Series: Oxford Tearoom Mysteries #1
Published by Wisheart Press on January 17th 2016
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
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) 🙂