Business is going well at Gemma Rose’s quaint English teashop, and she's delighted about her first big catering job at a local village funeral...until the day ends with a second body and one of the Old Biddies accused of murder! Now, the resourceful tearoom sleuth must find out which delicious pudding contained the deadly arsenic - and who might have wanted the wealthy widow dead....
Murder Is Better with an English Accent!
Gemma Rose has expanded into catering with her first function the funeral reception of Rex Clifford. His wife, dubbed a ‘floozy’ by his daughter, has inherited the entire estate making this somber event…murderously tense. Everyone is delighted with Gemma’s food, but all goes sour when the widow coughs, sputters, and collapses…another murder? Gemma is back at the center of an investigation, but her CID boyfriend takes a back seat to an incompetent Detective ‘Pratt.’ Then there’s a long lost heir from China, one of the “Old Biddies” is a person of interest, a little hedgehog causes trouble, and everyone enjoys a few boxes of enchanting chocolates from Tillyhenge—a delightful reference to Hanna’s new series “Bewitched by Chocolate.” All this and murder, too?
“Four Puddings and a Funeral,” the sixth book in the Oxford Tearoom series, has been released in audio format. H.Y. Hanna’s story is clever and entertaining on its own with rich well-developed characters, but greatly enhanced by the artistic voice talent of Pearl Hewitt. Pearl masterfully mimics a variety of English dialects that illustrate the tone, personality, and emotions of the various characters adding to my enjoyment. I love Adele Clifford, gold digger extraordinaire, with a low-brow accent delightfully dropping all of her “Hs.” Then, there is Gemma’s lilting English, the Old Biddies’ proper speech like English grandmothers, and of course…Muesli’s “Merrow!” to enjoy. For me, when I am reading the books myself, I hear Pearl Hewitt’s voice in my head. I love it!
"Scones, a tea shop in England, a kitty and a murder...yes, please!" Enjoy the first three books in the Oxford Tearoom Mysteries, in one handy collection! Join tearoom sleuth Gemma Rose, her mischievous feline Muesli, and the nosy Old Biddies as they tackle murder and mystery in the beautiful city of Oxford - not to forget the delights of delicious baking and afternoon tea in a quaint English village!
Murder Seems Better with an English Accent! Deliciously Fun!
H.Y. Hanna is my all-time favorite author of my all-time favorite series! I’ve enjoyed connecting with her down under and being part of her advanced reader team. It is very entertaining joining Gemma Rose and the ‘bloody’ delightful mysteries H.Y. Hanna has created. She delivers clever murder mysteries often with an entertaining British flair, fun and some quirky characters, and Gemma always seems to find some danger before the killer is brought to justice. Romance? Yes, it starts out as a big question to whom Gemma will give her heart, but I enjoy the romantic dance of ups and downs, wading in slowly or jumping into the deep end. This series satisfies my Anglophile appetite as I learned how to make traditional scones to serve with a perfect pot of tea. Cornish or Devon? I decided I’ll have my cream tea the Devonshire way…clothed cream, first, then jam! And in the back of the book there is a Glossary of British terms and an easy to follow recipe that has a connection to that book. Which English recipe will be your favorite?
Pearl Hewitt is the delightful voice of H.Y. Hanna’s Oxford Tearoom and earns my personal stamp as Narrator Extraordinaire. Her voice artistry enriched my enjoyment, and has stuck in my head enough that when I read one of H.Y. Hanna’s books, I hear Pearl’s voice. Her British accent is the perfect dialect for Gemma's educated manner, and the tone changes helped add to the emotions and personality of the other characters: proper English for the 'old biddies" and the Oxford Dons, street English for the pub owner and some questionable villagers, and she mastered a few Americans, too. She kept me totally engaged, eager to listen again, and giggling at the British tone I so enjoy...even murder sounds great with an English accent!
“All-Butter ShortDead” earns 5+/5 Cups of Earl Gray with Lemon!
We join Gemma Rose on her long flight having made the decision to quit her high paying job in Sydney and move back to Meadowford-on-Smythe to open a traditional English tearoom. She engages a woman in conversation to pass the time, but when the woman leaves a beautiful scarf behind, she questions whether to get involved. She should have reconsidered. Returning the scarf she is met with the woman, who had indulged in too many double vodka martinis. Gemma assists the woman back to her hotel room safely, then…is unwittingly dragged into her first murder investigation when the woman ends up dead. She is having some obstacles finalizing the details for her tearoom, but this casual friend does deserve justice. This was an excellent prequel! Since most fans have read the other full-length novels, going back in time is an entertaining look into Gemma’s first arrival home and getting ready to embark on her new venture with the tearoom. For those just starting off on the Oxford Tearoom Mystery journey, the prequel is a great place to get introductions to Gemma, her BFF Cassie, her mother (OMG, her mother!), the ‘Old Biddies” (stewed prunes and all), and the engaging style of H.Y. Hanna. The only thing missing in this book is a recipe…how do I make traditional English shortbread biscuits—rich and crumbly?
"Scone to Die For” earns 5+/5 Traditional Scones with Clotted Cream and Jam!
It is not important to start with book one, but the story moves forward with Gemma Rose opening her Little Stables Tearoom offering traditional English fare. She becomes a popular destination for tourists who desire to experience a proper English Tea, but, a nasty American causes a ‘kerfuffle’ in the tearoom and later ends up dead with a scone stuffed down his throat. The supporting characters become more developed as Gemma relies heavily on her BFF Cassie, a very bossy mother, my favorite octogenarians dubbed the “Four Ol’ Biddies,’ handsome former college flame turned detective Devilin O’Conner, and Museli her cat. Gemma’s investigation techniques consist of tracking down clues at her Oxford University alma mater, local pubs, and even finds herself fibbing a bit to get the key piece of evidence. H.Y. Hanna kept me engaged with a truly delightful story with more than a few quirky characters, provided marvelous descriptions of the village that I almost felt like an ex-pat residing alongside the locals, and gave me a bit of a lesson in Oxford University etiquette. With a few unforeseen twists and a reference to my favorite detective dramas—Morse and Midsomer Murders—I was hooked! And the recipe for the Traditional English Scones was the perfect little extra.
“Tea With Milk and Murder” earns 5+/5 Slices of Velvety Cheesecake!
The journey continues, and I'm thrilled it does. However, Gemma Rose is not thrilled about the art exhibition she is attending. BFF Cassie Jenkins is having her first exhibition courtesy of gallery owner and new boyfriend, and although Gemma is not a fan, friends will do almost anything for a friend. Her opinion of him seems validated when she overhears him plotting in the shadows, and his self-proclaimed girlfriend shows up causing a scene, flails, and collapses on the ground…dead. Gemma once again meets up with CID Detective Devilin O’Conner (sparks fly, but not sure if that's good or bad), and the "Old Biddies” add their own insights with a few covert explorations finding hidden flats, lacy thongs, and more suspicions. This ranks right at the top of my favorite list with another tantalizing story to challenge my inner ‘Sherlock.’ Gemma Rose is a strong female character delightfully clever, and even though she has some confidence issues, I find her quite entertaining. There’s a bit of a romantic triangle, cat antics, interesting mother-daughter dynamic (No, I didn’t order that!), and four octogenarians who steal the scene. The recipe in this second book is for Gemma’s mother’s Velvety Cheesecake…delicious!
Many know I've always been a fan of all things British, so I am in ‘seventh heaven' with all the references to Oxford University and the local haunts, Meadowford-on-Smythe, traditional fare for tea and treats, and an easy-to-follow recipe included for my own afternoon tea menu. It is 'jolly good’ fun!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Journalist Emily Garland lands a plum assignment as the editor of a niche magazine based in Lount’s Landing, a small town named after a colorful 19th-century Canadian traitor. As she interviews the local business owners for the magazine, Emily quickly learns that many people are unhappy with real estate mogul Garrett Stonehaven’s plans to convert an old schoolhouse into a mega-box store. At the top of that list is Arabella Carpenter, the outspoken owner of an antiques shop, who will do just about anything to preserve the integrity of the town’s historic Main Street.
Emily Garland, freelance writer for Urban-Huntzberger, has been given an extended assignment which includes a permanent position, salary, and benefits, but the caveat is she needs to relocate to Lount’s Landing and act as the editor-in-charge of a local magazine “Inside the Landing.” While there she is to covertly investigate Garrett Stonehaven, a real estate developer with questionable, if not criminal, dealings connected to him, but nothing could be confirmed. He is preparing to present to the town his proposal to revitalize the Main Street area with most of the town’s leaders on board. However, there is a lone holdout, Carter Dixon isn't convinced the change in the original proposal will be agreed upon by the town. But, when he ends up dead, seemingly from anaphylactic shock, the path seems clear. Well, until a few more bodies litter the way.
Judy Penz Sheluk has penned a very creative and clever tale of greed amid a small town community struggling to survive, but the motives behind the mayhem aren't as clear as one would think. I was so engaged by all the connections between characters slowly revealed totally muddying the suspect pool. In this case, the past may have caught up with everyone. Judy’s stories always include a clever mystery, excellent pace revealing the often “Oh my!” clues, a realistic investigative style, and a change in third person point of view that is clever. I really was fascinated by the interesting historical references to Samuel Lount, discussion on appraisals and antique verifications (real vs fake), and explanations of financial scams. However, it's the characters she has created that invests this reader in the story. Emily Garland is an intelligent woman with her own demons, but she has an excellent reporter’s nose providing an air of legitimacy with all her interviews and interrogations. Arabella Carpenter has all the earmarks of a great BFF or main character herself, and other Main Street merchants and town resident’s round out a very realistic cast of characters. It's a great story with entertaining twists and turns is well worth it, but the realistic characters are the frosting! And the Treasontini? The recipe for The Hanged Man’s signature cocktail, can be found on Judy’s website.
Although I also have the eBook, my enjoyment was greatly enriched following along with by Suzanne T. Fortin’s narration in the audio version. She used her entertaining voice artistry to go beyond the traditional reading style. She did well interpreting personality and emotions of the characters, but without obvious dialects or accents the differences between female characters or male voices were less effective. However, this didn't effect my overall entertainment. It is definitely a great way to enjoy Judy Penz Sheluk’s work!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
In the small village of Kilbane, County Cork, Ireland, Natalie's Bistro has always been warm and welcoming. Nowadays 22-year-old Siobhan O'Sullivan runs the family bistro named for her mother, along with her five siblings, after the death of their parents in a car crash almost a year ago. It's been a rough year for the O'Sullivans, but it's about to get rougher. One morning, as they're opening the bistro, they discover a man seated at a table with a pair of hot pink barber scissors protruding from his chest.
The Irish countryside may be quaint, but watch out for the dead bodies! This Irish Village Mystery series penned by Carlene O’Connor is a marvelous cozy set in the middle of the Emerald Isle. First published in February 2016, Carlene gives us twenty-two-year-old Siobhán (shi-VAWN) O’Sullivan, who after a tragic car accident a year ago killed her parents, is now managing the family’s café along with her five siblings. Naomi’s Bistro, named for her mother, was designed to be a quaint place for good friends, good gossip, and good brown bread and tea…but murder, too? Yes. In “Murder in an Irish Village” Siobhán runs into Niall Murphy, brother of the young man responsible for the accident that killed her parents. He says he has proof that his brother “didn't do it,” but his demand for €10,000 for the information doesn't go over well. Not well at all since he is found sitting at one of the bistro tables with hot pink barber shears stuck in his chest. However, Siobhán is not pleased that the eldest O’Sullivan becomes a serious “person of interest.” Even when everyone knows everyone in this small village, you still need an alibi.
Wow! “Murder in an Irish Village” by Carlene O’Connor is well written and pleasantly surprising with well-developed characters for a first book. The motive for the murder, I thought might occur, seemed obviously connected to the tragic accident (You just don't go announcing the wrong person is in prison, and you have proof.), but is it that simple? The suspects were well hidden and revealed slowly with a couple of “I didn't see that coming” to keep me engaged. The descriptions and dialogue provided the perfect picture of Kilbane, County Cork, with fascinating information about the local history and the varying tones and personalities of its residents. There is a “Pronunciations and Glossary” page that does help with some of the purely Irish language. I really admire Siobhán who struggles with her grief, but puts that aside to help her older brother raise a preteen and three teenager siblings. The “O’Sullivan Six” is the perfect example of loyalty and love…with a bit of typical dysfunction for reality. You might see a family member in the mix…I did!. But, my entertainment was greatly enriched by Caroline Lennon who narrated the audio version. Her voice artistry went beyond the traditional reading out loud bringing to life all that is Irish with different variations on the Irish brogue, from quiet moments to boisterous excitement, from “cheeky” to endearing, from masculine to feminine, from lively fun to intense danger. It was a great way to enjoy Carlene O’Connor’s quaint Irish village.
After solving a string of murders and getting used to living with a snarky ghost, Gethsemane Brown tries to rest easy. But in this second book in the series, her roomie disappears, her landlord decides to sell her cottage to a developer, and her brother-in-law comes to visit. The ever-resourceful African American musician and expatriate scrambles to call her spectral roomie back from beyond and to find a way to save the cottage from destruction, but those concerns take a backseat when her brother-in-law is accused of stealing a valuable antique.
Gethsemane Brown, ex-pat living in Ireland, is quite the virtuoso in more than music; she has proven to be pretty good at sleuthing, too. Her skill gets challenged when the surprising appearance of her brother-in-law and museum curator Jackson Applethwaite, set to bid on an early American miniature sampler on behalf of his museum, turns into his being accused of theft when the sampler goes missing…but could it be murder when the owner of the sampler is found dead? Inspector Iollan 'Niall' O’Reilly of An Garda Síochána (The Guardian of the Peace—Irish police) has approached Brown for her assistance in their investigation of a ring of art forgers and thieves, so things get very serious. She tries to conjure up her helpful ghost Eamon McCarthy to help exonerate her brother-in-law, but something goes delightfully wrong.
I enjoyed this story so much that I decided to revisit it by listening to the audio version narrated by Helen Duff. I am now a big fan of Alexia Gordon’s Gethsemane Brown Mystery series, but newbies can comfortably start with book 2 “Death in D Minor,” the story provides enough details and descriptions into the back story and character connections to keep you very engaged: Irish countryside? Ghostly sidekick? Forgeries? Murders? Who knew being a classical musician could be so…precarious! The story was exciting, nail-biting at times, humorous, and clever using the idea that Gethsemane can ‘summon’ up ghosts, even the wrong ghost, giving so many opportunities for a paranormal twist. It works! It is not juvenile hocus-pocus. Gordon’s characters are well developed with Gethsemane becoming one of my favorite amateur detectives. But, Captain Lochlan, an eighteenth century ship’s captain, adds such a delightful dynamic! Playing out in the background we have intriguing references to needlework, comparisons with Irish and Black history, hints of romance, and continued issues with Gethsemane being an ex-pat. No matter what version, I really enjoyed this second book and highly recommend you go read book 1 “Death in G Major” to see how it all began.
The audio version, narrated by Helen Duff, is an absolute delight, and I loved revisiting this story. She is a different narrator from the first book, “Murder in G Major,” which provides the opportunity for comparison. Duff is a very talented voice artist, but she has a deeper resonance to her voice giving her more success with the male characters, whether American or Irish. She interprets Gethsemane’s Virginia background differently offering a slight southern drawl..,definitely a slower cadence. I choose to change the speed slightly (1.0 to 1.25) which helped alleviate the slower speech. She does extremely well with the various Irish brogues, and did I hear a more educated British accent for her third-person narrator? Her interpretation of the Latin incantations, speed of the auctioneer, and all the emotional ups and downs were excellent…very entertaining! This is why I am such a fan of audiobooks.
With few other options, African American classical musician Gethsemane Brown accepts a less-than-ideal position turning a group of rowdy schoolboys into an award-winning orchestra. Stranded without luggage or money in the Irish countryside, she figures any job is better than none. The perk? Housesitting a lovely cliffside cottage. The catch? The ghost of the cottage's murdered owner haunts the place.
Being an ex-pat on the “Emerald Isle,” the land of leprechauns, pubs, and whiskey, seems a dream fulfilled, but Alexa Gordon’s heroine finds an empty pot o’ gold at the end of this rainbow. Gethsemane Brown, thirty-six-year-old ex-pat in Dunmullach, Ireland, a talented musician with a doctorate from Yale, has taken a position at St. Brennan’s School for Boys as a teacher of general and instrumental music and conductor of the honor’s orchestra. This wasn't the job that she sought, but that job went to the conductor’s mistress. However, she refuses to return home in defeat; she would rather be unemployed or teaching at an out-of-the-way boys’ school, than deal with the criticism of her mother and sister. But, things go from bad to very bad when her luggage is lost and her money stolen; then very bad to worse discovering she has six-weeks to turn a mediocre boys’ orchestra into competition winners; last, worse to worst when she discovers she has an unusual roommate at the quaint Carraigefaire cottage in which she resides…the ghost of her musical idol long dead for twenty-five years in a murder/suicide. How could anyone pass up on this engaging tale!
Ghosts? Although telling people that the infamous Eamon McCarthy is “dead and well” and living in the cottage with her might garner some sympathy, she can't risk looking the fool. However resistant to even acknowledge her non-corporeal companion, he pleads with her to help uncover the truth and hopefully allowing him the opportunity to move on. He would not have murdered his wife Orla, and suicide? Never! So, in between her music classes, efforts to turn prankster boys into an award winning orchestra, navigating small town gossip, and trying to discover what McCarthy’s nephew is up to concerning the cottage, she investigates incompetence in the Gardaí (Irish police), missing evidence, another cold case link, and a few more curious deaths.
Wow! Totally entertaining! So much to engage the reader beyond the cold case of a murder/suicide. Alexa Gordon has provided a clever twist with the ghost of Gethsemane’s musical idol asking for her help, but it isn't juvenile hocus-pocus…it works! It works as an endearing friendship and love of music and…whiskey. A very engaging mystery reminiscent of any Agatha Christie tale, clever twists and turns adding possible suspects and motives, excellent descriptions and dialogue including several intriguing musical references, entertaining characters with some really, really quirky figures, and plenty of gossip, pranks, and banter to bring about a smile.
I chose to listen to the audio version of this story enriched by the voice artistry of Jessica Carroll. She goes well beyond the traditional reading out loud to include a British accent for the third-person narrative, an excellent American accent for Gethsemane, and a plethora of entertaining Irish brogues. Her talent gave voice to the emotions, personalities, young, old, female, but the male voices were lacking a bit…just a bit. No matter what version you choose, Alexa Gordon’s already engaging story is 5-star entertainment, and the audio version I'd give a big thumbs up! But don't stop here, there are two more books!
Death and deception: Appearances are often deceiving and that is the underlying premise in this collection of short crime fiction. In "Live Free or Die" naive 21-year-old Emmy falls hard for 31-year-old Jack, an efficiency expert from New Hampshire who is not all what he seems. In "Murder in the Marsh" cyclist Carrie Anne Camack discovers more than she bargained for in the fertile farmlands of Ontario's Holland Marsh. In the final story, "The Cycopaths", a triathlon team's open-water swim training in Collingwood, Ontario, has deadly consequences.
Judy Penz Sheluk has penned three delightful short mysteries that provide entertaining twists and turns on murder. All three stories are written from the first-person perspective, her characters innocent bystanders often with theories that might not be enough to serve up justice. The descriptions give a visual picture of the Canadian landscape, and along with realistic dialogue the three stories are engaging.
Kate Tyler is the narrator of the recently released audio version. She enriches the stories with her voice artistry portraying well the emotions and personality. She goes beyond the traditional read aloud by changing her tone and pitch for male and female characters. Not many accents to portray…it's Canada. (Giggle)
“Live Free or Die”
This was my favorite with our heroine Emerald, preferring Emmy, being taken in by Jack, the handsome blue-eyed efficiency expert brought in to the company to make them more…efficient. However, after a delightful lunch, they strike up a relationship. He asks her to keep their relationship a secret sparing her from the gossips and HR scrutiny, but it turns out it may be to cover up evidence of his womanizing ways. She is shocked to find the truth about his “single” status, and his fiancé Jill (yes, Jack and Jill) devises a plan of action to force him to mend his ways. Plan A isn’t realistic since it might earn them 25 to life, but Plan B is quite creative. “Live Free or Die” earns 5/5 Bites of Karma!
“Murder in the Marsh”
Carrie Ann Camack has decided to join boyfriend Jasper in a triathlon, but her skill with the clipless pedals requires more practical application. He suggests she head out to Holland Marsh where the flat farm land will be perfect for her needs. However, an off-road crash into crates of carrots reveals more than carrots have been harvested. A dead bank has been foreclosed on. “Murder in the Marsh” earns 5/5 Crates of Karma’s Carrots!
What could possibly happen when you get a bunch of Type A personalities together in the freezing water? Not much, but…murder? A group of woman, dubbed the Cycopaths, are training for the opening triathlon of the season by practicing their open water swim, but Cordelia ‘Sunny” Lemay, the Miss Congeniality of the group, ends up dead. Lots of suspects due to proximity, but motive? “The Cycopaths” earns 5/5 Green Bathing Caps!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
When corrupt politicians, the Italian mob, and a dirty cop collude to take over a Northeast neighborhood, Walt is recruited for the most bizarre undercover assignments of his new career. When conventional police work fails to solve the case, once again his band of scrappy seniors come to the rescue. In the process, the amazing discovery of a previously unknown session by a deceased rock & roll idol stuns the music industry. What should be a joyous occasion soon turns dark as lives are threatened.
I am new to Robert Thornhill’s Walt Williams Mystery series, but after this book, albeit audio version narrated by the talented George Kuch, I am a big fan. It is delightful to read about sixty-five-year-old real estate retiree Walter ‘Walt' Williams, who chose not to engage in my idea of a quiet retirement and instead becomes a cop with the Kansas City P.D. and starts the City Retiree Action Patrol: comically known as C.R.A.P., an obvious indication of the edgy and delightful humor twists to follow in this series. Thornhill paints a well overdue image of a capable bunch of ‘post-retirement’ people soaked in mature humor. In this second book, Walt with support from police officers “Ox” and Vince along with the scrappy seniors—Maggie (girlfriend), Willie (former con man), Mary (apartment manager), and the Professor (purveyor of words of wisdom)—set out to uncover the details behind the terrorizing of a local neighborhood, but going undercover dancing at a gay club or the transvestite bar in female attire or portraying Elvis at an impersonator contest all puts Walt ill at ease. The story is even more engaging when during the investigation, a never-before-heard recording session from a deceased rock ’n’ roll idol is unearthed… I loved Thornhill’s story challenging my inner detective, humor that made me laugh out loud, and well-developed and amusing, sometimes quirky, characters. Engaging…Suspenseful… Humorous! I highly recommended this book or any book in the series in any form, anytime…eBook, print, and especially audio!
I was first introduced to Robert Thornhill’s work with the audio version, and the narration by voice artist George Kuch was very entertaining. His voice artistry enhanced the experience with tone and emotion that illustrated well the different personalities; something I am unable to duplicate reading to myself. Although much like a traditional reading supported by Thornhill's first-person perspective, Kuch's “Walt” is very entertaining, and the 'wise guy’ dialect, effeminate bar patrons, Elvis wannabes, and various females all worked well. Very entertaining!
"Disclosure: A review copy of this book was sent to me by the author. However, all of the above opinions are my own.”
Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn't surprised to learn she's the sole beneficiary of her late father's estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house in the town of Marketville - a house she didn't know existed. However, there are conditions attached to Callie's inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother's murder. Callie's not keen on dredging up a 30-year-old mystery.
Judy’ Penz Sheluk’s story introduces Calamity ‘Callie’ Barnstable as she deals with a shocking dilemma. After her father’s “unfortunate occupational accident,” she learns she has inherited his entire estate including his Marketville house of which she has no memory. The dilemma is the codicil which requires Callie live in and renovate the house, and after one year, she can do with the property what she wants: rent, sell, or take up permanent residence. The shocking part of the dilemma is the reason her father made this stipulation: find out who murdered her mother.
The mystery surrounding Callie’s mother is very intriguing with curious clues, suspicious behaviors, and a cliffhanger-style ending, but I was delighted to find the story was more character driven than an action-packed investigation. I found myself more invested in the friendships Callie makes, her memories of her parents, family with whom she connects, and the hunk next door. Judy provided wonderful characters who acted and reacted in real ways, wrote well the conversations and descriptions to keep me turning the page, and had me guessing about who, what, and why. I was fascinated by the ‘tarot cards’ clue leading me to Google and exploring my own set. Then add the talented and pleasing, yet traditional, narration of Claira Jordyn and my interest has been renewed.
Claira’s traditional interpretation is extremely entertaining and closer to how many stories are read out loud at libraries or author meet &amp; greets. In many ways I find that to be preferable. She foregoes changing her voice in an obvious manner for male and female characters that some narrators have a difficult time mastering. A woman doing a male’s voice doesn’t always work. Instead Claira uses a very pleasant voice, tone, and emotion to illustrate the tenor of the story or a character’s personality. I perceived the narration to be Callie. Callie herself, reading to me, sharing her own story, and taking me on her delightful ride. It was excellent, and I highly recommend this audiobook.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Cotswolds tearoom owner Gemma Rose is excited to join the May Day celebrations in Oxford...until the beautiful spring morning ends in murder. Now, she's embroiled in a deadly mystery - with four nosy old ladies determined to help in the sleuthing! Before she knows it, Gemma finds herself stalking a Russian "princess" and keeping up with the Old Biddies in Krav Maga class, while still trying to serve delicious cakes and buttery scones at her quaint English tearoom.
What a treat, not only another delicious recipe to satisfy this Anglophile’s appetite, but also I couldn’t put down this fifth book! Only H.Y. Hanna would take us to Oxford’s May Day celebration opening up at an ungodly morning hour and giving us…murder! Always well-written we get a clear picture of Oxford through descriptions of its pathways, bridges, towers, and college gardens along with everyone’s various early morning fashions. My favorite character Gemma heads out to meet BFF Cassie to enjoy the Magdalen Choir greeting the sunrise reminiscent of their college days. Everyone, including Gemma, felt goosebumps at the final blend of joyous voices and then a commotion, shouting, someone heaved over the edge, and the splashing of water. The crowd eagerly set to applaud another Oxford tradition of jumping off the bridge and into the river below, but the Harris tweed clad boy Gemma had stood next to on the bridge floated silently, not moving, face down in the cold river…this isn’t part of the tradition! But a clever murder is always part of H.Y. Hanna’s Oxford Tearoom Mystery!
I’m always engaged with Hanna’s murder mystery, gathering clues, navigating twists and turns, and trying to uncover the killer before another “Gemma’s in peril” ending. My inner “Sherlock” is always delightfully challenged, but I really enjoy the well-developed characters and all their interactions. Again CID detective and boyfriend Devlin O’Conner heads the investigation, and although very good at his job, it’s effecting the budding romance between him and Gemma. Hanna has woven this drama throughout the series along with the nosy “Old Biddies” interfering with their own investigation, Muesli’s kitty behaviors causing problems, Gemma’s mother inserting herself, and BFF Cassie always there in a pinch. I love the whole world of tea and scones, friends and family, and murder and mayhem! And don’t forget sticky toffee, sliced bananas, and fresh whipped cream…yes, Banoffee Pie!
Do you want a treat? Check out the audio version with the brilliant talent of Pearl Hewitt enhancing this engaging story!
Pearl Hewitt’s artistry hits the mark again portraying a wide variety of British accents and dialects, and mesmerizing me as I listen to every delightful character’s tone, personality, and emotion greatly enriching an already engaging H.Y. Hanna story…What? Three hours have passed? I didn’t even realize as I was plugged into my phone going about my chores…Ok, I really didn’t do the chores. During the gossipy moment at the tearoom, Pearl does an extraordinary job with the various tourists offering information about the mystery from Americans to Australians to a Scot or two, and she even provided an excellent Slavic accent. All of this is why audiobooks are so unique. I can read the story myself, but the narrator, especially Pearl Hewitt, screams, yawns, whispers, slows her tone for dramatic effect, and when “Devlin sighed” you hear him sigh, when “Dora snorted” you hear her snort, and when Meusli is upset you hear the “meorrws!”! I love it! Pearl Hewitt is absolutely perfect for H.Y. Hanna’s Oxford story.
Audio Book Only "Disclosure: A review copy of this book was sent to me by the author. All of the above opinions are my own.”