I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Steeped to Death by Gretchen Rue
Series: Witches' Brew Mystery #1
Published by Crooked Lane Books on September 6, 2022
Genres: Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Amateur Sleuth, Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Cozy / Paranormal, Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths
Format: ARC, eBook
For fans of Laura Childs and Amanda Flowers, it’s teatime in Raven Creek—but a murder at the The Earl’s Study sets the stage for an intoxicating brew of small-town chicanery with a hint of the supernatural.
Phoebe Winchester’s beloved aunt Eudora has a taste for adventure—and a knack for making magical tea. It’s even rumored that she just might be a witch. So when Eudora passes away and leaves everything to her niece—her Victorian mansion, her bookshop/tea store, The Earl’s Study, and one very chubby orange cat named Bob—Phoebe gets more than she bargained for. And she knows she’s in deep when a dead man is found on the shop’s back step, apparently killed while trying to break in.
Two suspects immediately emerge among the townspeople of Raven Creek, Washington. There’s village busybody Dierdre Miller, who seems desperate to buy Eudora’s house, and handsome PI Rich, one of Phoebe’s childhood friends—but how well does she really know him after all these years apart?
Phoebe knows she should leave it to the professionals, but as she starts to dig into the underbelly of Raven Creek, she begins to uncover the truth about Eudora. What’s more, her aunt might not have been the only witch in the family, as Phoebe soon discovers she has unique and unexpected gifts of her own.
Now, it’s just a matter of putting her newfound power to the test and cast a spell that could catch a killer.
There is way too much going on in this book! I know it’s a first in a new series but I’d like there to be way! less! exposition! Also there are a couple of references to Harry Potter, which is a HUGE GROAN. Cozy mysteries don’t usually have pop culture references, so I thought I was free. HOWEVER. There’s an orange cat. A bookshop also functions as a tea shop called The Earl’s Study. There’s a cozy Victorian mansion. There’s a possible love triangle. It’s set in Washington. So like. THERE ARE LOTS OF THINGS TO LOVE. There are also recipes in the back, which is one of my favorite things. The mystery is simultaneously quite light but also feels like it takes up too much room in the book. I’m going to go with three and a half stars, with the hope that the second book is better after it finds its feet. List of recipes available on my blog.
Amy’s Chocolate Hazelnut Latte
Eudora’s Famous Earl Grey Tea Shortbread
Parmesan and Black Pepper Sourdough Biscuits
The Earl’s Study Avocado Toast