In Tea with Milk and Murder, the second book in the Oxford Tearoom Mysteries series by H.Y. Hanna, Gemma Rose goes to a party at an art gallery where the art painted by her best friend Cassie is being displayed by Cassie’s new boyfriend, Johnny Kelsey, owner of the gallery. The party is crashed by Sarah Waltham, who claims to be Johnny’s girlfriend, and shows up drunk and violent. Then, Sarah has a seizure and dies, bringing in Gemma’s college love, Devlin O’Connor, now a Detective Inspector, to look into the murder.
Invested in the case for Cassie’s sake, Gemma does her own investigation into the death. Upon returning home after being questioned at the party, Gemma learns that Sarah had lived next door to her own parents, so she begins her own snooping there. It doesn’t take long before Gemma learns just how many people have had reason to hate Sarah. Since this long list includes Johnny, Cassie’s boyfriend, Gemma has a major falling out with her best friend, creating problems for the tearoom owned by Gemma and for which her mother is the cook. Gemma makes important discoveries, but it is Muesli, Gemma’s new cat, that saves the day!
This book is a very fun, creative book that gives a lot of flavor of Oxford, both the city and the university. It made me desire all the more to visit the school and wish I could study there! Besides the local flavor, the best thing about the book is the delightful characters and their unique elements. There is the critical but loving mother of Gemma. I loved the four “old biddies” who love to snoop and gossip with everyone around. But my favorite character is the cat Muesli, whose lively nature seems so realistic. I also liked seeing the developing relationship between Gemma and Devlin, who look like they are starting to renew the relationship they had eight years earlier.
I enjoyed the narration of Pearl Hewitt, who helps to take us to the world of Oxford. She creates good voices for the characters, especially making Muesli sound like such a real cat. When a book has first person narration, the perspective of the character influences the way the book must be read, since we are hearing each one through Gemma’s voice and perspective. Hewitt does a terrific job of performing this style of narration.
I thoroughly loved Tea with Milk and Murder even more than the previous book, A Scone to Die For, which you can read here. I give this book another five stars!
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