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. read more

Olivia Matthews: Hard Dough Homicide

Spice Isle Bakery #2

Hard Dough Homicide is the second book by Olivia Matthews, and it follows Lindsay Murray and family at their Caribbean themed restaurant, Spice Island Bakery. When Lindsay’s mother quit her old job at the local school to focus on the bakery she thought, and hoped, her interactions with her old boss were behind her. Principal Emily Smith was a nasty piece of work who was demeaning and abusive to her employees and extremely self-centered. Yet when she decides to retire, she wants her celebration dinner held at the Spice Island Bakery. At first the Murray family wants nothing to do with it, but the money is literally too good to refuse, and they decide to take a chance. Turns out the guests are just as uncomfortable with things as the Murray family, and things go from tense to downright disastrous when Emily dies shortly after the meal begins. read more

Emmaline Duncan: Flat White Fatality

Ground Rules #3

Flat White Fatality is Emmeline Duncan’s third book in her ground rules series. First, I feel I would be remiss in saying that heroine Sage is every barista’s dream manager as she is passionate about coffee and cares for her employees, as well as sticking up for them. Anyone who has worked behind a steaming espresso machine will appreciate the realism of Emmeline Duncan’s descriptions of running a coffee establishment – including the customers who get unreasonably angry over having ordered the wrong thing and not wanting to admit it. In such situations, Sage’s managerial prowess also shines as she deescalates the situation and stops the customer from abusing her baristas. Ground Rules is currently just a coffee cart, but is expanding to a brick and mortar building due to its popularity. Given how innovative Sage is about her product, their growing popularity isn’t a surprise. read more

Kate Collins: Gone but Not For Garden

Kate Collins’ fourth addition to her Goddess of Greene Street Mysteries is Gone but Not for Garden. Readers will find themselves drawn in by main character and detective Athena Spencer. She has only recently opened up her own detective agency with her boyfriend Case Donnelly, works for her family gardening store called Spencer’s, and also posts a blog as a way to vent about her family and personal life struggles and triumphs. However, she does remain anonymous in her blog, and it is amusing to see her family discuss it with such interest. Anyone who has a large family can appreciate and relate to how Athena has both love for her family as well as frustrations. While her family means well, they often push Athena’s boundaries and exasperate her. She does her best to be considerate and kind, while also remaining firm with her family. They mean well, and their pushing clearly comes from a place of love. Athena’s awareness of this makes her all the more relatable to those with more complicated families themselves. Athena also has a son and pet raccoon that add both a humorous element to the story, as well as interesting plot twists later on. read more

Traci Hall: Murder at a Scottish Wedding

Murder at a Scottish Wedding by Traci Hall is a wonderful look into Scottish culture, and provides two very different mysteries that will have readers glued to the pages. Paislee Shaw is the detective in this series, and she owns a yarn business in Nairn known as Cashmere Crush. However, while Ms. Shaw has solved several murders in the three prior books, this one revolves around the wedding of her best friend Lydia. Thankfully, Paislee does not have to lose her best friend in order to prompt the investigation. Instead, the happy day is halted by the murder of a member of the wedding party. The death is also witnessed by an entire church full of wedding guests. When Paislee discovers that the victim was supposed to be Lydia all along.  When Lydia discovers this, she won’t be able to rest easily unless Paislee looks into the matter herself. Being a part of the wedding party gives Paislee access to both of the families involved, and gives her plenty of reason to speak with and look into everyone. read more

Maddie Day: Four Leaf Cleaver

When looking for a murder mystery chock full of southern charm, look no further than Maddie Day’s Four Leaf Cleaver, the eleventh installment in her Country Store series. The main character and investigator is Robbie Jordan, owner of the local B&B Pans ‘N Pancakes. In an effort to give her B&B some publicity, Robbie is hosting a Saint Patrick’s Day themed cooking competition known as Holiday Hot-Off. From the start, the whole business shapes up to be more complicated and involved than Robbie had expected. From the staff of the show not getting along, to their manager and star Tara O’Hara being demanding and rude, Robbie is more than ready for it all to be over before it even begins. However, what no one expected was for the abrasive Tara O’Hara to be found dead in her upstairs room at Pans ‘N Pancakes on the morning of the big event. read more