Tea & Treachery
Tea by the Sea Mystery, Book #1
By Vicki Delany
Author Website: vickidelany(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
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. (Goodreads)
Tea & Treachery is the debut book in the Tea by the Sea cozy mystery series by the prolific Vicky Delany. Since I have enjoyed many of Delany’s other books, I did not hesitate to pick up this title. What could be better than a cozy Cape Cod setting, a Bed & Breakfast, and a tea shop all in one book?
Actually, it is a bit of a mixed bag. The setting is fantastic with lots of potential for future murder opportunities, the mystery is solid, and the characters are well drawn. Overall, it is an enjoyable read, but I just did not care for Lily’s grandmother Rose or her best friend Bernie very much at all. Rose does not seem to have the generous welcoming heart of a B&B proprietor and is too manipulative for my taste. Bernie comes across as a bit flighty and selfish, too. That said Lily is a fantastic protagonist. Though she runs her tea shop, she is mostly back of the house so it does not feel as disruptive as some other tea themed cozies when she leaves work to investigate. Even still, Bernie and Rose take far too much advantage of Lily.
Other characters nicely round out the cast. Of course, the land developer victim Jack Ford is a sufficiently nasty villain, and there are lots of folks around town that make great suspects with justifiable motives. Delany keeps readers guessing as she doles out clues and misdirections, and I did not guess the killer’s identity. The mystery is quite the enjoyable puzzle to work out.
I do think I will give the next book in the series a red before I pass final judgment on the series as a whole. Hopefully, Rose and Bernie will grow on me. Lily and the gardener Simon and the setting leave me pining for more. I recommend Tea & Treachery to any cozy mystery reader. I am sure others will not have issues with Rose and Bernie.