Book Review #13: A Scone to Die For by H.Y. Hanna

Posted 30th October 2017 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 12 Comments

Book Review #13: A Scone to Die For by H.Y. HannaA Scone to Die For by H.Y. Hanna
Series: Oxford Tearoom Mysteries #1
Published by Wisheart Press on January 17th 2016
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 335
Format: E-Book
Source: Owned
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When an American tourist is murdered with a scone in Gemma Rose’s quaint Oxfordshire tearoom, she suddenly finds herself apron-deep in a mystery involving long-buried secrets from Oxford’s past.

Armed with her insider knowledge of the University and with the help of four nosy old ladies from the village (not to mention a cheeky little tabby cat named Muesli), Gemma sets out to solve the mystery—all while dealing with her matchmaking mother and the return of her old college love, Devlin O’Connor, now a dashing CID detective.

But with the body count rising and her business going bust, can Gemma find the killer before things turn to custard?

A Scone to Die For is the first book in a cozy mystery series – Oxford Tearoom Mysteries. I was drawn to it because Lola reviewed it on her blog, and the cover is so cute! I’m a sucker for a cutesy cozy cover.

Cozy mystery staples: Cats? Check. Baking? Check. For some reason the main character finds herself investigating a murder despite police involvement? Check.

This little novel was very easy to read and went along at a good pace, but some things I found weird/annoying. For example:

  • Cassie’s exasperation at Gemma’s simple curiosity about a piece of paper she saw felt too strong and really odd.
  • Gemma missed Jaffa Cakes while in Sydney. If I can go to a supermarket in Perth (and before that, an independent grocery or British food shop) and find them in every international section, I’m SURE you can get them in Sydney! I love Jaffa Cakes, and have been getting them here for 20 years.
  • Am I nitpicking? I feel like I’m nitpicking.
  • Devlin’s need to over-explain things felt like he thought Gemma was stupid, which in turn made me dislike him a bit. And why would he even discuss a case with her in such detail? They’ve not seen each other for 8 years!

On the plus side, I liked much of it:

  • The old ladies were a delight; sticking their noses in and doing a bit of sleuthing.
  • I twigged who the killer was right before Gemma did, talk about stressful! This one had a pretty good mystery, and it kept me guessing. I had conversations with myself that went: “No…wait…could it be? Too obvious. Or is it? Maybe the author is trying to psych me out…” and so on.
  • Gemma herself is a good main character, she’s believable and likeable; even if she does make some questionable decisions.
  • Cats! Recipes! Is it a true cozy without at least one of these things? Bonus points for both haha. I love that Muesli is based on the author’s cat (who is adorable) look at that face!

Overall this was a good cozy mystery, but had a few flaws with characterisation in my opinion; not everyone seemed natural. But I’m sure as the series goes on and I get to know everyone better, it will all gel together (having now read a few of these books, I am correct. This seems to be the case with a lot of cozy series!)

It did make me realise that I prefer my cozies set in the UK. I’m not entirely sure why, it’s probably all the BBC tv shows I watch starring amateur detectives (or maybe it’s just Midsomer Murders, which seems to always be on, and I always watch it!) I’ve read a number of American ones, but quaint and English is definitely my preferred setting.

If you like cozy mysteries (and sweet foods) I would definitely recommend this for a lazy day of reading! It’s a good start to a series that just gets better as it goes along.

Also, the first book is currently free on Amazon (kindle) 🙂

Rating Report
Plot
four-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
four-half-stars
Pacing
four-stars
Overall: 4.1

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12 responses to “Book Review #13: A Scone to Die For by H.Y. Hanna

  1. This is a really cutesy cover! And cats and baking, of course lol. I get nitpicky sometimes too, but oftentimes it’s the little nonsensical things that are even more frustrating than the big ones. Sounds like it had a great mystery though! And the old ladies sound fun lol. Glad you liked it!

  2. Sounds like a good one overall. I do love cozy mysteries and I need to read more of them. I don’t know if I’ve read one set in the UK yet–maybe one? I need to read more!

    -Lauren

    • Cozies can be totally fun 🙂 I’m going to try to find some others that are set in different places next year I think, just to see what they’re like!

  3. Jo

    I’m a sucker for a cutesy cover as well…and this book sounds great! Anything cozy is great and the name Muesli? Too adorable 🙂 Definitely gonna upload it on my kindle

  4. I didn’t realize you picked it up because you saw me review these, that makes me happy to hear! I always have a few small things like that that bother me with each book, but usually they are small things and for the most parts this series is so much fun! And the Old Biddies are always fun to read about, they always get up to something in each book.
    I also like how this author writes such good mysteries I rarely figure it out early on. And I agree Gemma is a believable and likeable character, although she does make some questionable decisions at times indeed. I hope you keep enjoying this series! I just finished book 7 and in my opinion the series is still going strong!

    • The Old Biddies are great, always sticking their noses into something! I almost wish we would get a novella featuring them. Maybe one day 🙂

      I’ve finished 5 now, I think I’ll be a bit sad when I catch up because I’ll have to wait for more!

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