were prepared to do all they can to find who killed Ed so Sandra’s family could go back to Iowa and Rose’s next booked guests can arrive unhindered. Lily was a reluctant sleuth, at least until Rose’s life was put in jeopardy, then the gloves came off. She asked questions and gathered information and brainstormed with Bernie and Rose. There was no end of suspects in this family! Nobody felt right, however, and oh, was I surprised to learn the truth! The ultimate plot twist showed who the real killer was. The mystery and ending are very satisfying, and I highly recommend it.