Steeped to Death by Gretchen Rue

Title: Steeped to Death (Witches’ Brew Mystery #1)

Author: Gretchen Rue

Published on: 6 September 2022

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

Steeped to Death is the first book in Gretchen Rue’s Witches’ Brew Mystery series.

Phoebe Winchester has inherited her late Aunt Eudora’s Victorian mansion and bookshop/tea store The Earl’s Study. Oh wait, there’s a very fluffy orange cat named Bob that comes with the house. Soon after Phoebe’s arrival, she’s pestered by a local busybody, Diedre Miller, to sell Eudora’s house.

When Phoebe refuses the first time, Diedre does not take no for an answer. She comes over the next day with a hefty-looking man. Phoebe once again says no and closes the door. That evening, Phoebe receives a phone call from the local police – Earl’s Study is a crime scene. A man was found dead in the back alley of the store. When Phoebe arrives at the crime scene, she recognizes the victim – it’s tat man who was with Diedre.

Phoebe has two suspects in mind – Diedre (of course) and a handsome hunk named Ricky. Ricky and Phoebe are childhood friends. They lost contact when Phoebe stopped visiting Aunt Eudora. Ricky aka Rich lives in a small apartment above the bookstore. The day after murder, Phoebe finds Rich kneeling down at the crime scene, as if he’s looking for something.

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Oh-Em-Gee! This was such a delightful, charming, and completely magical cozy mystery. A perfect debut to the series! This might be the first book in the series but I know for certain this is one of those cozy series that I am going to follow till the end.

I am a cat lover and Bob, the orange tabby that Phoebe ‘inherits’ along with Aunt Eudora’s mansion, is such a cutie pie. How I wish I could dive into my kindle and give Bob a nice pat on the head. Who’s a good boy, koochikoochikooo!

I haven’t read a lot of paranormal/witch-ish cozy mysteries so I did not know what to expect when I started reading this book. First, Phoebe discovers her aunt’s stash of teas in the basement. Then comes the stash of magical teas and recipes. Ooh, wait, we also have tea-based baked goodies – magical and muggle. Phoebe learns that Aunt Eudora was a witch. All those children teasing Eudora (when Phoebe was a child) – turns out, they weren’t joking about Eudora being a witch. Then comes a twist. I never saw it coming. From this moment onward, I was eagerly waiting for Phoebe to try it again, this time by choice, though.

We also have a love angle here – umm, possible love angle, I suppose. Rich aka Ricky is Handsome with a capital H! But he’s also made it to Phoebe’s list of suspects. Oh boy, that doesn’t sound good. Uh-huh.

Speaking of suspects, Diedre Miller is the other suspect in the murder case. She’s also being a pain in the backside. The other shop owners wonder if Phoebe is going to sell off the place – thanks to the rumors that Diedre’s been spreading.

The identity of the killer was surprising and unexpected. I never expected them to be guilty of murder. As is the case in any cozy mystery, Phoebe comes face-to-face with the killer, all right. What happens next is simply fantastic – I am not talking about Phoebe’s brush with death.

Likeable characters. Excellent storytelling. A magical mystery to keep one guessing till the end. Loads of fun. I absolutely enjoyed reading Steeped to Death by Gretchen Rue.


I received an ARC from Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.

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