In Peppermint Peril is the first book in Joy Avon’s A Tea and a Read Mystery series.
The story starts with Callie going to the Haywood Hall for setting up the cake and dishes for the tea party. Having spent most of her childhood playing and reading books at the Haywood Hall, Callie feels nostalgic on being here again after a long time. Sheila, Callie’s childhood friend, tells her about the surprise engagement party that she’s arranged for her daughter, Amber.
Callie is asked to hide the ring in the cake so that Ben can find it when he cuts the cake. But things go wrong when the party starts and the box inside the cake is empty. To make things worse, Leadenby, a gardener who works at the Hall is found dead in the conservatory.
Since this was a series debut, I was hoping to read more about Callie’s past and work. Although there are few mentions of the same, I wish I could read more – just get to know the character. Somehow, I couldn’t connect much with Callie’s role in the story. She overdoes the investigation at certain times, and this was a tad bit disappointing.
Like, initially, she suspects Sheila of murdering Leadenby and then suspects Sheila of protecting the murderer from being arrested. She also thinks that Falk needs to understand his sister and the issues that she’s going through. I understand that, as a first timer in solving crimes, Callie has her flaws and that’s okay. But it was a tad bit annoying that Callie was assuming things and poking her nose in somebody else’s beeswax.
The family drama was a very good inclusion. Dorothea’s bankruptcy issues, Stephen and Sheila’s relationship, Amber’s dilemma and Falk’s relationship with his sister and her kids – a nice touch to a Cozy mystery. Iphy’s delicious cakes and baked goodies and her creativity in presenting the same were fabulously described.
Daisy, the dog, and Callie’s friendship was adorable. The identity of perp was unexpected. And Brenda’s connection to the Haywood Hall was a pleasant surprise. The ending was unexpected. Callie decision is something that I am looking forward to in the next books in this series. Yes, though I have mixed opinions about this book, I have decided to read the rest in this series, as and when it releases, that is. I hope there is some romance between Falk and Callie in the next book. I think they would make a nice pair, what say?
I received this ARC from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.