Author: H.Y. Hanna
Series: Oxford Tearoom Mystery #2
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Wisheart Press
Description: While at an Oxford cocktail party, tearoom owner Gemma Rose overhears a sinister conversation minutes before a University student is fatally poisoned. Could there be a connection? And could her best friend Cassie’s new boyfriend have anything to do with the murder?
Gemma decides to start her own investigation, helped by the nosy ladies from her Oxfordshire village and her old college flame, CID detective Devlin O’Connor. But her mother is causing havoc at Gemma’s quaint English tearoom and her best friend is furious at her snooping… and this mystery is turning out to have more twists than a chocolate pretzel!
Too late, Gemma realises that she’s could be the next item on the killer’s menu. Or will her little tabby cat, Muesli, save the day?
I had the fortune of reading and reviewing an ARC of the first book in this series and found it to be such a charming read that when I was asked by the author to read and review the second book I immediate said yes. Apparently, the plan was to release the first two book within a short period of time of each other to generate buzz for an author that is new to this genre.
This book was just as charming as the first and I enjoyed it just as much. It is an easy and fun read. The story is well written and the plot has a great pace that keeps you turning the pages to see what happens next. the author also has a terrific descriptive style and as you read the story you can picture yourself sitting in the tea room or walking around Oxford. At first, after the murder occurred, it didn't seem like there were going to be that many suspects and the mystery might be easy to solve. That turned out not to be the case. As Gemma begins to investigate (of course she has to because her best friend Cassie's boyfriend could be a suspect) there are plenty of twist, turns and red herrings thrown into the mix and when the killer was revealed I was surprised. The mystery in this book was as solid as the first and had just as climatic of a conclusion.
I love the characters in this story. Gemma is terrific. She is smart, warm and caring. The "Old Biddies" make a return and once again they provide Gemma with some "assistance." I was a little miffed that Cassie allowed her boyfriend to come briefly between her friendship with Gemma, but as is typical with best friends those fights never last long and the relationship between them is strong enough to survive the fight. In this installment, I fell in love more with Gemma's mother. While it appears she has mastered remembering her iPad password, she has discovered online shopping and wait to you see what she buys. I'm not a cat person, but Muesli is growing on me as well and the interaction between her and Gemma qualifies her as a secondary character in my opinion.
This is a charming series that I find to be well written with solid mysteries and great characters and I will be back to visit the tea room in March 2016 when the next installment is due out.
I was provided a copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review and the thoughts expressed are my own.