This Christmas, Callie Aspen returns to her childhood hideout Heart’s Harbor, Maine where her great aunt runs Book Tea, a vintage tearoom where every sweet treat contains a bookish clue. Upon arrival in the fairy-tale snowy town, Callie is drawn into the preparations for a special tea party at Haywood Hall, the rambling house of Heart’s Harbor’s oldest resident, rich but lonely widow Dorothea Finster, who invited her estranged relatives, old friends and the elite of the town to make a mysterious announcement about her will.
Believing they can touch a part of her fortune, everybody is determined to come, despite not liking each other or even their hostess. And Callie’s old friend Sheila complicates things by using the tea party to announce her daughter’s engagement, even though her daughter isn’t sure she’s in love with the young lawyer her mother thinks so perfect for her.
Catering to people who each have their own agenda isn’t easy for the Book Tea crew, especially once the valuable engagement ring goes missing and a dead body turns up in the conservatory. Can Callie and her great aunt use their love of clues to dig into the crimes and show their unhappy hostess and squabbling guests the true Christmas spirit?
Going home isn’t ever easy. It’s even harder when your old friend has married the man you once loved. Callie doesn’t let this stop her, coming back to Heart’s Harbor to spend the holidays with her great aunt despite it all. Honestly, Callie handled it well, considering she wasn’t really sure what she felt for Stephen in the present day. She is a great sleuth, however, and made me think of the old show, Murder She Wrote, more often than I’d like to admit.
In Peppermint Peril has a great set of characters and a steadily moving plot. The players are just shady enough that you suspect them all at one time or another and there were plenty of surprises to keep me going. Of all the characters, I think I liked Aunt Iphy the best. Although she’s older, she has a great sense of humor and a love of mystery that overflows out of her tearoom and into her everyday life. I would have loved an aunt like her.
This is an excellent start to a new series by a new author. I’m eagerly awaiting the next in the series, due to releas in the summer. It’ll be fun to see what Callie, Iphy, and the rest have gotten up to in the meantime, as well as whether Callie’s budding relationship goes anywhere. I highly reccommend this book to anyone who loves cozy mysteries. As an added bonus, for you theme readers, this is set during the Christmas holidays so there’s plenty of snow and festivities to go along with a cute mystery.
*Thanks to Netgalley, the author and publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.