Last Christmas, Callie Aspen left her tour guide job and settled in Heart’s Harbor, Maine. Now, she 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 worries she may regret having burned her bridges behind her. Fortunately, 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 1980s TV star Monica Walker was last seen in Heart’s Harbor before she vanished—allegedly to elope—Callie probes the townsfolk for information. She’s stunned when several locals 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 talkative townspeople turns up dead, Callie aims to catch the killer. But it’s no picnic: Deputy Falk doesn’t want her meddling, and the locals suddenly know more about the past than they’d been at liberty to admit. If Callie and the Book Tea crew can’t crack the case, they’ll pay a very steep price in Joy Avon’s explosive second Book Tea Shop Mystery.
I was eagerly looking forward to this second installment in Joy Avon’s Book Tea Shop Mystery series as I thoroughly enjoyed the first, In Peppermint Peril. I was not disappointed. Sweet Tea and Secrets had everything that I had loved in the first, and more.
First, I really do like Callie Aspen. She has her unlikable moments, but they don’t show themselves very often. She’s smart, she’s fun, and she’s an animal lover, always bringing her Boston Terrier, Daisy, along with her. Also, her Aunt Iphy is a hoot, even if she does tend to be a bit meddlesome. But, considering her age and the fact she lives in a tiny town, I’ll give her a pass.
Second, I enjoyed the double mystery. Cold cases fascinate me, likely because I’m a total science fanatic and seeing forensics and the like put into play is exciting for me. That alone was enough to interest me, but when a murder happens while Callie’s investigating this cold case, I was definitely hooked. Although I had pretty much figured out what had happened in the cold case early on, the resolution of it wasn’t anything like I had expected, so that was a wonderful surprise for me.
Sweet Tea and Secrets is an exciting and engaging cozy mystery. It’s a quick read, but enjoyable all the way to the end. I can’t wait to see what Callie, Iphy, Peggy and the rest get up to in the next installment. A great cozy series for anyone who loves a good cup of tea and a murder or two.
*Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy of this book.