Murder with Cherry Tarts
by Karen Rose Smith
What a delightful cozy mystery! I enjoyed Murder with Cherry Tarts by Karen Rose Smith from beginning to end. It has interesting characters including Daisy Swanson, a widow and co-owner of Daisy’s Tea Garden with her Aunt Iris. Daisy is at the center of the book’s many threads. There is, of course, a murder mystery which Daisy tries not to get involved in, but her kind nature won’t allow her to stand by while an innocent man is railroaded by a detective with a chip on his shoulder. That chip is connected to Daisy’s boyfriend Jonas, a former detective. Other tensions include a homeless man and his daughter and an elderly antique shop owner possibly being cheated by a family member. Also, Daisy has continuing relationship issues with her mother, preparations for the upcoming wedding of her pregnant daughter, and the struggles of her youngest daughter, who is adopted, to connect with her biological mother. It is a busy story!
The setting is Lancaster County in Pennsylvania. Although Daisy is not Amish, there are a sprinkling of references to horse and buggy transport and other Amish customs as Willow Creek is a seasonal tourist town.
Despite the various focuses on relationships, the mystery is still key. There are several suspects with plausible motives, but when the murderer is revealed in a scene replete with danger, the surprise ending is stunning.
The author follows up with an epilogue that provides a promisingly happy conclusion to the relationship threads as well as the murder investigation. There are, however, still developments to look forward to in the next cozy in this series.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: 1. #4 in the Daisy’s Tea Garden Mystery Series, but works very well as a standalone. The characters’ backgrounds are skillfully woven into the first chapter.
2. The book concludes with recipes, including one for Daisy’s famous cherry tarts that everyone raves about.
Publication: November 26, 2019—Kensington Books
“Sharing tea with a friend is a calming experience. I think it has to do with just taking time out of your day to talk and to share. It doesn’t matter the type of tea or if you use sugar or honey or milk. It’s just the experience of sipping it that counts.”
That was exactly what grief felt like, a hole that could never be filled up.
The photographs would never reveal the tension that always bubbled up within her family. But that was the point of happy photos, wasn’t it? To remember the good times and cherish them.