Published January 17th 2016 by Wisheart Press
When an American tourist is murdered with a scone in Gemma Rose’s quaint Oxfordshire tearoom, she suddenly finds herself apron-deep in a mystery involving long-buried secrets from Oxford’s past.
Armed with her insider knowledge of the University and with the help of four nosy old ladies from the village (not to mention a cheeky little tabby cat named Muesli), Gemma sets out to solve the mystery—all while dealing with her matchmaking mother and the return of her old college love, Devlin O’Connor, now a dashing CID detective.
But with the body count rising and her business going bust, can Gemma find the killer before things turn to custard? (**Traditional English scone recipe included)
I read the prequel to this book several years ago and always wanted to continue reading about Gemma, Cassie, and the biddies and I am glad I finally did. Gemma did what everyone expected by going to Oxford, getting a well-paid job where she moved to Australia, and she was not happy. She quit her job and moved home buying a local tearoom what had closed in nearby village, Meadowford-on-Smythe. The only drawback is moving back in with her parents, particularly her well-meaning, yet pushy mum. She is working hard trying to get The Little Stables Tearoom off the ground. With the help of her friend Cassie and cook, Fletcher. they seem to be on the right path, until an American is found dead in her courtyard, with a scone shoved down his throat. Gemma needs to get this case solved or her business is not going to survive.
Gemma is a wonderful and relatable character. So many people can relate to meddling, yet meaningful mothers. I love her relationship with her parents and that she knows her mum is acting out of love. She is smart, patient, a loyal friend, a savvy business woman and I love her relationship with her regulars (i.e. the old biddies). The side characters add so much to the story. The biddies get involved in trying to solve the case and they are a hoot. You have to love these ladies, who can hold their own in even the stickiest situations. Detective Devlin O’Connor, is the local detective on the case. It turns out he is an ex-flame of Gemma’s and she might still harbour feelings for him. Will there be a relationship? Only time will tell. I can’t forget Museli, the cat. He doesn’t play a huge role in this book, yet an important one. He is adorable and I am looking forward to seeing what he gets into in future offerings.
The setting of the small village in Oxfordshire is great. The descriptions have me wanting to visit there, if I ever make it back over the pond. The mystery was well-paced, with some red-herrings and several twists. The victim was not well-liked, so there were many suspects. Gemma eventually solves the case, but does not take silly chances. I never shouted at the book saying don’t go there! The Detectives were not bumblers either, which I also liked. They were on the right track and probably would have solved it shortly. Gemma’s connections were the only reason she did before them. Overall, I enjoyed this cozy mystery, with its laid back humour, great characters and setting and interesting mystery. I definitely recommend this one to cozy mystery lovers, especially if you enjoy a British setting.
About the Author:
A globe-trotter all her life, Hsin-Yi has lived in a variety of cultures, from Dubai to Auckland, London to New Jersey, but is now happily settled in Perth, Western Australia, with her husband and a rescue kitty named Muesli. You can learn more about her (and the real-life Honey and Muesli who inspired the characters in the stories) at: www.hyhanna.com