In Peppermint Peril by Joy Avon (A Book Tea Shop Mystery, #1)
Releases on November 13, 2018
My review – 4/5 Stars
Callie Aspen returns to her hometown in Heart’s Harbor, Maine over the Christmas holiday season to visit with her great-aunt Iphigeneia (aka Iphy, for short). Iphy owns the Book Tea, a bakery/tea shop. Callie helps out around the shop.
Because of the snowy weather conditions, Iphy has Callie deliver everything, including the cake, to Haywood Hall for a special tea party being thrown by the owner, Dorothea Finster. Callie used to visit and play in and around Haywood Hall as a kid with Dorothea’s heir-apparent Stephen and their friend Sheila, who later marries Stephen. After their marriage, Callie is estranged from Stephen and Sheila until the tea party.
At the tea party, which Sheila tries to hijack by turning it into an engagement party, are the household members and staff, Stephen, Sheila, their daughter, some of Dorothea’s old friends and Heart’s Harbor’s most distinguished elites. All the guests at the party appear to have their own agenda for winning over Dorothea in order to obtain some of her money. So when someone ends up dead, there are lots of options for who could have done it.
I thought the characters were developed and it was a good introduction to the ones I assume will be regulars in the next book(s) in the series. I liked Callie and Iphy. They both seem to be straight-shooters and mostly say what they are thinking. Thankfully Callie kept some things back for a while or I would have been disappointed and felt like the dialogue ventured too far into the unbelievable or I would have just found her kind of rude. In the end, I liked her. As for Iphy, I really wish I could see her baking creations. I loved hearing about them.
The mystery kept me guessing until the end. For various reasons, I felt like it could have been just about anyone at the tea party who may have done it. A few twists and turns to get there.
One thing I really enjoyed in this book was the imagery Ms. Avon paints – of winter in Heart’s Harbor and the Christmas decorations put on display by the various inhabitants. She may have inspired me to want to do more decorating this year.
I received an advanced digital copy of In Peppermint Peril by Joy Avon from NetGalley and Crooked Lane in exchange for an honest review.
Book description from GoodReads:
In the run-up to Christmas Eve, organizer of book-themed tea parties Callie Aspen and her lovable Boston terrier will have to conquer threefold trouble—a mysterious will, a missing heirloom and a dead body—to restore the festive spirit to their small town.
This Christmas, Callie Aspen returns to her childhood hideout Heart’s Harbor, Maine where her great aunt runs Book Tea, a vintage tearoom where every sweet treat contains a bookish clue. Upon arrival in the fairy-tale snowy town, Callie is drawn into the preparations for a special tea party at Haywood Hall, the rambling house of Heart’s Harbor’s oldest resident, rich but lonely widow Dorothea Finster, who invited her estranged relatives, old friends and the elite of the town to make a mysterious announcement about her will.
Believing they can touch a part of her fortune, everybody is determined to come, despite not liking each other or even their hostess. And Callie’s old friend Sheila complicates things by using the tea party to announce her daughter’s engagement, even though her daughter isn’t sure she’s in love with the young lawyer her mother thinks so perfect for her.
Catering to people who each have their own agenda isn’t easy for the Book Tea crew, especially once the valuable engagement ring goes missing and a dead body turns up in the conservatory. Can Callie and her great aunt use their love of clues to dig into the crimes and show their unhappy hostess and squabbling guests the true Christmas spirit?