Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Review: Shadow of a Spout by Amanda Cooper

Shadow of a Spout
Author:  Amanda Cooper
Series:  A Teapot Collector Mystery 2
Publisher:  Berkley (Prime Crime), April 7, 2015
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780425265246 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Avid teapot collector Rose Freemont takes a break from her Victorian tea house only to find a new mystery brewing elsewhere…
Leaving her home in Gracious Grove behind her, Rose is off to the annual convention of the International Teapot Collector’s Society. Her granddaughter Sophie is minding the tea house while she’s away. Rose is eager for tough cookie Zunia Pettigrew to appraise a prized antique teapot she believes may be a holy water vessel from China.

But when Zunia declares the pot a fake, Rose is really steamed. After Zunia’s found dead beside Rose’s dinged-in teapot, Sophie must rush to her grandmother’s aid and find the real killer—before Rose is steeped in any more trouble… 

Jennifer's Review

Shadow of a Spout is the second book in the Teapot Collector Mystery Series. The first book in the series introduced us to Sophie, who moved to a small town in upstate New York to spend time with her Grandma Rose, and recover from the bankruptcy of the New York City restaurant she started up at a very young age. Rose and her best friend Laverne have left Gracious Grove and Rose’s flourishing Auntie Rose’s Victorian Tea House for a small inn that is hosting the annual teapot collector society weekend. Unfortunately, the weekend is anything but fun when the universally despised president of the New York division of the society is found brutally murdered, bludgeoned with Rose’s antique metal teapot after she and the victim, Zunia, have a public altercation. Sophie races to the Stone and Scone Inn to help her keep her grandma from being arrested for murder and stop the real killer before there is another victim!

Sophie is still very fragile from the failure of her restaurant, but is showing more strength in this novel. She is clearly a talented and creative chef, who has found her niche in her grandma’s tea house; she just hasn’t quite figured that out yet. She’s putting down some roots in Gracious Grove and reestablishing old friendships that foundered after she stopped spending her summers in the idyllic town. She’s been hanging out with Cissy, her childhood best friend, who is trying to rebuild her life after the disaster that took place in the first book, and Dana, an uneasy past acquaintance who is turning into a real friend and ally. Sophie is also contemplating rekindling her romance with old flame, Jason; she just isn’t sure if he feels the same way and is worried about making a huge mistake. This story is chock full of other supporting characters, many of them elderly and highly entertaining.

Rose and Laverne’s long term friendship is one of the more charming aspects of the book, along with the friendship of two gentlemen teapot collectors, Laverne’s father Malcolm and his friend Horace, both over ninety and still robust. Thelma, who has hated Rose for a slight that happened sixty years ago, is also along for the convention, being newly inducted into Rose’s small group of teapot collectors, The Silver Spouts. Thelma, whose disposition has always been quite tart is trying to turn over a new leaf and be less catty and judgmental, but, luckily for the reader, she hasn’t really mastered the whole kindness thing and is just as crusty and self righteous as ever, in a delightfully humorous way. Josh, the youngest member of the Silver Spouts, being just 16, is a favorite character. He has old school manners and is truly interested in the lives of the older people he chooses to spend his time with. Multiple other members of the national society have prominent, but secondary roles. Bertie, the neurotic innkeeper, has so many phobias it is comical. The widow of the murder victim and his teenage daughter are under the microscope for their familial issues. A weepy pastor, an ambitious wife and her womanizing husband, and a shy but talented tea blender all add to the suspect list and bring depth to the mystery and overall story.

The mystery is powered mostly by the multitude of lies told by everyone involved, which is started off by poor old Thelma, right in the beginning of the story. The lies are all well told and help keep the reader guessing right up to the end of the book. Being a prolific cozy mystery reader, I can very often pick out the killer early on in a novel, but was very pleasantly surprised to find that I could not do this with a Shadow of a Spout. The twists and turns in the plot, and the lies and secrets surrounding almost every character keep the story fresh and interesting right up to the end. The author did a wonderful job of tying up some minor lose ends from the first book, which had been niggling at me. We get to learn just what happened to Sweet Pea, the cat of the murder victim in Tempest in a Teapot, and find out what path Cissy has decided on for her life. Tiny details, but I loved that they were worked into the second book in an organic and relevant way. On a final note, be sure to take the time to read the little poem before the first chapter, it was short but lovely, and will resonate with any lover of a warm and restoring cup of tea.


Tempest in a Teapot
A Teapot Collector Mystery 1
Berkley (Prime Crime), June 3, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Tucked away in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York is the charming town of Gracious Grove, where time moves slowly, gossip spreads quickly, and the scones are to die for...
When her fashionable Manhattan restaurant goes under, Sophie Taylor retreats to her grandmother’s cozy shop, Auntie Rose’s Victorian Teahouse, where serenity is steeped to perfection in one of her many antique teapots. The last thing Sophie expects is a bustling calendar of teahouse events, like her old friend Cissy Peterson’s upcoming bridal shower.

Not everyone is pleased with the bride-to-be’s choice of venue—like Cissy’s grandmother, who owns a competing establishment, La Belle Epoque, and has held a long-simmering grudge against Rose for stealing her beau sixty years ago. Tensions reach a boiling point when Cissy’s fiancé’s mother dies while sampling scones at La Belle Epoque. Now, to help her friend, Sophie will have to bag a killer before more of the guest list becomes a hit list... 

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a great cozy and a series I would enjoy reading - thank you for the review