Looking for a mystery in which the sexual tension between the two protagonists is so hot they can’t stand each other? Kari Lee Townsend’s Tempest in the Tea Leaves provides a great deal of innuendo in the tradition of so many comic romps. I wasn’t sure I was going to be a fan of Sunny Meadows, the heroine. It was the cat in the book that won me over, followed by the humor.
At twenty-nine, Sunny Meadows is a free spirit, the daughter of a doctor and a lawyer who just don’t understand her “gift.” Sunny is a psychic, determined to practice her profession. So, she moves to Divinity, a small town in upstate New York, where she bought an ancient Victorian home that is rumored to be haunted. Maybe haunted by the large white cat with black eyes that Sunny finds in the house, who lets her know his name is Morty.
Sunny is convinced the house and Divinity are perfect for her career as a fortune teller, until her first client, the town librarian, ends up dead after Sunny foretold her murder. Unfortunately, she was a little late reporting her fears to the police, and the woman was already dead when they arrived. Detective Mitch Stone puts Sunny on the top of his suspect list. It’s a good thing the town mayor is running for re-election. He wants Stone to work with Sunny in finding the killer. Neither Sunny nor Stone are happy with their partnership, but Stone’s boss threatens both of them. As he sees it, they have great chemistry. Sunny keeps Stone on his toes, “Presents a challenge.” And Stone “Gives her something to prove.”
In the beginning, I viewed Sunny was a blabbermouth and a klutz. I fell in love with the cat first. Once Morty won me over, I began to appreciate the humor in the partnership. Sunny fell out of trees, and Stone caught her. He definitely did not believe she could tell the future. However, she was much shrewder in interviewing the ladies of the town than he was. And, it was hard to put down a mystery in which the fate of the local library was at stake following the librarian’s murder.
Morty, Sunny and Mitch won me over. Tempest in the Tea Leaves has more romantic sparks and humor than some readers will appreciate. However, this first mystery in the fortune teller series works, and it’s fun. I’m sure the trio will be back for more crime and excitement since Sunny and Detective Mitch Stone are facing a challenge. “Game on.”
Kari Lee Townsend’s website is www.karileetownsend.com.
Tempest in the Tea Leaves by Kari Lee Townsend. Berkley Prime Crime. ©2011. ISBN 9780425242759 (paperback), 294p.
FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.