Cops drink coffee.
They don't belong in Ellen Rosings's Victorian tearoom. But when her opening day thank-you tea ends in the murder of the president of the Santa Fe Preservation Trust, the police invade her haven. Enter Detective Tony Aragon: attractive and unsympathetic, with a chip on his shoulder that goes beyond the murder investigation, and Ellen's delicate bone china cup is full. Is the murderer one of her honored guests, or the ghost rumored to haunt the building? Will Ellen solve the mystery, or will the Wisteria Tearoom's premiere turn out to be its—and Ellen's—finale?
This cozy mystery is the first in the Wisteria Tearoom Mysteries series.
There are a lot of mean streets in this bundle, dark stories and creepy villains. Patrice Greenwood provides a respite from all of that. Her Wisteria Tea Room falls into a subgenre that I often find twee—the cozy. Yet Patrice writes a mean cozy, the kind I absolutely love. And I mean "mean" in the best possible way.
Under another name, Patrice is an award-winning western and historical writer. You can see those influences here. She's also from New Mexico, where this book is set, adding yet another layer of authenticity to A Fatal Twist of Lemon, the first book in this marvelous series. – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
"I am a Pati Nagle fan from way back so I turned to her new mystery series under Patrice Greenwood with fascination. Fabulous setting—old Santa Fe is all over the pages. Stoic heroine, prepared for all eventualities, even a murder in her beautiful new tea room. Great characterization—one can visualize each lady under her bobbing hat. And the mystery has actual clues for the reader to follow! Have a sip of tea and a nibble of this book and settle in for a good read. Patrice Greenwood mysteries are more fun than a tray of chocolate desserts!"– Patricia Rice, NYT bestselling author of Evil Genius
"Maybe it's just because I completely relate to the protagonist's love of the English Tea Experience (I had my most profound one in Cambridge) and am fascinated by Santa Fe, NM, but I found this book irresistible. Once I started reading, I found myself wanting to return to it the way I'd want to return to a favorite restaurant or sit down for a cuppa. This is a very nicely balanced book—characters, plot, mystery, romance, a little (possible) ghost action. I loved it. I am actually bummed that I finished the book. I kind of wanted to hang out in Ellen Rosing's tea parlor a while longer."– Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, NYT bestselling author of Star Wars: Shadow Games
"This book has all the things I like. Setting her mystery in Sante Fe, New Mexico, Greenwood paints a delightful picture of the neighborhood, and peoples it with interesting characters. I especially liked the sparks between Ellen and the detective, as they both legitimately misunderstand the other, but try for fairness."– Sherwood Smith, author of Crown Duel
"Even after I finished this book I kept coming back to it, wondering what's going to happen next."– mystery author Irene Radford
The first day my tearoom opened was wonderful—mostly. Funny how life can go swimmingly one moment, and fall to pieces the next.
The sun was starting to dip toward the west, filtered by the wisteria vines on the front porch, as I bade my guests farewell. My thank-you tea party had been a success, and the butterflies in my stomach had mostly settled down. After months of hard work, the Wisteria Tearoom was ready for its official grand opening celebration in two days.
"The tea was marvelous, Ellen! Come for dinner tomorrow," said my aunt Nat, giving me a big hug.
"Oh...I've got so much to do—"
"And you won't get it done if you don't take a rest now and then. Say 'Yes, thank you,' like a good girl."
"Yes, thank you," I said meekly.
Nat smiled. "Six o'clock."
I waved farewell to her and her perennial beau Manny Salazar, whose produce business was one of my suppliers. With a grateful sigh, I went inside and started toward the kitchen.
Claudia Pearson—a tall, older woman with snowy hair drawn into a tight bun and an aristocratic Roman nose, who always reminded me of Georgia O'Keeffe—stood in the hall putting on her gloves. She and Sylvia Carruthers, both from the Santa Fe Preservation Trust, were my most important guests at the thank-you tea. In fact, I'd come up with the party as a way of acknowledging them. Without their help, I wouldn't have been able to open the tearoom.
"Did Mrs. Carruthers go already?" I asked Claudia, who seemed in no hurry to leave.
"No, she hasn't come out."
We both looked toward the private dining parlor at the back of the tearoom, which doubled as a conference room and was where the tea had taken place. Vi, one of my servers, a stunning Juno of a girl with a tumble of flaming curls barely confined by a lavender ribbon, stepped out of the pantry across the hall, carrying an empty tray.
"Maybe she forgot something," I said to Claudia. "I'll go and see."
I went to the dining parlor door with Vi close on my heels. Dusk gathered at the windows and French doors, pushed back by the golden pool of light from the chandelier. I stopped short just inside the doorway.
Sylvia Carruthers lay sprawled on the floor beside the table, her huge heishi necklace tight around her throat, eyes bulging and her face a livid purple.