A High Whisk Situation By H.Y. Hanna: Review/Giveaway

Mar 4, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kathleen Costa

This week we have a review of the latest Oxford Tearoom Mystery by H.Y. Hanna, along with some interesting tidbits from H.Y. about her research trip to Scotland. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook or print copy of the book (winner’s choice), and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

A High Whisk Situation: An Oxford Tearoom Mystery by H.Y. Hanna
Review by Kathleen Costa

Gemma Rose has been back home in Meadowford-on-Smythe, a small village near Oxford, for almost two years. Some originally thought it reckless to resign from a high-paying career to fulfill the dream of opening her own business, but she’s turned the Little Stables Tearoom into a successful destination for locals and tourists who wish to partake in a true English tearoom experience. Her best friend, artist, and sidekick, Cassie Jenkins, has been right by her side along with her tabby Muesli, and a quartet of octogenarians, dubbed “The Old Biddies,” who as purveyors of all things gossip have made the tearoom their base of operation. The “Biddies” also can be found interfering when a suspicious death sparks Gemma’s involvement, and that involvement, unfortunately, is one reason her and her workaholic beau, Detective Devlin O’Connor, are currently taking a break.

All this interpersonal kerfuffle doesn’t compare to the news of the repairs long overdue for the tearoom. What’s worse than a broken sewer system in a centuries old building? Nothing. But, it does raise the “lemons and lemonade” theory, and for Gemma and her BFF Cassie that means … ROAD TRIP!

A High Whisk Situation Earns 5+/5 Scottish Kilts … Clever & Engaging Cozy Gem!
Mabel Cooke, the head “Old Biddie,” suggested to her friend and owner of Aberglinn Castle Hotel, Angus Mackay, that he offer a watercolor workshop to guests and hire Cassie at a premium rate including board and room … so, with repairs shutting down the tearoom and Gemma not needed to supervise, the two girls are off to the Highlands. Totally worth it when they meet Ewan Campbell … Mr. Highlander!

The hotel is a beautiful castle in the middle of the picturesque highlands with its woods, hills, and all manor of flora and fauna. Cassie is excited about teaching watercolor classes while Gemma is eager to relax and maybe enjoy a rustic ghille adventure with Ewan Campbell. But, Gemma sees a few cracks in the posh surroundings starting with the most disagreeable hotel manager, Aileen Fergusson. She is not very welcoming since she didn’t approve of the two staying in one of the guest rooms, and it’s obvious her managerial style has created some disgruntled staff. There’s an argument about money that Gemma overhears between Aileen and American Jerry Hudson, a bit of a Texas cliché. And later, when two unruly children cause a ruckus during a pre-dinner gathering, she loudly sets them straight, and, of course, this doesn’t sit well with the wealthy parents. They demand she be fired, but Mackay, the owner, is oddly reluctant to comply. So, it’s not surprising that Gemma finds Aileen dead in the library by garrote, and if she decides to get involved in the investigation, she’ll have an eclectic crowd of guests and staff as suspects.

Highlanderrific! What do you do after taking a lifelong dream trip to the Scottish Highlands? Well, for H.Y. Hanna, she sits down and puts her protagonist, Gemma Rose, in the middle of the heather, the haggis, and the homicide. I greatly enjoy the tearoom theme, foodie talk, and multi-generational cast, but adding references to Scottish myths, legends, and folklore, a castle, a Highland hunk, and exploring whisky makes this twelfth book the best of the series! The mystery itself was quite enjoyably complex since near everyone had varying conflicts with the victim from business to personal, and as clues are revealed, dead ends exposed, secrets divulged, identities questioned, and a suspect list hard to whittle down to one, readers, like me, had a great time pondering all the possibilities. Of course, what’s a murder investigation without The Old Biddies who show up unannounced, with Gemma’s mischievous tabby in tow, offering witty insights, intimate topics, and creative investigative methods. A third party seems to complicate the on-a-break couple, Gemma and Devlin, but karma (via H.Y. Hanna’s well-written story), has a way of throwing them together. It was intriguing to learn that barrels of whisky are a commodity in which people could invest, but disappointing that my retirement counselor never mention that for my portfolio. This series and this book is once again at the summit of my “You’re the Top” list for 2023!

A Taste of the Highlands! There’s lots of talk about Scottish treats from rich Dundee cake and Seville marmalade to Cranachan and Scottish raspberries, spicy clootie dumplings to chanterelle mushrooms which sent me searching through my cookbooks. But, of course, a trip to the Scottish highlands is not complete without a bit o’ whisky! Enjoy your favorite whisky (or whiskey) with this easy-to-follow recipe for Chocolate Whisky Cake. Slàinte Mhath (Slanj-a-va) … Cheers!

Be a Big H.Y. Hanna Fan!
USA Today Bestselling Author H.Y. Hanna has several cleverly-themed series. The Oxford Tearoom Mystery has an engaging mystery and well-developed characters. She puts magic in the delicious Bewitched by Chocolate series with endearing family, close friendships, and a lovely romance along with a centuries-old fruit-eating vampire and all things chocolate! Spend the day in the garden with an English Cottage Garden Mystery filled with friends, a handsome neighbor, a demanding tabby, and murder among the dahlias. She also sent readers to the gulf coast of Florida for fun in the sun and criminal antics in her Barefoot Sleuth Mystery.

Something for everyone in every format, including audiobooks HERE with the delightful voice artistry of narrator Pearl Hewitt enriching the already engaging story with varied accents, dialects, emotions, and tone. As I always say, “Murder is always better with an English accent!”

Facebook – H.Y. Hanna Books
Website – H.Y. Hanna
Twitter At @_HYHanna
H.Y. Hanna Blog Lots of fascinating insights into H.Y. Hanna’s many books.

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying year 2 of retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband of 26+ years.

Scotland 101

What a great way to burst from the confining cocoon of Covid by hopping on a plane and heading to the Scottish highlands! H.Y. Hanna, author of the Oxford Tearoom Mysteries, did just that and more. Realizing that the ideas she relied on for her books needed recharging, Hsin-yi plugged herself into an adventure. She added her experiences to the newest book of the series, A High Whisk Situation, (sans the murder, of course) along with sharing in her blog the history, the intrigue, and the afternoon treats she savored in Scotland.

Part 1: Romantic sleepers and hairy cows …
The train ride from London to Inverness offered a plethora of ideas garnered from people watching and a bit of imagination, and she could feel her creative juices bubbling. A stop at Loch Ness had her taking in the myth of the watery resident, meeting some obsessed by the legend, and then, hiking and exploring the natural wonders that surely inspired Robert Burns himself. Then, after visiting a quaint tearoom and enjoying a unique and delicious version of leek and potato soup (one Gemma Rose savors in the book), she finds some “Heilan coos,” Highland cows, grazing nearby. One more box checked off the bucket list!

To read the whole blog with additional photos, click Romantic sleepers and hairy cows…

Part 2: Ghillies and spiky booby traps …
Fortunate to arrange a meeting with the “ghillie” from the Achnacharry Estate, she took notes about the history, fascinating quirks, and current role of a ghillie in private and commercial estates which helped her create “Mr. Highlander” in her newest book. She, then, gets an up close and personal tour of the flora and fauna from varied wildlife to the Highland ponies, from fragrant heather to the spiky thistles. But, a trip to Scotland is not complete without enjoying a dram of the “water of life” … whisky! (Sans the “e”) Not much of a drinker, much like her protagonist Gemma Rose, she realizes research is research, so … bottoms up!

To read the whole blog with additional photos, click Ghillies and spiky booby traps…

Part 3: Afternoon tea in a Scottish castle …
The gorgeous Inverlochy Castle Hotel in Fort William, a town Gemma and Cassie explore, is the inspiration for the Aberglinn Castle Hotel in the latest book and partaking in an afternoon tea was the highlight of the trip. Connecting her personal adventure with quotes from her book, readers get a sense that life experiences best dictates art. From the grandeur of the estate with its luscious gardens and hills dotting the horizon to the common areas, far from being common, with its artwork, inviting spots to sit and listen to a young harpist, and a delicious menu of some of Scotland’s best treats. A trip of a lifetime complete!

To read the whole blog with additional photos, click Afternoon tea in a Scottish castle…

To enter to win either an ebook or print copy of A High Whisk Situation (winner’s choice), simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “whisk,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 11, 2023. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. BE SURE TO STATE IF YOU WANT EBOOK OR PRINT. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. If I’m lucky to win this, I’d like a print copy, please.
    Love books based in Ireland and Scotland.
    thanks. txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  2. Looks like she had a great trip! Print copy, if you will.

  3. I love stories inspired by Ireland and Scotland – photos provided by the author create a perfect atmosphere for this cozy mystery! If I happen to be the lucky winner, I would prefer a print copy, please. Thank you!

  4. It would be wonderful to have a print copy of A High Whisk Situation – I’d dance a highland fling if I won!

  5. Would really like to read. I prefer a print copy.

  6. It was wonderful to read the latest edition of this Oxford Tearoom Series set in Scotland!

  7. Print copy would be great! Easier to share

  8. Oh I’d love a print copy of this book! Love the cover. Y’all have a great rest of the week & weekend!

  9. The trip looked exciting. Love the pictures! Print copy please. I’m old school and live to have a physical book in hand and feel the pages flipping.

  10. I would love to win a print copy battling a disease called RSD and fingers are deformed but will review on at least 2 sites as this sounds like a fun mystery! peggy clayton ptclayton2 @ aol.com

  11. I have all of HY Hanna’s books I love them all very much! I would be excited to win an ebook version of A High Wisk Situation. Thank you !

  12. I’d also love a print copy if I manage to be lucky enough to win. I prefer the touching of a physical book.

  13. Thank you so much for the chance to win. I love these series of books. They are so enjoyable and this one looks so interesting since it takes place in Scotland. I would like a print copy.

  14. I *love* the Oxford Tearoom series! Such a lovely respite from the craziness of life. I’m looking forward to A High Whisk Situation. Print copy please, as I am an old-school bookworm.
    Maureen Lubas

  15. Got the book have not read it yet. It’s the next on my list.

  16. I would love to win a print copy!!

  17. An ebook for me. Thank you.

  18. Love these books, print would be my preference. We are hoping to visit the UK next year which would include my birthplace that I have never visited, it was Ruislip Air Force base at that time (1960). Thank you for your writing talent 🙂

  19. I really enjoy Hanna’s writing style and characters in her cozy mysteries. If I were to win I’d prefer an ebook unless the paper version were to have her autograph then that would be my choice. ?

  20. Having Scottish/Irish ancestry, I would love to read this eBook! Thank you for the chance.

  21. We have a winner!


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