Sweet Tea and Secrets (A Tea and Read Mystery #2)

Sweet Tea and Secrets by Joy Avon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Who wouldn’t be inclined to read “Sweet Tea and Secrets” with its alluring and eye-catching cover and attractive premise of drinking hot, sweet tea and setting about solving a decades-0ld disappearance? This is Joy Avon’s very enjoyable second novel in the ‘A Tea and a Read’ mystery series. The first book was ‘In Peppermint Peril.’

I haven’t read the first book in this series yet, however, I don’t think that this spoilt my enjoyment of this novel. That said, it is so exciting, picking up a book which is the first in a new series!

Callie Aspen has left her tour guide job and she now helps out at ‘Book Tea,’ her great-aunt’s vintage tearoom, where each treat has a bookish clue. Though she’s excited to start her new life, Callie is worried that she may regret having burned her bridges. Wanting to solve a celebrity’s disappearance that happened many years ago, she finds immediate distraction in the preparations for a spectacular Fourth of July tea party, which will recreate key moments from the town’s rich history.

Intrigued to learn that 1980’s TV star Monica Walker was last seen in Heart’s Harbor before she vanished – allegedly to elope – Callie probes the local townsfolk for information. She’s stunned when several of them share contradictory stories about the last day before Monica’s disappearance. Did she intend to leave her hit TV series? Was she being stalked by her ex? And why is the newspaper editor who investigated the story at the time so anxious about the cold case heating up?

When one of the locals turns up dead, Callie aims to apprehend the killer. Deputy Falk doesn’t want her meddling, and the locals suddenly know more about the past than they’d been at liberty to admit. But will Callie be able to crack the case?

Set in Heart’s Harbor, Maine, Callie and Daisy the Boston Terrier are slowly settling into her new life, working with her Great-Aunt Iphy in ‘Book Tea.’ I found that I had a good connection with Callie as she had a tendency towards self-doubt and was a little unsure of herself. As someone who has read several cozies, Callie’s Great -Aunt Iphy has become another on the list of my favourite cozy characters. Joy Avon has really worked her magic in creating a character who is wonderfully astute and wise and I couldn’t help but grow very fond of her as the story progressed.

It was clear that there was some chemistry between Callie and Ace but it was a little frustrating that it lingered under the surface throughout the story and they both seemed to have their problems communicating with one another on a personal level.

I liked that the opening chapters drew me into the story and captured my attention immediately. There was never a dull moment with such a lot going on. The mystery itself was well thought out with plenty of twists and turns as I puzzled over the clues to discover the perpetrator. I thought that Joy Avon’s combination of the cold case threads inter-crossing with those of the present day murder was very well done. The book had a natural, steady pace and I was kept guessing until the surprising reveal.

Delightful and entertaining “Sweet Tea and Secrets” is a highly recommended, delectable read for all cozy mystery fans.

{Thank you to #NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the free copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.}

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