Don’t marry into murder.
No Good Tea Goes Unpunished is the second book in the Seaside Café Mysteries series by Bree Baker. Set in a coastal community, it’s a fabulous breezy mystery for anyone looking for a little fun with a side of danger.
Tea shop owner, Everly Swan is back home in Charm, North Carolina for just a few months after a whirlwind romance and trying to find her way after a heartbreak. She finds solace in her aunts who are just down the road in their own shop Bee Blessed and her best friend Amelia and her book store Charming Reads.
Everly stays busy helping her aunts with what is supposed to be a short video documentary, appropriately nicknamed Bee-Pocolypse, about how humanity is destroying the bee population. She’s also restocking Amelia’s Little Libraries around town and singlehandedly running her own café. When her childhood friend Judy asks Everly to cater her wedding reception Everly doesn’t see how she can refuse, especially when it could bring in such great business. Everything is perfect, and her Blushing Bride Tea is the sensation of the season.
In between discussing Judy’s designer wedding gown, avoiding awkward conversations about her cowboy obsession and handling some not so welcome guests, the groom disappears and is later found dead in the ocean. With a murderer on the loose in this small town and everyone looking at Judy as the suspect, Everly knows she must solve this case fast for her friend.
I did not read the first book in the series, but the author did such a great job with character introductions and recapping anything I may have missed the first time around, that I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. Rather, I felt like I was strolling through the town and catching up with old friends. The relationship between Everly and her best friend Amelia feels so genuine, almost like they are sisters. They share everything, including gossip about the handsome detective Grady, who wants Everly to stay away from his murder case.
I adore the aunts and their quick wit, banter, sharp tongues and equally sharp minds. Their love of the American Honey Bee brings about quite a few wild ideas for their three-minute documentary, including having one unlucky character dressed as a giant bee. The unconditional love and protection they express for Everly show there is nothing that they wouldn’t do for their niece. Everly and her insistence on driving her beloved golf cart named Blue instead of buying a car had me chuckling to myself. Her conversations with her seagull Lou and her demanding cat Maggie all make her that much more relatable. Who hasn’t talked to their pets?
Everly is a kind-hearted and strong-willed woman, always going out of her way to help others. Even willing to open her home to her newly widowed friend. She butts heads with reporter Ryan who seems to find the whole situation nothing but a story to capitalize on and a way to put money in his pocket, though he insists they team up on the case every step of the way.
I enjoyed the descriptions of the fun festivities at Summer Splash, the lovable residents of Charm, and the homey Sun, Sand and Tea shop where Everly creates her delicious 21 flavors of iced tea – a few of which are even included in the book. Baker had me ready to pack my bags and head to the beach. This is a great story that anyone can jump right into, and I’ll definitely be reading the rest of her series.
The author, Bree Baker is a Midwestern writer, obsessed with small-town high jinks, sweet tea and the sea.