by Kathleen Costa
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win either a print or kindle copy of any one of these books, and a links to purchase them from Amazon.
Oxford Tearoom Mystery earns 5/5 Pots of English Breakfast Tea!
The Oxford Tearoom Mystery series by H.Y. Hanna is my absolute favorite ‘cozy’ reading adventure. It has six very entertaining novels and a prequel, which is a great place to start and get those “How did she get here from there?” answers. Set outside Oxford, England, in the tiny Cotswold village of Meadowford on Smythe, Gemma Rose has opened up the quintessential image of ‘Olde England,’ The Little Stables Tearoom. She serves the best scones and pots of tea along with…murder.
Hsin-Yi Hanna has created a marvelous group of characters putting them right in the middle of thrilling mysteries. Gemma Rose is a strong, clever young woman whose loyalty to friends and family puts her in the middle of a murder investigation. She is joined by BFF and partner Cassie, and a couple of hunks offer a touch of romance. I’m rooting for rekindling a former love interest; besides it’s always good, when investigating murder, to have a CID Detective in your inner circle. However, I personally love the ‘quirky’ octogenarians, dubbed the “Old Biddies,” who get involved in their own way, and along with Gemma’s mother, provide some frustrating, yet comic relief.
The setting, in and around Oxford and the Cotswold countryside, is a character of its own. Hsin-Yi provides wonderful descriptions of the University area putting it on top of my ‘Bucket List.’ Everyone gets entangled in the mysteries; even the reader has the opportunity to sort through clues and suspect list. However, like Agatha Christie herself, the solutions are often left to the end for a glorious reveal which often has someone in peril. The story has given me more than a few giggles when referring to some purely British idiosyncrasies, but, don’t worry about any British references because in each book a “Glossary of British Terms” is provided to boast your Anglophile nature.
The series is also being produced on audio book with the talents of voice artist Pearl Hewitt. Book 1 A Scone to Die For was released last September, Tea with Milk and Murder came out in February, and Two Down, Bun to Go is just out of the studio recording. The narrator Pearl Hewitt is ‘Absolutely Fabulous!’ Her skill with a variety of British accents brings to life Gemma with her Oxford education, proper English for the ‘Old Biddies’ and Oxford Dons, street English for pub owners and some questionable villagers, male, female, and a few Americans…even the occasional ‘meow’ and trill of the alarm clock were stupendous…I always say murder sounds great with an English accent!
Hanna also knows that many of us ‘cozi-holics’ love a little treat with our reading adventures, so she adds an excellent, easy-to-follow recipe to each of her novels which is actually part of the story. Of course, perfect for your afternoon tea there is the Traditional Scone recipe, and you’ll be a hit at your book club or family brunch with Gemma’s mother’s Velvet Cheesecake, Chelsea Buns, Victoria Sponge Cake, Banoffee Pie, and Sticky Toffee Pudding. Not only is this series entertaining, but delicious as well!
Just released is Book 6…
You can start here, there, or anywhere in the series and be entertained.
Four Puddings and a Funeral earns 5/5 Sticky Toffee Puddings!
Gemma Rose has expanded into catering with her first function the funeral reception of Rex Clifford. His wife, dubbed a ‘floozy’ by his daughter, has inherited the entire estate and hard feelings about this change in the will has made this somber event…murderously tense. Everyone is delighted with Gemma’s food, but all goes sour when the widow coughs, sputters and collapses…another murder. Gemma is back at the center, but her detective boyfriend takes a back seat to an incompetent ‘Pratt.’ Then there’s a long lost heir, one of the “Old Biddies” is a person of interest, a little hedgehog causes trouble and everyone enjoys a few boxes of enchanting chocolates from Tillyhenge, a delightful reference to Hanna’s new series Bewitched by Chocolate.
H.Y. Hanna sixth novel does not disappoint providing fans an engaging entertainment with which newbies, too, will be just as thrilled. The signature “sticky wickets” pop up from the “Old Biddies” putting Gemma in a ‘pickle,’ and how many daughters can identify with Gemma’s frustration over her mother’s meddling in her love life? Being a big fan of the audio books, I was delightfully surprised to find myself hearing Pearl Hewitt marvelous voice in my head. I had a few lessons in British desserts, too. “Pudding” can be a generic name for a dessert, as well as the dessert itself…so my favorite pudding is pudding!
The audio books are an adventure ‘To Die For’… Let this whet your appetite!
Scone to Die For earns 5/5 Plates of Scones with a Pot of Earl Gray!
Gemma Rose is pleased that her little tearoom is starting to gain a regular clientele and host many tourists who desire to experience a proper English Tea. But, a nasty American, who caused such a “kerfuffle” the day before, is found dead in the tearoom’s courtyard with a scone stuffed down his throat. Gemma is worried about the effect on her business and decides to take the reins of her own investigate while also dealing with four old biddies, a bossy mother, a missing cat, former college boyfriend now investigating detective, and…is that another dead body?
Tea with Milk and Murder earns 5/5 Slices of Velvet Cheesecake!
Friends will do anything for a friend. BFF Cassie is having her first art exhibition courtesy of gallery owner and new boyfriend, but Gemma isn’t a fan of the modern art exhibits and definitely not a fan of Cassie’s new beau. Gemma’s suspicions are heightened when she overhears the boyfriend conspiring in the shadows. Then a self-proclaimed girlfriend starts flailing, collapsing on the ground…dead.
Once again Gemma meets up with CID Detective O’Conner, former boyfriend, and the “Old Biddies” add their own covert explorations, but Gemma treads lightly since she doesn’t want to damage her friendship with Cassie.
The newest audio book…still in the oven!
The newest audiobook…fresh out of the oven!Two Down, Bun to Go is worth Dozens of Chelsea Buns!
A phone call at 2 o‘clock in the morning can’t possible be good, and when the frantic friend asks you to retrieve a note before the police find it, you’re right…it isn’t good. Then you find out a not-so-popular Oxford professor is dead and the same frantic friend is arrested…yeah, it is really not good at all. Once again Gemma is thrown into the investigation to help clear her friend of murder, but dealing with relationship issues and efforts to find a new baking chef teeters Gemma’s life on the edge.
To enter to win either a print or kindle copy of any one book in this series, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “oxford,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 29, 2017. U.S. residents only for the print copy. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address. PLEASE STATE IN ENTRY WHETHER YOU WANT PRINT OR KINDLE & which book you want.
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