Afternoon Tea with Guest Vicki Delany

Edith/Maddie, about to hop a plane for the west coast.

Please join me in welcoming Vicki Delany to the blog. She’s one of my Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen blogmates and has a new Tea by the Sea mystery out!

Here’s the blurb: Thanks to the Great Teacup Shortage, Cape Cod tearoom proprietress Lily Roberts is already feeling the strain. But when a family fracas turns deadly over an antique tea set, she’ll really have to pour through the clues before another crime is brewed up. Lily visits an antiques fair for replacement tea cups. Among other finds, she snaps up a charming Peter Rabbit-themed tea set in a wicker basket, perfect for children’s events. But a few days later, a woman named Kimberly marches into the tearoom, rudely demanding to buy it back—then later returns and removes an envelope hidden in the basket’s lining.

An acquaintance of Lily’s named Rachel is on the trail of the tea set too. Apparently, she and Kimberly are half-sisters. But it’s more than a storm in a teacup when one of the sisters is found dead on the grounds of the B&B owned by Lily’s grandmother, Rose. Is this a simple case of greed boiling over, or are there other suspects in the blend? It’ll take some savvy sleuthing from Lily, Rose, and their allies to find the answers before a killer shatters more lives . . .

The Perfect Afternoon Tea

“Do you make all the food served here yourself?” [Detective Redmond asked] That was an abrupt change of topic. Had she even heard me? Might as well answer the question.

“I do, and everything’s made completely from scratch. Nothing purchased and nothing out of a package. More than once, people have complained when they saw the prices. We never apologize. Good food, well prepared with excellent ingredients, much of it sourced locally, costs money. Not to mention fresh flowers on the table and real china and silver and linen at every place. Afternoon tea isn’t an everyday thing, not even in the UK and certainly not in America. It’s a treat, an indulgence, and I believe it needs to be presented accordingly.”

Scone finished, Detective Redmond helped herself to a macaron and sipped her tea.                                                                         Tea and Treachery By Vicki Delany

Tea by the Sea, the main location in my Tea by the Sea mysteries from Kensington, is a traditional afternoon tea room located near the Outer Cape town of North Augusta, on Cape Cod. I love afternoon tea, and like Lily Roberts, my protagonist, I believe it’s a treat, and indulgence.

The fine china, the perfect table settings, the delicious food. Plus the time taken to enjoy it.

Afternoon tea is not something to be rushed through. It is the perfect occasion for realizing with friends. Afternoon tea is not the same as high tea, although the two are often confused. Afternoon tea was sometimes called low tea at one time, as it was served on a low, drawing room table, as opposed to high tea, served on a high kitchen table. High tea, now usually just called tea in the UK, is a working family’s evening meal. Occasionally the phrase high tea is used these days to refer to afternoon tea with an extra course such as soup or a quiche.

Afternoon tea was invented by Anna Duchess of Bedford, a friend of Queen Victoria, around 1840.  (So the story goes.) Anna began feeling a mite peckish around four in the afternoon and she wanted a small, light meal to tide her through. She began inviting friends to join her, and the idea spread, and here we are. 

Almost anywhere in the world, from England where it was invented, to North America, Africa, and Asia, afternoon tea is served and it is much the same everywhere.  A pot (or pots) of perfectly prepared tea served in fine china.  The food is always some variation of scones (with jam, butter, and clotted cream) small finger sandwiches, and a selection of delicate pastries.   Afternoon tea can be a heck of a big meal; a lesser meal called a cream tea, tea with just the scones and accompaniments, is often available for those with smaller appetites.

For a true celebration, a glass of champagne or sparkling wine is sometimes served as well.

Although the food aspect of afternoon tea is set – scones, sandwiches, desserts – Lily Roberts bakes a great variety of those things from one day to the next, depending on what she feels like making, what’s in season, and what’s in the stores.  She also prepares a children’s tea – juice or iced tea, ham and cheese or jam sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies and small cupcakes. Even the children’s tea is served on the best china and in fine glassware.

If you’re not able to get out yourself to a tea room and enjoy the delights of afternoon tea, or prepare it at home for your friends, I hope you’ll enjoy afternoon tea at Tea by the Sea between the pages of Steeped in Malice.

Readers: are you a lover of afternoon tea? Never been? If you have been what’s the place you’d most recommend?

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than fifty books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy.  She is currently writing the Tea by the Sea mysteries, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, the Year-Round Christmas mysteries, and the Lighthouse Library series (as Eva Gates). Vicki is a past chair of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It Crime Writing Festival.  Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards. Vicki is the recipient of the 2019 Derrick Murdoch Award for contributions to Canadian crime writing. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.    Find Vicki at http://www.vickidelany.comFacebook Instagram: Vicki.Delany

You can sign up to receive Vicki’s quarterly newsletter at Vicki Delany – Canadian Author of Mystery Novels and Suspense Novels » Contact Buy the book: Steeped in Malice ( 

26 Thoughts

  1. Vicki, congratulations on the new book!

    I’m not a fan of tea at all (I’ve never liked any hot drink really) so I’ve never done afternoon tea.

    As with other books of yours set on Cape Cod, I continue to hold out hope that you will someday do a book signing down on the Cape itself!

  2. Well, afternoon tea sounds delightful! I come from a family of tea drinkers, and have a cup or two of green tea every day – I’m not much fond of flavored teas, though. I’ve never been to an afternoon tea, but there is a small bakery near me that serves them – I think I need to make plans to go there!

  3. While I’ve never been to an afternoon tea, it is something on my to do list with my BFF. She is a big tea person and has pretty well converted me too. Since we live in different states, our get togethers are fewer than we would like. We keep of list of what we would like to do sometime and an afternoon tea is on it. So maybe this next visit!

    STEEPED IN MALICE sounds absolutely wonderful. It’s on my TBR list and I’m excited about the prospect of reading and reviewing it. (Yes, I am a list person – marking off and adding both)
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  4. I’ve never been to an afternoon tea but love reading about them. I did not know the differences about being served on different tables – very interesting. aprilbluetx at yahoo dot com

  5. Congratulations on your latest!

    As a confirmed Anglophile, yes, bring on the tea. My favorite tea shops are long gone. I used to stop at Lord & Taylor’s after work when I lived in New York. I was thrilled to discover a tea shop opened in Presque Isle, Maine. It’s 65 miles from my house, but worth the trip.

  6. Welcome Vicki!!! How wonderful that you dedicate your brilliant writing efforts to gift us with 4 different cozies every year! I can’t select a favorite series, because they are all my favorites…including the Catskills Summer Resort mysteries, of which, sadly there are only two…My wife and I love afternoon tea, and when we travel, we are always trying to find where we can enjoy high tea, or afternoon tea. One of our favorite afternoon teas we enjoyed was at our resort THE ANDAMAN in Langkawi, Malaysia. We were treated to the usual English delicacies, plus several additional tropical savory and sweet items, and an array of teas. Thank you for your books, and delicious recipes you share with us. Luis at ole dot travel

  7. I discovered Vicki Delani awhile back and really enjoy reading her books. She is a fun author and I like that her characters are strong women entrepreneurs.

  8. Although I have never been anywhere for an afternoon tea, I have tea each and every day in my home. I don’t add sugar to my tea, but I always pour French Vanilla into it. It’s perfect for sipping while I read my cozy mysteries!

  9. Oh, Vicki, I love your all of your series. I had afternoon tea once way back when. My daughter wanted it for her 16th birthday and we went to the Ritz Carlton in Boston. It was lovely. I also had it one time in Mechanicburg, PA at the Rosemary House, a tea and herb emporium, during the Pennsylvania Tea Festival. The Festival is coming up again soon, but afternoon tea will not be served. So sad.

  10. I have never had afternoon tea. I’m not much of a tea drinker, but maybe I should find a place to enjoy an afternoon tea sometime.

    Congrats on the new book!

  11. I have never been anywhere for afternoon tea. Thank you for sharing. I love your cover. God bless you.

  12. There was a lovely tea restaurant in our county called Annabelle’s. The owners wanted to retire and sold it. The new owners turned it into a steakhouse. I was so sad. I love this series and hope there will be more to come. From a fellow Canadian.

  13. My sister, niece and I went to London in October 2015 for a week. We stayed with a friend of my niece and her family in Chatham Junction. Then we took the train and spent one night in Paris. Coming back to London from Paris, we stopped for high tea at Bea’s of Bloomsbury where we had a reservation. It was wonderful. I have pictures but do not know how to add them to this. We had champagne and each of us got different colored ceramic teapots and delicious sandwiches and pastries. A male coworker of my niece also joined us. It was delightful. We just got a British tea shop here in Alpharetta, but I have no one to go to it with. My Welsh neighbor and friend moved to Charleston, and she would be the only one interested. Blimey!

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