Series: Teapot Collector Mystery #1
Published by Berkley on 6/3/14
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Source: the author
Also in this series: Shadow of a Spout
Also by this author: Shadow of a Spout
Tucked away in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York is the charming town of Gracious Grove, where time moves slowly, gossip spreads quickly, and the scones are to die for…
When her fashionable Manhattan restaurant goes under, Sophie Taylor retreats to her grandmother’s cozy shop, Auntie Rose’s Victorian Teahouse, where serenity is steeped to perfection in one of her many antique teapots. The last thing Sophie expects is a bustling calendar of teahouse events, like her old friend Cissy Peterson’s upcoming bridal shower.
Not everyone is pleased with the bride-to-be’s choice of venue—like Cissy’s grandmother, who owns a competing establishment, La Belle Epoque, and has held a long-simmering grudge against Rose for stealing her beau sixty years ago. Tensions reach a boiling point when Cissy’s fiancé’s mother dies while sampling scones at La Belle Epoque. Now, to help her friend, Sophie will have to bag a killer before more of the guest list becomes a hit list…
Amanda Cooper (aka Victoria Hamilton) serves up a tasty mystery in Tempest in a Teapot, the first Teapot Collectors mystery. Former restaurateur Sophie Taylor makes for a good heroine, with her outsider-insider perspective on Gracious Grove (or as the locals call it, GG) and her constant urge to help people, from her own grandmother Rose (Nana) to Nana’s irascible neighbor and former friend, Thelma Mae Earnshaw, whose rival establishment is just across the street from Rose’s tea shop. Another recipient of Sophie’s concern is her old friend Cissy, who is getting married and seems slightly ambivalent about it.
Sophie’s primary investigative approach is to ask questions; she doesn’t do a lot of sneaking around or physically searching for clues (with one memorable exception), which makes this a somewhat quiet mystery through most of the first half. The book never felt slow to me, though, and the action picks up in the second half. At least in this first book, Sophie also avoids the dreaded TSTL disease, although there aren’t actually many opportunities for classic cozy-heroine stupidity in the plot. An intelligent heroine – and one who knows when to call in the police – is a definite plus in my eyes!
Rose’s and Thelma Mae’s tea shops feature prominently in the mystery, and a few useful leads surface during a meeting of the Silver Spouts, a group of teapot collectors headed by Sophie’s Nana, so tea lovers and teapot lovers alike should enjoy the book. The relationships and characters were a little confusing at first, but I soon sorted out who was who. Sophie is clearly destined to stay in Gracious Grove, and both the town and the presumptive recurring characters are comfortable and appealing. There’s even a hint of potential romance for Sophie, in the form of an old flame. And the town’s policeman, an acquaintance of Sophie’s from her summer vacations in Gracious Grove, seems like a potential ally for future mysteries.
All in all, Tempest in a Teapot is a an entertaining beginning to what I suspect will be a good series. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for book two!
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- COYER Summer Vacation 2014
- Cruisin' Thru the Cozies 2014