All-Butter ShortDead (Prequel: Oxford Tearoom Mysteries ~ Book 0)

by H.Y. Hanna

Published July 28th 2016 by Wisheart Press

4 Stars

Synopsis: Gemma ditches her high-flying job and returns to Oxford to follow her dream: opening a traditional English tearoom serving warm buttery scones with jam and clotted cream… Only problem is–murder is the first thing on the menu and Gemma is the key suspect! And the only people Gemma can turn to for help are four nosy old ladies from her local Cotswolds village – not to mention a cheeky little tabby cat named Muesli. Who was the mysterious woman Gemma met on the flight back from Australia and why was she murdered? Now Gemma must find the killer, solve the mystery and clear her name if she’s to have her cake–and serve it too.

This PREQUEL to the OXFORD TEAROOM MYSTERIES includes BONUS CHAPTERS FROM “A SCONE TO DIE FOR” (BOOK 1). It is slightly shorter than the rest of the series – which are all full length novels – and can be read as a standalone, before or after any other book in the series.

My Review: This is the prequel to the Oxford Tearoom Mystery. I absolutely love the covers of this series, they are very eye-catching which was what drew me in the first place. This is a short stand alone story about Gemma Rose moving back to Oxford, England from Australia. She has given up her job, home etc and planned to return to Oxford to open a Tearoom with her friend. Unfortunately, it did not go smoothly.

On the plane home, Gemma sits with Jenn and strikes up a conversation. When they deplane, Gemma realizes that Jenn has left her scarf, caught between the seats. Remembering where she is staying, Gemma contacts her and makes plans to get the scarf to her. AFter a few drinks in the hotel bar, Gemma takes Jenn up to her room, goes back down to find her handbag, and returns it to her. The next morning she received a call from the police that Jenn has been murdered. Being the last person to see her alive means she is a suspect. When her loan for the tearoom is threatened, she gets herself involved with the investigation along with the four old biddies from town.

The characters in Oxford are a hoot, especially the old biddies, one of which is constantly trying to clean off smudges from Gemma using spit on her finger. Her mother is another character that I hope we see more of, they give Gemma more dimension as we see her interactions with them. The baker she has hired will also add much to the series as it goes on. I love the setting of Oxford and the descriptions given are enough to add character but not bog down the novel.

Along with the mystery, there is humour thrown in. I did not guess who the culprit was so that bodes well for this series. This was a fun read and I am looking forward to the series. I recommend this book to cozy mystery lovers, especially if you like the English setting.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.