Welcome to another issue of Recent Reads! I know I have been posting a lot of these lately, and that’s partially because during my brief hiatus I did read a lot, surprisingly, and I want to be able to share my brief thoughts on each book. I think I am almost all caught up with everything I read then.
After I had finished the first book in the series, I immediately jumped into the second book of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Gunpowder Green by Laura Childs. In this installment Theodosia Brown is serving the refreshment at a local yacht race, however a prominent member of the community dies after an unfortunate accident with the gun that is used to signal the end of the race. However, Theodosia is convinced that it was no mere accident and that someone intentionally tampered with the gun. I really enjoyed this installment, even better than the previous one. I liked how the mystery was solved, even though I had no idea who the true culprit was. I also enjoyed the explanations of the different teas and their tastes, I felt like it added to the experience even more. This is quickly becoming my favorite cozy mystery series and I plan on reading the whole series as soon as I can get my hands on each of the books.
While I was reading the abovementioned, I was also listening to Not the Killing Type by Lorna Barrett. In this installment of the Book Town Mysteries, Tricia’s sister is running against her former lover for chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, however, another member, Stan Berry throws his hat into the ring. During a brief recess before the votes commence, Tricia finds Stan’s body, but who would want to kill him? Once again, Tricia finds herself trying to find the killer, if anything but to clear her name as the village jinx. I liked this installment, except once again we had to deal with Tricia’s rampant fatphobia. She’s always critical about people who are overweight and usually makes snide remarks to Angelica or in her head. It was especially bad when she finds out that Stan was into bigger women. However, I did appreciate that Angelica seemed to call her out on it. I enjoyed the mystery and discovering who was the killer and why they did it, I just would have liked it better if Tricia was not as judgmental as she is.
After I had finished Gunpowder Green, I immediately jumped into the next book in the series, Shades of Earl Gray. Theodosia is having a great time, that is until everyone discovers that the groom is dead, and that he was murdered. And not only that but that an expensive and lavish wedding ring has gone missing. Not only is the search on for a killer, but also to protect some of Charleston’s precious jewels from being pilfered by the responsible party. Again, this was a great installment, and I loved how each person was crossed off the list to discover who the suspect is. Also, I enjoyed the methods that were used to trap them, Theodosia is a fantastic sleuth who always seems to have a great plan to solve the crime. After this installment, I had to wait to get my hands on the next two books in the series from the library, so it was a while between reading this and the next book.
My cozy mystery kick continued, and I decided this time I needed to read a more coffee-centric mystery. Enter Grounds for Murder by Tara Lush, where we follow Lana Lewis, who runs her family’s coffee shop. However, she butts heads with her barista, Fabrizio, who quits without any notice and is working for the competition. But when he is found dead in the alleyway behind her store, everyone in the small town of Devil’s Beach assume that she is responsible. She uses her skills from her days as a reporter to do her own investigating to find out who the true murderer is and why they wanted him dead. I loved this mystery, in fact I couldn’t put it down! I loved getting to know Lana, and the rest of the citizen’s of Devil’s Beach that we were introduced to. My only complaint is that I have to wait until December to read the next book in the series, but I know I will definitely be first in line to read it!
I then jumped into Live and Let Chai by Bree Baker, which is also set in a seaside town, and this time we are following iced tea shop owner, Everly Swan, who must solve the murder of a prominent town member, when he is found dead. Not only that, but a mason jar from her store is found next to him, and everyone assumes that he was poisoned by one of her teas and she loses business. However, she will also have to butt heads with the new detective in town who announced that the victim was poisoned to the whole town. This was another great cozy mystery, and I can’t wait to continue with the series just as soon as I can get the next book in the series. I loved Everly and how she is a sort of everywoman compared to some other cozy mystery sleuths. I enjoyed watching the mystery unravel and who the culprit was. Bree Baker definitely kept me on my toes while reading, but in the best way!
Janelle L. C.