As the proud proprietor and head pastry chef of Tea by the Sea, a traditional English tearoom on the picturesque bluffs of Cape Cod, Roberts has her hands full, often literally. But nothing keeps her busier than steering her sassy grandmother, Rose, away from trouble. Rose operates the grand old Victorian B & B adjacent to Lily’s tea shop . . . for now. An aggressive real estate developer, Jack Ford, is pushing hard to rezone nearby land, with an eye toward building a sprawling golf resort, which would drive Rose and Lily out of business.
Tempers are already steaming, but things really get sticky when Ford is found dead at the foot of Rose’s property and the police think she had something to do with his dramatic demise. Lily can’t let her grandmother get burned by a false murder charge. So she starts her own investigation and discovers Ford’s been brewing bad blood all over town, from his jilted lover to his trophy wife to his shady business partners. Now, it’s down to Lily to stir up some clues, sift through the suspects, and uncover the real killer before Rose is left holding the tea bag.
It’s not every day one finds a traditional English tearoom in the United States, but Lily is bound and determined to make her shop, Tea by the Sea a roaring success. With a wide range of culinary skills, beautiful place settings, a plethora of tea, and all the formalities met, Lily is tired but thoroughly pleased with her initial success. If she can pull off a hugely successful and profitable first season, she and her little shop just might make it through the winter and into the next season.
When Lily isn’t scurrying around Tea by the Sea and prepping for the next, and the next, and the next event, she is working as the chef at her grandmother’s bead and breakfast. Lily’s grandmother, Rose is a proper Englishwoman with no filter and no edit button. Each morning, Rose watches over the kitchen as her beloved granddaughter churns out a proper English breakfast for her guests. Rose runs a tight ship so when a man turns up dead on her property and Rose is accused of his murder, she has more than a few thoughts to share with the police.
To keep her fiery grandmother out of jail, Lily must take on yet another responsibility, poking around into the man’s murder so her grandmother will not. Lily is positive her grandmother had nothing to do with the murder, but her outspoken nature about the area she lives in has caused her to jump to the top of the suspect list. Rose wants nothing to do with big development and she certainly doesn’t want to see the old, ramshackle house next door torn down to make way for an ugly hotel or resort. Rose will have none of her idyllic location and view being spoiled.
As Lily begins to poke around, she uncovers all kinds of ugly truths along with bits and pieces of information that are seemingly unconnected. What’s more, she’s got her best-friend egging on and aiding her grandmother in their own investigation and the utterly handsome lawn guy always showing up to rescue her. Between her shop, the B&B, her crazy friends and relatives, and a hot savior lawn keeper, Lily has more than she can handle and if she doesn’t the murder soon, more than a little time in jail is going to come to pass.
The Bottom Line: Straight away I knew I was going to enjoy this book. Rose is one feisty old lady and when she has something to say, it just comes right out, totally unfiltered. Even more endearing than Rose’s attitude and mouth is her close relationship with Lily. I also very much enjoyed the overall setting, but particularly the tearoom and the descriptions of all the yummy things Lily turns out for her customers. The plot is quite suitable for a cozy mystery and I found myself simply letting it unfold for me rather than trying to work it out prior to the big reveal. In short, I sank into this read and just let it play out in wonderful fashion. I anticipate many more mysteries and menus for Rose and lily in the future!