Title: Tea and Treachery (A Tea by the Sea Mystery #1)
Author: Vicki Delany
Published on: 28th July 2020
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Lily Roberts is the proprietor and head chef of Tea by the Sea, an English tearoom in the picturesque coast of Cape Cod. Her grandmother Rose Campbell operates a Victorian B&B next door. Lily helps with the B&B’s morning breakfast spread before opening her tearoom. Rose is known for her straightforwardness – read as ‘acidic tongue’.
An aggressive real estate developer Jack Ford and Rose get into an argument and Rose writes a nasty letter to the local newspaper. This results in Jack Ford filing a slander against Rose. The next morning, Lily, her dog Eclair and her best friend who returned from Manhattan to write a novel Bernie are at the backyard when Eclair starts to bark furiously. Lily sees a man lying at the bottom of the stairs leading from Rose’s B&B to the sea.
The dead man is identified as Jack Ford and Rose is now a main suspect. The local detective Chuck Williams is either corrupt or lazy or both. He is happy to arrest Rose right there – guilty or not.
Tea and Treachery is the first book in the Tea by the Sea Mystery series by Vicki Delany. Lots of delicious chai and baked goodies, a murder mystery and a hint of humor make Tea and Treachery an entertaining and interesting read.
As a debut to a brand new cozy series, I think this book goes above my expectations. It felt like I was reading the second or third book of the series – minimal yet sufficient character background, a tinge of romance as the story ends and tea! I am a tea drinker. I start my day with a hot cuppa of chai (and biscuits, ahem 😉 ). A hot cup of ginger chai on rainy days. Then there is masala chai -another favorite.
I got a little carried away there… Let’s get back to the review, shall we?
Soon after finding the dead body, Rose is convinced the police are incompetent. With the help of Lily’s best friend Bernie, she starts to gather clues that might prove her innocent. Lily is totally against this amateur sleuthing business. But as the story proceeds, we see Lily joining them on their investigation outings.
Bernie is indecisive when it comes to her novel writing ‘program’. She changes the plot numerous times – she wants to write a historical mystery without researching the topic first. Ah pish, details and history can come later, says Bernie.
The mystery behind the murder is kept a suspense until the end. This is not an inverted mystery so that means the identity of the killer is well-hidden until the end. I could not identify the killer until they came face-to-face with Lily. A red herring halfway through the story takes you in the wrong direction. This aforementioned red herring does bring a nice twist to the story.
Somewhere in the middle, the story seemed a little slow but picks up speed at around 70% through. I really liked the combination of a tearoom and sleuthing. Armchair sleuthing and a cup of hot tea always goes together, don’t you agree?
If you are looking for a unique cozy mystery that boasts of excellent writing, likeable characters and a murder mystery that keeps one guessing till the end, Tea and treachery by Vicki Delany is THE book for you.
There’s a giveaway for this blog tour. A signed print copy of Tea and treachery can be yours. (US only). Details are here.
Many thanks to Lori for the blog tour invite.