A Scone to Die For: Oxford Tearoom Cozy Mysteries, Book 1 (Unabridged)
"They say you have to make sacrifices to follow your dreams. I just didn't expect the sacrifices to involve an American tourist and a killer scone."
Gemma ditches her high-flying job and returns to Oxford to pursue her dream of opening a traditional English tearoom. It means giving up her savings, moving back with her parents, and coping with her bossy, matchmaking mother, but she's sure it will all be worth it. In fact, business is already booming—that is, until she opens up shop and finds an American tourist murdered by one of her signature scones! Now Gemma is apron-deep in a puzzling mystery, with her past coming back to haunt her when the handsome CID detective leading the case turns out to be her old college flame. And with the nosy "Old Biddies" from the local village meddling at every turn and her baker's cheeky cat terrorizing her kitchen, she's beginning to find herself in a real pickle....
Who was the American, and what was he really doing in Oxford? Is his death linked to a long-buried scandal at the historic university, or was he just the unlucky victim of a brawl at the village pub? What about the sultry new member of local book club—is she lying about her relationship with the murdered tourist?
The question that's really bothering Gemma, though, is how she can keep serving warm buttery scones with jam and clotted cream, and fragrant tea in pretty bone china...when her customers think her baking is more deadly than delicious! With the body count rising and her tearoom going bust, can Gemma find the killer before her dreams turn to custard?
A Scone to Die For is the delectable first book in the Oxford Tearoom Mysteries. If you like deliciously endearing characters, intriguing whodunits, and hilarious British humor—not to mention cats with big personalities!—then you'll love the first book in H.Y. Hanna's best-selling culinary cozy mystery series.
"A Scone to Die For" earns 5/5 Traditional Scones with a Pot of Tea!
After a reevaluation of life and career, Gemma Rose quits her high paying job in Sydney and returns to Meadowford-on-Smythe, England, to open up a tearoom. The Little Stables Tearoom just starting to gain a regular clientele offering scones and cream, sticky toffee pudding, and pots of English and Earl Gray tea, also hosts many tourists who come to explore Oxford and the Cotswold countryside with a desire to experience a proper English Tea. But, when the nasty American who had caused a ‘kerfuffle’ in the tearoom the day before ends up dead in the courtyard with a scone stuffed down his throat, Gemma takes it upon herself to investigate.
Dealing with four old biddies, a bossy mother, a missing cat, former college boyfriend now investigating detective, and another dead body, Gemma uncovers several possible suspects, questionable alibis, stern warnings from the police, and more than one mystery to ponder. The tearoom is suffering and Gemma needs to find a solution quickly. She heads into Oxford visiting her alma mater, local pubs, and even finds herself fibbing a bit to get the key evidence needed to solve the murder before she loses her tearoom or becomes the next victim.
The narrator Pearl Hewitt is ‘Absolutely Fabulous!’ Her British accent is the perfect dialect for Gemma’s educated manner, and the tone changes helped add a bit to the other characters: proper English for the ‘old biddies’ and Oxford Dons, street English for the pub owner and some questionable villagers, and the change she mastered for the Americans. She gave me more than a few giggles when referring to some purely British idiosyncrasies…even murder sounds great with an English accent.
I loved this audiobook version…LOVED IT! And having the eBook, too, I had the luxury of following along at times. H.Y. Hanna kept me engaged with a truly delightful story with more than a few quirky characters, provided marvelous descriptions of the village that I almost felt like an ex-pat residing alongside the locals, and gave me a bit of a lesson in Oxford etiquette. With a few unforeseen twists and a reference to my favorite detective dramas—Morse and Midsommer Murders—I was hooked! In the back of the eBook/Print version definitions for some of the British vocabulary are provided along with a recipe for the Traditional English Scones.