Tea tea and more tea
The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment
October 10, 2020
I love watching British murder mysteries. When a person is traumatized by finding a dead body, the police immediately sits them down and brings them a cup of tea. The same is true when the police deliver bad news, question residents in the neighborhood, dig through trash bins or tromp through murky woods for clues.
That cup of tea on a saucer or in a mug, steaming hot, enters the scene. It is comforting. So what could be better than reading a series of six books titled, “Tea Shop Cozy Mysteries” by Katherine Hayton?
Willow Foxglove is a widow living in a pleasant town, feeling fortunate to have good and supportive friends, when she finds a body in her garden and decides to open a tea shop almost simultaneously. Strange? A little bit, especially when the sheriff has her on the list of murder suspects. In the first book of the series, appropriately titled “Pushing Up Daisies” the murdered man is Willow’s romantic beau. And yes, many cups of tea are brewed.
By the second book, “Berry Murderous” I realized I was hearing Willow speaking in the high pitched voice of Blondie from the classic Blondie and Dagwood series, circa 1930. Probably because Willow seems to have an abundance of old-fashioned hospitality and kindness and a knack for making the absolutely wrong decisions when stepping in and around a second murder scene. She is not considered a suspect in this murder, although the murdered man is the head builder turning her conservatory into a tea shop. Willow also accidentally talks the murderer into going to the sheriff to clear themselves, which becomes her forte in these stories. Befriend and support the murderer as innocent, then prove them guilty!
By the third book, “Deathbed of Roses,” the reader is not surprised when no one shows up the first hour of the tea shop grand opening, because a murder has been committed and the main road to the tea shop has been closed to traffic. Of course, Willow had walked past the very spot the murder occurred hours before, and has information to give the sheriff. But as they say, the show must go on and the tearoom opens in spite of disruption, with copious cups of tea made and the scones selling out.
The fourth book in this series is “Orange Juiced.” I settled in to see how Willow would maneuver around the next murder by making myself a full pot of tea before turning the first page. This is mystery upon mystery, as Willow’s favorite TV murder series comes to film their next episode in her town. It is expected that Willow will get into the middle of things while trying to help, mucking up a few clues before this next murder is sorted out.
Book five, “Keeping Mums,” hits close to home as a tea shop employee goes missing and her husband is found dead. Much more tea is needed to get through this mystery. Emotions become conflicted between friends, which is always dicey.
Finally we arrive at “Hibiscus Homicide” where Willow’s friend Reg finally spots aliens during his night watches of the sky. Will aliens hinder business at Willow’s tea shop? Or will their town become another Area 51 with an influx of curiosity seekers? My vote is on the tea, because no matter how many mysteries and dead bodies, friends or foes, a nice cup of tea soothes any rough edges or bumps along life’s road.
Is this series deep? No. These books are easy to pick up and put down throughout a busy day, light enough that you will hear the doorbell ring or the baby cry. You can read between busy moments and never lose the thread of the story. Read five minutes while waiting to pick up your kids at school or bus stop. Read the seven minutes it takes to cook pasta al dente or egg noodles four minutes to perfection. These mysteries are great for brief respites in this busy and stressful world, giving moments of relaxation by immersing in someone else’s problems, certain of a happy ending.
Perhaps you will branch out from your regular black or green tea, into the world of herbs and spices, plant a garden or forage nature for ingredients. Chamomile comes from a tiny daisy flower most people ignore as a weed. Rose hips are produced at the end of the bloom and are full of vitamin C. Dandelion tea can be harvested from your own front yard, but beware any chemicals used to keep the grass green or pests under control. Lavender tea is brewed from the flower buds and serves to soothe, both as a tea and aromatherapy, calming the nerves and may even produce deeper sleep.
For me, the act of making the tea itself, no matter what kind, has a soothing effect. Waiting for the water to boil, setting out the teapot or cup, deciding on the perfect flavor, steeping it just right. By the time you do all that, whatever led you to make the tea itself, whether it be a murder or just a book about one, you are ready to face it. Enjoy!
*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.