Murder with Chocolate Tea
December 26, 2023

Book Review

Murder with Chocolate Tea

In the tenth installment of the ‘Daisy’s Tea Garden Mystery’ series, Daisy Swanson, a tearoom owner and amateur sleuth, finds herself entangled in both a disappearance and a murder investigation.

After becoming a widow with two teenage daughters, Daisy moves from Florida back to her Pennsylvania hometown of Willow Creek, in the Amish region. There, she and her Aunt Iris operate ‘Daisy’s Tea Garden,’ a quaint establishment offering soups, salads, sandwiches, pastries, and tea. Having previously aided the police in solving a murder accusation against her aunt and eight other homicides, Daisy has become something of a local detective.

The story begins with journalist Trevor Lundquist interviewing Daisy for his podcast, Hidden Spaces. In the interview, they discuss her role in solving murders. Soon after, an anonymous caller informs Trevor of an upcoming auction at Bonner’s Storage, hinting that one of the chests up for bid contains evidence of a two-decade-old murder. Daisy, along with her fiancé Jonas Groft, a former detective turned furniture maker, and her friend Amelia Wiseman, who runs a bed-and-breakfast, decide to attend the auction with the intent to use the chests and search them for clues.

After successfully acquiring five chests, their suspicions are heightened when someone attempts to tamper with them. A thorough examination by Daisy uncovers hidden notebook papers, clippings, and a photo of a teenage boy, Axel Strow, who disappeared twenty years ago.

Concurrently, a murdered physical therapist named Henry Kohler is discovered in Willow Creek. Kohler’s phone is linked to the anonymous tip about the chest, leading Daisy and Trevor to suspect a connection between Kohler’s murder and Strow’s disappearance. Despite skepticism from Police Detective Morris Rappaport, they launch their own investigation, interviewing people who knew Axel, including former classmates, a childhood admirer, and vendors at a market where Axel’s mother sold baked goods.

Amidst this investigation, Daisy juggles managing her tea garden, now promoting chocolate tea, planning her imminent wedding with Jonas, preparing her daughter Jazzi for college, giving marital advice to her other daughter, designing a workshop with Jonas, organizing a tea party for a local anniversary, and more.

The story is enriched with descriptions of delectable treats and elegant china, such as Stechcol Gracie teapots, Royal Copenhagen cups, Aynsley Marine Rose saucers, and Churchill Blue Willow cups.

The book concludes with recipes for ham and cabbage soup, egg and olive salad, and rhubarb muffins, adding a delightful touch to this charming cozy mystery.

Special thanks to Netgalley, Karen Rose Smith, and Kensington Books for providing a copy of this engaging tale

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