Wednesday, June 5, 2019

ARC Review: Sweet Tea and Secrets by Joy Avon

Sweet Tea and Secrets
Author: Joy Avon
Series: Book Tea Shop Mystery
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (June 11, 2019)

Description: Sleuth Callie Aspen wants to light up the Fourth of July tea party by solving a celebrity’s decades-old disappearance, but her digging results in more fireworks than she expects.

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 Tea and a Read mystery.

My Thoughts: Callie Aspen has given up her job as a tour guide for Travel the Past and come home to the place where she spent her summers as a child to work with her Great Aunt Iphy at Book Tea in Heart's Harbor, Maine. When she was back home for Christmas, she was instrumental in solving a murder. She's hoping that doesn't happen again.

Her aunt has found her a cottage to rent and even found a handyman to do the needed cosmetic repairs. The cottage is by an old lighthouse and her nearest neighbors are the former keeper and his wife.

Since plans are underway for a big Fourth of July celebration, Iphy asks Callie to find some historical event to spotlight. Her handyman Quinn suggests that Callie look into the disappearance of Monica Walker. The famous television actress was last seen in Heart's Harbor in 1989. Quinn's behavior is a little suspicious. Why is he concerned about the disappearing actress? Why does he say he camping out when the local hotel owner says he has rooms there?

Things get even more complicated when the editor of the local newspaper, who had been the reporter who investigated the original disappearance, is found murdered in his office. Quinn isn't the only one who is under suspicion. Callie's light house keeping neighbor is also behaving very suspiciously.

Callie wants to get involved in the investigation despite police officer Falk's disapproval. Callie and Falk had begun a romance when Callie was there at Christmas but now Falk is pulling away. Along with Callie's doubts about whether or not she should have given up her job and changed her life, Callie is wondering whether she made the right decision in coming back home.

This was an entertaining cozy mystery with interesting characters and a great setting. I liked Callie's rescue dog and the new rescue dog that she is trying to find a permanent home for.

Favorite Quote:
Falk glanced at her. "So you're going to settle here? It's not just for the summer vacation?"

"No. I resigned at Travel the Past, and my apartment is going to be rented to somebody else soon. I came out here with most of my stuff packed into a few suitcases, and the rest will follow shortly." As she said it, her throat constricted again. Had it been the right decision? Could she make it work? "I thought that...well, never mind."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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