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Murder Seems Better with an English Accent! Deliciously Fun!
H.Y. Hanna is my all-time favorite author of my all-time favorite series! I’ve enjoyed connecting with her down under and being part of her advanced reader team. It is very entertaining joining Gemma Rose and the ‘bloody’ delightful mysteries H.Y. Hanna has created. She delivers clever murder mysteries often with an entertaining British flair, fun and some quirky characters, and Gemma always seems to find some danger before the killer is brought to justice. Romance? Yes, it starts out as a big question to whom Gemma will give her heart, but I enjoy the romantic dance of ups and downs, wading in slowly or jumping into the deep end. This series satisfies my Anglophile appetite as I learned how to make traditional scones to serve with a perfect pot of tea. Cornish or Devon? I decided I’ll have my cream tea the Devonshire way…clothed cream, first, then jam! And in the back of the book there is a Glossary of British terms and an easy to follow recipe that has a connection to that book. Which English recipe will be your favorite?
Pearl Hewitt is the delightful voice of H.Y. Hanna’s Oxford Tearoom and earns my personal stamp as Narrator Extraordinaire. Her voice artistry enriched my enjoyment, and has stuck in my head enough that when I read one of H.Y. Hanna’s books, I hear Pearl’s voice. Her British accent is the perfect dialect for Gemma's educated manner, and the tone changes helped add to the emotions and personality of the other characters: proper English for the 'old biddies" and the Oxford Dons, street English for the pub owner and some questionable villagers, and she mastered a few Americans, too. She kept me totally engaged, eager to listen again, and giggling at the British tone I so enjoy...even murder sounds great with an English accent!
“All-Butter ShortDead” earns 5+/5 Cups of Earl Gray with Lemon!
We join Gemma Rose on her long flight having made the decision to quit her high paying job in Sydney and move back to Meadowford-on-Smythe to open a traditional English tearoom. She engages a woman in conversation to pass the time, but when the woman leaves a beautiful scarf behind, she questions whether to get involved. She should have reconsidered. Returning the scarf she is met with the woman, who had indulged in too many double vodka martinis. Gemma assists the woman back to her hotel room safely, then…is unwittingly dragged into her first murder investigation when the woman ends up dead. She is having some obstacles finalizing the details for her tearoom, but this casual friend does deserve justice. This was an excellent prequel! Since most fans have read the other full-length novels, going back in time is an entertaining look into Gemma’s first arrival home and getting ready to embark on her new venture with the tearoom. For those just starting off on the Oxford Tearoom Mystery journey, the prequel is a great place to get introductions to Gemma, her BFF Cassie, her mother (OMG, her mother!), the ‘Old Biddies” (stewed prunes and all), and the engaging style of H.Y. Hanna. The only thing missing in this book is a recipe…how do I make traditional English shortbread biscuits—rich and crumbly?
"Scone to Die For” earns 5+/5 Traditional Scones with Clotted Cream and Jam!
It is not important to start with book one, but the story moves forward with Gemma Rose opening her Little Stables Tearoom offering traditional English fare. She becomes a popular destination for tourists who desire to experience a proper English Tea, but, a nasty American causes a ‘kerfuffle’ in the tearoom and later ends up dead with a scone stuffed down his throat. The supporting characters become more developed as Gemma relies heavily on her BFF Cassie, a very bossy mother, my favorite octogenarians dubbed the “Four Ol’ Biddies,’ handsome former college flame turned detective Devilin O’Conner, and Museli her cat. Gemma’s investigation techniques consist of tracking down clues at her Oxford University alma mater, local pubs, and even finds herself fibbing a bit to get the key piece of evidence. H.Y. Hanna kept me engaged with a truly delightful story with more than a few quirky characters, provided marvelous descriptions of the village that I almost felt like an ex-pat residing alongside the locals, and gave me a bit of a lesson in Oxford University etiquette. With a few unforeseen twists and a reference to my favorite detective dramas—Morse and Midsomer Murders—I was hooked! And the recipe for the Traditional English Scones was the perfect little extra.
“Tea With Milk and Murder” earns 5+/5 Slices of Velvety Cheesecake!
The journey continues, and I'm thrilled it does. However, Gemma Rose is not thrilled about the art exhibition she is attending. BFF Cassie Jenkins is having her first exhibition courtesy of gallery owner and new boyfriend, and although Gemma is not a fan, friends will do almost anything for a friend. Her opinion of him seems validated when she overhears him plotting in the shadows, and his self-proclaimed girlfriend shows up causing a scene, flails, and collapses on the ground…dead. Gemma once again meets up with CID Detective Devilin O’Conner (sparks fly, but not sure if that's good or bad), and the "Old Biddies” add their own insights with a few covert explorations finding hidden flats, lacy thongs, and more suspicions. This ranks right at the top of my favorite list with another tantalizing story to challenge my inner ‘Sherlock.’ Gemma Rose is a strong female character delightfully clever, and even though she has some confidence issues, I find her quite entertaining. There’s a bit of a romantic triangle, cat antics, interesting mother-daughter dynamic (No, I didn’t order that!), and four octogenarians who steal the scene. The recipe in this second book is for Gemma’s mother’s Velvety Cheesecake…delicious!
Many know I've always been a fan of all things British, so I am in ‘seventh heaven' with all the references to Oxford University and the local haunts, Meadowford-on-Smythe, traditional fare for tea and treats, and an easy-to-follow recipe included for my own afternoon tea menu. It is 'jolly good’ fun!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Where does The Oxford Tearoom Mysteries Box Set Collection I rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
What a great collection, you get 3 stories in this bundle and all are fun and enjoyable.
All Butter ShortDead
This is the first and start of the oxford tea room mysteries so is a great book to start with as
it explains how Gemma ends up with the tea room, but she also has to solve her very first mystery where she is the number one suspect. It is shorter than the other stories but is a good start as to what the listener is in store with these mysteries, lots of laughs, suspects and red herrings
Book 1 A Scone to Die For
I enjoyed this, with all the cosy mysteries set in America it was a nice pace to listen to a story set in England. Even though it was set in Oxford you could picture it happening in any country village and imagine the local busybodies poking there noses in, in order to help solve the mystery resulting in some humour sprinkled tho the book.
Book 2 Tea with Milk and Murder
There were lots of suspects and even though I had guessed the killer about mid way through the book is was still fun listening to Gemma trying to work out who the culprit was and keep her friendship, love life and sanity in one piece.
I love the extra characters namely her mum (who loves Gemma and instead of telling her that, she shows it buying things....normally with things THAT nobody wants) and the old ladies (who know everybody and try to help Gemma by solving the crime first and getting in trouble) as they add a humours side to the stories.
It is the same narrator through out the books which is a plus as she is very good, having different voices and tones for the characters .
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review,
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Three books in one - what's not to like....
I liked the characters and storylines. Gemma's mother is great ! A real character.
I listened to these immediately in a row and look forward to the next ones.
The only thing that made the performance not a 5 was the bad pronunciation of psychopath as psychoparrrrrrth. Just no !
A nice introduction to the characters and a little glimpse into the early days of the tea room and Gemma's first ever mystery. A fun read with all my favourite characters. The old biddies lend a helping hand to solve the murder, and Muesli, the cat, makes an appearance as well.
A Scone to Die For
A brilliantly penned mystery with lots of humour.
There are many things that I loved about this book. The author's sense of humour really shines through in this book. I don't usually find the circumstances surrounding a murder to be humorous but I couldn't help it with this one. The murder victim was discovered in the courtyard of Gemma's tearoom with one of her scones shoved in his mouth. I didn't feel too badly about him as he was such a nasty character to begin with.
I loved that Gemma wasn't the only amateur sleuth trying to solve the murder. The 'Old Biddies' proved helpful on occasion and more often a source of hilarity. Gemma's mother is also a great, eccentric character. Between her matchmaking schemes and forever forgetting her Ipad password she injects another layer of humour into the story.
I liked the romantic subplot in the background of the story. I'm not sure Devlin deserves to have a second chance with Gemma this early in the series so I was glad that she has other options to play with. I hope Devlin suffers a little bit before/if they end up together.
The murder mystery itself was well thought out and had an element of suspense which I really enjoy. I also had no clue who the killer was until it was revealed in dramatic style.
The really important and huge mystery of where Muesli the cat disappeared to also came to a timely conclusion and I was (spoiler alert!) relieved that he was okay.
Tea With Milk and Murder
Gemma, once again, lands herself in hot water when she investigates a murder that takes place during her friend's art exhibition. There are plenty of suspects to choose from and her friend's new boyfriend is number one on her list. There are plenty of twists in the story and I was as surprised as Gemma was with the identity of the murderer.
In addition to the mystery, the funny side stories involving Gemma's mother working in the tearoom make for delightful and entertaining reading. Luckily, Gemma has the 'Old Biddies' on hand when things start to fall apart. They keep their noses firmly in other people's affairs and pour tea at the same time.
I love the way Muesli, the cat, is written into the story and comes to the rescue at just the right moment.
There are some developments in Gemma's love life as well but I'm hoping this aspect isn't rushed too quickly to a happy ending for her and Devlin as I am enjoying their little arguments as well as her mother's matchmaking attempts.
Oxford is described in such warmth and detail that it makes me want to hop over for a weekend, take a walk around and drop in for tea.
I can't wait for the next book in the series.
I voluntarily reviewed a gifted copy.