All-Butter ShortDead Book Review
|No. of Pages:||200|
|Cover Price:||$8.99 Paperback, $2.99 Kindle|
While many of us have already enjoyed the cute cozies in the Oxford Tearoom Mystery series written by H.Y. Hanna, All-Butter ShortDead is the prequel, and explains much of Gemma’s past and her trip back to a little Cotswolds village on the outskirts of Oxford in England from Australia where she quit a high-paying job to purchase and run a quaint tea shop called Little Stables Tearoom. On her flight from Australia, Gemma gets to know her seatmate, Jenn, and when Jenn leaves her scarf on the plane, Gemma contacts her to drop the scarf off at a nearby hotel where Jenn is staying. Jenn invites Gemma to have a drink in the hotel bar; Gemma accepts, and while she enjoys the company, Jenn gets extremely drunk. Gemma helps Jenn to her room, and when Jenn asks about her purse, goes back downstairs to the bar to retrieve it. Gemma drops it in Jenn’s room, says goodbye, and leaves. Unfortunately, the next morning, Gemma learns that Jenn has been murdered and she is the prime suspect because she was the last person to see Jenn alive. A newspaper reporter prints an untrue, but damaging, story about Gemma, and the bank rejects her business loan for her new tea shop.
Gemma knows that unless she finds the real murderer, she will be charged and convicted; with the help of the Old Biddies (a group of old ladies who are very good at sticking their noses in other people’s business), Gemma races against time to find the murderer before her tea shop is sold to a group of Chinese investors.
Even though All-Butter ShortDead is shorter than the subsequent novels in the series, it is charming, and a fun read. Hanna does an excellent job of introducing her characters – Gemma, her eccentric mother, her best friend and artist, Cassie, a shy handyman, Fletcher, who bakes wonderful scones, and of course, Muesli, a tiny cat who wins Gemma’s (and everyone else’s heart), as well as the four old ladies who keep readers laughing and on their toes.
While the subsequent novels have a recipe at the end, this one doesn’t; it’s a bit disappointing for those of us readers who like to cook and want to make the delicious treats mentioned, but knowing recipes are coming in the next books in the series gives us an incentive to read the subsequent novels right away. Oxford and the English college system is a mystery to most Americans, and since the author is an Oxford graduate, there is English trivia to be learned. At the end of her book there is a glossary of British terms which is helpful, and even though the story is fictional, the backdrop is right on and makes readers want to visit the charming English villages and a traditional tea shop like the Little Stables Tearoom.
Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this novel.
This book may be purchased at Amazon:
All-Butter ShortDead (Prequel: Oxford Tearoom Mysteries ~ Book 0)
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