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Murder Spills the Tea–baking competition

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Murder Spills the Tea

by Vicki Delany

The way I judged Murder Spills the Tea was by my increasing frustration at the end of the book. With about 90% of the mystery read, I experienced an almost comical series of interruptions—the dogs wanted to go for a walk, my husband came in to say “hi,” the dryer buzzed urgently, and the timer for the tub of vegetables I was disinfecting dinged. I finally gave up and handled each issue culminating with the dog walk. I’m a fairly patient person, so I must have been really into the novel to get so irritated.

Lily is busy enough baking for and managing her own tea shop, but she also makes breakfast for her grandmother Rose’s B&B in exchange for lodging in a separate cottage on the grounds. All is well until her best friend Bernie and Rose convince Lily that participating in America Bakes!, a cooking “reality” show, will help promote her business. The event turns out to be rigged and full of competing ego-filled personalities. Lily does her best to “keep calm and carry on,” but that becomes difficult when she finds one of the judges dead in her tearoom. Sparks fly during the filming, some of the characters are less than truthful, and Lily is sure that the wrong person has been arrested.

Following the investigation is like watching a tennis match where the ball is lobbed all over the place. Things turn dangerous as the murderer gets more and more desperate. There are connections among the residents that are uncovered as Lily’s informal investigation progresses. Suspicions arise too about the film actors and crew, some of whom are staying at the B&B. Lily, Bernie, and Rose work well together as a team with Rose playing the age card when it suits her purposes. Murder Spills the Tea is an engaging and fun cozy mystery.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: 1. #3 in the Tea by the Sea Mystery Series, but could be read as a standalone.
2. I have a particular fondness for tearooms, so I especially enjoy cozy mysteries set in tearooms.
3. Includes recipes for Herbed Cucumber Sandwiches, Coconut Lime Cake, and a coffee cake that is served at the B&B.
4. Lily has a dog that is featured throughout the book and Rose has a cat that, despite Health Dept. regulations, finds its way into the kitchen regularly. Both add interest to the book.

Publication: July 26, 2022—Kensington

Memorable Lines:

“This is called reality TV,” he said. “In reality, it’s anything but. The show’s not concerned about the quality of your food or the arrangement of the flowers on the table. It’s about creating drama and interest. Reality’s boring.”

“Afternoon tea’s all about tradition. About hospitality and taking time to gather with friends to enjoy the finer things in life. Afternoon tea, in my opinion, anyway, is a delicacy, an indulgence, and it should be treated as such.”

Robbie jumped onto the floor and hissed at Detective Williams. “Do pardon my cat, Inspector,” Rose said as she made her way out of the room. “He likes most people.”


  1. WendyW says:

    I love that cute dog on the cover!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nancy says:

    I too enjoy tea rooms… so having a mystery set in one would be a great read. Glad you finally got to finish the book after your distractions.
    Happy February!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Life happens doesn’t it! I love Vicki Delany, this sounds like a good one!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carla says:

    You are reminding about all the books on my TBR that I need to get to. I have all three in this series on my kindle and after reading your review, I need to get to them. I love that you were enjoying it so much that you were frustrated when you had to do other things. I loved that quote about reality television, it is very accurate.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gretchen says:

    I think I have every one of Vicki Delany’s series on my TBR! This sounds like a good one – I like tearooms too. I love the quotes, they show her snappy writing style.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lghiggins says:

      Rose’s interactions with the main detective (who is past ready to retire) are quietly humorous. She says things that on the surface seem alright, but are really putdowns. She is from England so she deliberately calls him Inspector instead of Detective just to irritate him.


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