Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Live and Let Chai by Bree Baker
Everly Swan followed a cowboy and her heart, and left Charm, North Carolina for the rodeo circuit and culinary school. Now, she's back home with a broken heart. However, she bought the house of her dreams on the island, and fought a council member to open an iced tea shop and cafe in the space below her seaside home. Mr. Paine is still a "pain", coming in every day to ask what's in each one of her sweet teas. He drives her nuts, but she's still shocked when she discovers his body and one of her signature jars from her tea. It doesn't help her shop when Detective Grady Hays, the new police detective in town, announces that he was killed by her poisoned tea.
Detective Hays couldn't have said anything worse. Everly's business dries up, and even her great-aunts' business suffers. The local island blog is filled with rumors and innuendos, and it's avidly followed by the islanders. With no business, Everly has the time to ask questions and look for the killer whose plans seem to include closing down the cafe. Actually, if Everly persists in ignoring Detective Hays' request to butt out of the investigation, it might be her life that's closed down. Someone is certainly trying, attacking her on the boardwalk, and then moving closer.
Baker's debut mystery is filled with delightful characters. Everly is impulsive, determined, and under a lot of pressure. Her great-aunts, Fran and Clara, are beekeepers and shop owners. They are also marvelous storytellers who spin magic about the three hundred years of Swan women in Charm. Everly's friend, Amelia, is a bookstore owner who tends Little Libraries on the island. There's also that hot new detective who seems to want to ruin Everly's business and her life. It's worth picking up the book just for the cast of characters.
However, there's so much more. Everly is not a knowledgeable amateur sleuth. She knows and admits it, but she just wants to prove her innocence. The seaside town of Charm is welcoming to visitors, even if it's a visit in a book. Danger, mystery, a touch of possible romance. And, of course, there's nothing as wonderful as sweet tea. Bree Baker's Live and Let Chai, like Charm itself, is charming.
Bree Baker's website is www.breebaker.com
Live and Let Chai by Bree Baker. Sourcebooks Landmark, 2018. ISBN 9781492664758 (paperback), 288p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.