Karen Rose Smith: Murder with Earl Grey Tea

Daisy’s Tea Garden #9

I have enjoyed many volumes of Karen Rose Smith’s Daisy’s Tea Garden Mystery series, and the ninth addition is no exception. In Murder with Earl Grey Tea our heroine Daisy Swanson is having to juggle a bunch of events in her life. Her daughter Vi is moving to her own place with her family, and starting to move forward with planning her own wedding. Vi is marrying her boyfriend Jonas, and Daisy’s tea garden is preparing to host a large Alice in Wonderland themed event. Over all things seem to be going well for her and her family. The only drama on the horizon is her aunt Iris being put into the predicament of having to start to face having to choose between two suitors, but that all changes with the traumatic discovery of the body of a friend.

Detective Zeke Willet is on the case, and is sympathetic to Daisy’s trauma. While he needs her statement, he also ensures that she takes time to take care of herself as well. Throughout their history together, Daisy has helped Zeke solve many cases and the two have become friends based on mutual respect, understanding, and a desire to discover the truth and bring justice to victims and their families.

True to form, Daisy begins to keep an ear out about town for any possible information or clues that could help find out who could have done such a horrible thing to her friend. At the same time, both she and her daughter Jazzi are concerned about why it is that she keeps getting caught up in these murder cases. In a very admirable move, Daisy decides to take a hard internal look at herself and why she makes the decisions that she does. Zeke Willet makes the very astute observation that Daisy possesses an “emotional intelligence” and that it is that skill that really helps her to find vital information and clues to help close cases.

Daisy does her sleuthing through building relationships and connections throughout Lancaster County. Her compassion, combined with a genuine desire to help those who died and their families find closure, have people opening up to her and sharing facts about the victims’ lives either experienced or observed. This also comes in handy with the local Amish communities as they are wary of speaking to any government official, even just local police like Zeke.

There are times when Daisy doubts if she will actually help on this case. She wants to protect herself and her family, but her deep sense of justice and desire to help refuses to let her stay out of things. It is her emotional intelligence that draws me into each of Karen Rose Smith’s books. I suggest Murder with Earl Grey Tea for any who are looking for a mystery series with a heroine who is down to earth and who has a genuine desire to help and serve her community. While readers do not need to have read the prior eight books to enjoy Murder with Earl Grey Tea, I still strongly suggest reading the series from the start.

It is delightful to read along as Daisy’s life evolves, and her emotional awareness and intelligence develop through her adventures, as well as her relationships in the town. If readers just want to give Murder with Earl Grey Tea a read to try Karen Rose Smith’s writing style, they will still enjoy themselves and will not be confused trying to keep the characters straight. Characters and backgrounds are explained without taking away from the main plot or the pace of the story. However, be prepared to finish Murder with Earl Grey Tea, only to turn around and snatch up all the others. Happy reading everyone!             – Carla Schantz


Carla Schantz is a Courthouse Clerk Supervisor and has a bachelor’s degree in English as well as a master’s in legal studies. Books have been a passion of hers since she was young, and she is a firm believer in the purse book so that she is never without a book at any time.