15 August 2011

Review: English Tea Murder by Leslie Meier

Note that a shorter version of this review was first published in Shelf Awareness for Readers on July 15, 2011.

Lucy Stone—reporter for the Tinker's Cove, Maine, Pennysaver—is taking her first trip across the Atlantic. The tour of England, led by a local college professor, is a chance for Lucy and her friends Rachel, Pam, and Sue to see something of the world. When one of the tour members dies before the plane has even landed, Lucy can't help but wonder whether the death was indeed an unfortunate accident.

Although English Tea Murder is the 17th entry in the Lucy Stone cozy mystery series by Leslie Meier, readers new to the series (like me) will quickly catch on to the fact that Lucy is happily married, has a group of close women friends, is unused to travel abroad, and often finds herself tangled up in a murder mystery. It is my understanding that this is the first novel in the series to take place outside of Maine.

In true cozy fashion, the book covers more than just the murder, and it is fun to follow Lucy as she pokes around the Tower of London, bargains with vendors at Portobello Market, and walks the pier at Bath. One of the running story lines is Lucy's first encounter with life in a foreign country, and readers sympathize with her as she tries to adjust to the foods and customs of modern England and laugh as she and her friends are forever foiled in their attempt to enjoy a traditional high tea. Meier's descriptions of historic sites and shopping trips (including Harrods) will have you planning your next vacation.

At its heart, however, English Tea Murder is a mystery, and even as Lucy relishes being a tourist, the reporter in her cannot help but observe her fellow travelers. Something seems a bit off, and she has nagging thoughts that there is some kind of conspiracy or coverup. Finally, after a couple of unexplained accidents and a second death, Lucy—and the police—are on the case, trying to figure out which tour member (including a grieving mother, troubled college students, and a medical doctor) may have had the means or motive to carry off the murders. Thanks to the complex relationships among the characters and an unexpected dilemma for Lucy, it's not that easy to predict the ending of this satisfying cozy.

I enjoyed getting to know Lucy Stone and I'm looking forward to reading some of the earlier novels to get a sense of her family and life in Tinker's Cove, Maine.

English Tea Murder at Powell's
English Tea Murder at Book Depository
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Published by Kensington, 2011
ISBN-13: 9780758229311
Source: Review (see review policy)
Rating: B-
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Beth Hoffman 8/15/11, 8:54 AM  

Terrific review! This sounds like an easy and fun read.

Sheila (Bookjourney) 8/15/11, 9:47 AM  

I need to try some of these cozy reads... they always look fun and I imagine myself in a chair with a blanket and a cup of tea :)

Julie P. 8/15/11, 10:01 AM  

I've read a few of these but a tea one? Now that sounds cute!

Zibilee 8/15/11, 11:06 AM  

I haven't read many cozies, but this one sounds rather interesting and enticing. I am glad that you enjoyed it and that you will continue on with the series. It sounds like a good one.

Heather 8/15/11, 12:16 PM  

I definitely must add Lucy Stone to my reading list. She sounds perfectly sensible going for tea with her friends. Thanks.

bermudaonion 8/15/11, 1:07 PM  

I saw your review in SA and have been interested in the book ever since. This sounds delightful.

Dorte H 8/15/11, 3:36 PM  

This one sounds absolutely charming!

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) 8/15/11, 6:09 PM  

this sounds adorable and like something my mother would totally dig. She's big into mysteries, especially British ones. Thanks for highlighting this one!

Serena 8/16/11, 10:26 AM  

I don't really read these types of mysteries, but this one sounds interesting.

Barbara 8/16/11, 11:19 AM  

English Tea . . . no wonder you read it. This sounds like such a fun series of cozies. We used to live in Maine so I'm surprised I hadn't heard of the series, and I think this one might remind us of our trip to England and Scotland.

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