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 (kensingtonbooks.com)