Book Review: TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT by Amanda Cooper

Series: Teapot Collector Mystery, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★

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…

TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT is the first of a new cozy mystery series by Amanda Cooper, a.k.a Victoria Hamilton. I’ve never been to a teahouse, and they sound simply divine! Well, except for La Belle Epoque, the scene of the murder in this book. Sophie Taylor works with her grandmother at Auntie Rose’s Victorian Teahouse, and when her friend Cissy’s future mother-in-law is murdered at the competing establishment, Sophie steps in to help catch the culprit.

The mystery was complex and well-plotted, and I enjoyed trying to fit the clues together. Who would kill Vivienne Whitaker and why? She was a devoted mother, philanthropist, and affluent country club member in Gracious Grove. In the end, I was just as surprised at who murdered her as I was about why! From the outside, no one would guess that Gracious Grove was a hotbed of political intrigue or that it harbored decades old grudges. My one complaint was the whole “getting the culprit to confess” at the end. I’ve never thought that method was realistic.

It was fun getting to know the quirky and diverse cast of characters. Sophie was a likable protagonist who was easy to connect with. The poor thing was down on her luck, with her fancy New York restaurant going under, and her mother trying to fix her up with pompous jerks. A sabbatical in Gracious Grove and helping out in her grandma’s tea shop is just what Sophie needs while she plans her next move.

There’s a couple of charming cats in this story, so if you love tea, cats, and mysteries, give this a read. Delightful setting too!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.