English Tea Murder (Lucy Stone Series #17)

English Tea Murder (Lucy Stone Series #17)

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by Leslie Meier
     
 

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Between a busy family and her duties as a reporter for the Tinker's Cove Pennysaver, Lucy Stone could use a break. So when a friend tells her about a trip to England sponsored by Winchester College, she jumps at the chance for a girls getaway. But when tour leader Professor George Temple dies mid-flight after an asthma attack, Lucy's glad she packed her

Overview

Between a busy family and her duties as a reporter for the Tinker's Cove Pennysaver, Lucy Stone could use a break. So when a friend tells her about a trip to England sponsored by Winchester College, she jumps at the chance for a girls getaway. But when tour leader Professor George Temple dies mid-flight after an asthma attack, Lucy's glad she packed her sleuthing skills. . .

In London, Professor Quentin Rea, a ladies' man and former flirt of Lucy's, arrives to take over the tour—and she finds that while his hairline has receded, his amorous intentions have not. Lucy also begins to notice peculiar behavior among other members of the group. And when she discovers all of them have pasts connected to the late Professor Temple, she suspects his death was an elaborate act of revenge. Then another tour member dies, and Lucy is suddenly ensnared in a daring scheme that could lead her to a mastermind of murder—or make her the next victim. . .

"Leslie Meier writes with sparkle and warmth." –Chicago Sun Times

"Leslie Meier has created a town I'd like to live in and sleuth I'd love to meet." –Jill Churchill

"Fans of Murder, She Wrote may want to try this latest in a series that is well written and enjoyable."
The Evansville Courier and Press

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Meier's sprightly 17th Lucy Stone mystery (after 2010's Wicked Witch Murder), the intrepid Tinker's Cove, Maine, reporter joins a tour group sponsored by Winchester College for her first trip overseas. Soon after the group's plane departs Boston for London, their affable guide, Winchester professor George Temple, dies of an apparent asthma attack, but the plane continues across the Atlantic. When attractive Quentin Rea, a former English professor of Lucy's, replaces Temple as the group leader at short notice, Lucy is dismayed to find the incorrigible flirt still smooth talking the ladies. Meanwhile, Lucy senses that others on the tour, despite their nonchalance, have something to hide. Eventually, Lucy realizes that everyone had a reason to want Temple dead. Though patches of travelogue tend to overshadow the mystery solving, the unusual ending will leave readers much to debate. (July)
Library Journal
Lucy (Gingerbread Cookie Murder) heads to England in her 16th outing, but the tour group leader dies on the plane.
Kirkus Reviews

Tinker's Cove's star reporter Lucy Stone (Wicked Witch Murder, 2010, etc.) and three chums take an action-packed trip to England.

Although her daughter Elizabeth's final year at Chamberlain College poses financial challenges for the Stone family, Lucy can't resist a bargain: only $2,000 (including airfare) for a nine-day study-abroad run by nearby Winchester University. Sue Finch talksPennysavereditor Ted Stillings into giving Lucy time off. After all, Ted's wife Pam is going along too. So is mutual friend Rachel Goodman. The tour gets off to a slightly rocky start, since its leader, George Temple, dies of anaphylaxis on the plane ride over. But after a brief interview with John Neal of the Metropolitan Police, it's all good. The friends set off, along with Autumn, Jennifer, Caroline and Will, the four Winchester students, Jennifer's granddad, Caroline's folks and Will's mom, for the Desmond Hotel, where Lucy promptly e-mails the college president asking for a replacement for Temple. (Her mobile doesn't work overseas, and London hotels evidently have no phones.) While they wait for a reply, Sue takes her friends shopping in Portobello Road. Come Monday morning, Quentin Rea arrives to take over as tour leader. Energetic Rea takes the group to Hampton Court, Brighton, Bath, Salisbury and Stonehenge. But he poses complications for Lucy, who during her student years was drawn into a not-quite-improper relationship with the literature professor. As their travels unfold, their relationship heats up, until a series of half-overheard conversations and near-miss accidents persuades Lucy that George Temple's death was no accident.

Short on sense but long on scenery, Lucy's 19th is best suited for those in search of a quick glide through England's top tourist attractions.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780758277589
Publisher:
Kensington
Publication date:
01/03/2012
Series:
Lucy Stone Series , #17
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
42,140
File size:
999 KB

Read an Excerpt

ENGLISH TEA MURDER

A Lucy Stone Mystery
By LESLIE MEIER

KENSINGTON BOOKS

Copyright © 2011 Leslie Meier
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-2931-1


Chapter One

Something was wrong. Very wrong.

Lucy Stone tapped the miniature TV screen fastened to the back of the seat in front of her, but it didn't even flicker. The tiny little image of an airplane that represented British Airways Flight 214 was still hugging the coast of the United States, and more than five hours of flight time remained before they would cross the blue patch representing the Atlantic Ocean to land on the dot symbolizing London, or more accurately Heathrow Airport.

Lucy nudged her seatmate, Sue Finch, who was flipping through a copy of British Vogue that she'd snagged while passing through the roomy first-class cabin, which was dotted with luxurious armchairs complete with footrests and privacy screens—a far cry from the cramped economy cabin where they were sitting.

"What is it, Lucy?"

"We're going to die."

"I don't think so." Sue turned the page and pointed to a photo with her perfectly polished fingernail. "What do you think of Katie Holmes's new haircut?"

"We're six miles up in the air and the temperature outside is MINUS one hundred and fifty degrees and all you can think about is Katie Holmes's haircut?"

Sue leaned over and peered at Lucy's screen. "Thirty-seven thousand feet, honey. That's not six miles."

"Yes, it is! Do the math! A mile is about five thousand feet."

Sue was now studying a photo of Victoria Beckham in minishorts. "Her legs are like sticks."

Lucy was busy recalling her multiplication tables. "Okay, I was wrong and you're right. SEVEN miles. That's absolutely crazy. And who even knew the thermometer goes down to one hundred and fifty degrees below zero. We live in Maine and the coldest it ever gets in Tinker's Cove is minus twenty or so." Lucy frowned. "And that's pretty darn cold."

"I don't know what you're so upset about. The temperature only goes up to ninety on a hot summer day, but the oven can go up to four hundred and fifty. I guess it's the same with cold."

"These planes are not as sturdy as you think," muttered Lucy darkly. "Remember the one that landed in the Hudson River? It was brought down by a goose."

"Well we're in luck, then, because it's way too cold up here for any geese." Sue indicated a photo of a top hat decorated with the Union Jack. "Look at this. There's a show of hats at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Maybe we can go."

"If we survive the flight."

"Oh, stop fussing." Sue tucked a wisp of glossy black hair behind her ear. "Flying is safer than driving. You might as well relax and enjoy the flight. That tinkling sound means the drinks trolley is coming."

Lucy might not be an experienced traveler, but she had done her homework. "You're not supposed to drink alcohol when you fly. It causes dehydration."

"Don't be ridiculous. If we're seven miles above the earth in freezing weather, we should drink every drop they'll give us."

Lucy was struggling to reach her carry-on bag, which she'd stowed beneath the seat in front of her. "How much do drinks cost?"

"They're included. And you'll get a nice dinner and breakfast, too."

Lucy fluffed her short mop of curls, which had gotten mussed when she reached for her wallet. "I had to pay for a Coke when Bill and I flew down to Florida for his uncle's funeral."

"That's on domestic flights. They take good care of you on these transatlantic flights. So relax. Watch a movie. This is supposed to be a vacation."

Sue was right, reflected Lucy as she pumped her heels up and down to avoid blood clots in her legs. This was her first trip out of the country, except for a few vacations in Canada, and she'd been looking forward to it for months. She'd always wanted to go to Europe, and now she finally had the chance. A few rows farther down the aisle, she could see her friend Pam Stillings's elbow, recognizable from the colorful sleeve of her tie-dyed shirt. It was due to Pam's job teaching yoga at Winchester College's night school that Lucy and Sue, as well as their friend Rachel Goodman, had learned about the trip. "Only two thousand dollars, and that includes airfare and hotel, admissions, everything except lunch and dinner, for nine whole days," Pam had exclaimed at one of their regular Thursday morning breakfasts at Jake's Donut Shack. "We should all go. This professor, George Temple—he's in my yoga class—is organizing the whole thing. All we have to do is sign up."

"Our kids are grown, and our husbands can manage by themselves for a week," said Sue. "Let's do it."

"I don't know if Ted will let me go for such a long time," said Lucy, who worked as a part-time reporter for the Tinker's Cove Pennysaver. Ted Stillings was the owner, publisher, editor, and chief reporter. He was also Pam's husband.

"I'll take care of Ted," promised Pam.

Rachel Goodman smiled sadly, running her finger around the thick rim of her white coffee mug; her big eyes were as dark as the black coffee. "I'd love to go, but I can't leave Miss T for a whole week." Rachel provided home care for the little town's oldest resident, Julia Ward Howe Tilley, and was very fond of her.

"Molly could fill in for you," said Lucy, referring to her daughter-in-law. "Patrick's almost a year old now. I think she'd enjoy getting out of the house, and I know Miss Tilley would enjoy seeing Patrick."

"Then I guess we're agreed," crowed Pam. "We have to put down a deposit of two hundred and fifty dollars to hold our places, so give me your checks as soon as you can."

It had seemed like a great idea at the time, but Lucy had no sooner written the check than she began to feel guilty. For one thing, unlike her friends, she wasn't an empty nester. Toby, the oldest, was married and settled on nearby Prudence Path with Molly and baby Patrick, and Elizabeth, next in line, was a senior at Chamberlain College in Boston. Sara, however, a high school sophomore, and Zoe, in middle school, were still at home. Bill, her restoration carpenter husband, would have his hands full managing his work and keeping an eye on the two girls. Even worse, she realized, she'd miss Patrick's first birthday on March 17.

"Don't be silly," Bill had argued when she voiced her concerns about leaving home for more than a week. "You've always wanted to go to England, and this is your chance—and you can find a terrific present for Patrick in London."

So Lucy had studied the itinerary and read the guidebooks and packed and repacked her suitcase several times. She'd even gone to the bank and changed five hundred American dollars into three hundred and fifty British pounds, which hadn't seemed like a very good deal at all.

"On the contrary," the bank manager had informed her. "The pound was trading at two dollars just a few months ago. You would have gotten only two hundred and fifty pounds if you bought back then."

"I hadn't realized," said Lucy, tucking the bills with Queen Elizabeth's face on them into her wallet.

"Have a good trip," said the manager, giving her a big smile.

Remembering the transaction, Lucy patted the little bulge her money belt made under her jeans, where she'd stowed her foreign money, emergency credit card, and a photocopy of her passport, just as the guidebook had advised. She checked the progress of the drinks trolley, which was making its slow way down the aisle, and glanced at George Temple, seated across the aisle from her. Temple, the tour leader, had suffered an asthma attack at the airport, and she hoped he was feeling better.

In contrast to the wheezing and coughing he'd exhibited in Terminal E at Logan, Temple now seemed quiet and withdrawn. He was sitting in an odd posture, hunched forward and completely ignoring his seatmates, two Winchester students who were also along on the tour. Pam had pointed them out to Lucy while they waited at the gate. The one next to Temple—a girl with spiky black hair; numerous piercings in her nose, lips, and ears; and a tattoo of a chain around her neck—was Autumn Mackie. "A wild child, a bit of a legend on campus," Pam had said. "But I can't figure out what she's doing with Jennifer Fain. She not only looks like an angel, but she also acts like one." Jennifer, who was seated by the window, had long blond hair and was wearing a loose, pink-flowered top that looked almost like a child's dress over her skinny gray jeans. It gave her a sweet, innocent air that contrasted sharply with Autumn's black Goth outfit.

The two made an odd pair, whispering together like the best of friends, but Temple wasn't noticing. He was sitting rigidly, leaning forward with his hands on his thighs, his shoulders rising and falling with each labored breath.

Lucy reached her hand across the aisle and tapped his arm. "Are you all right?"

"Asthma," he said, producing an inhaler. "This should help."

Lucy watched as he placed the inhaler between his lips and took a puff, sucking in the aerosol medication with a short, harsh gulp. When he exhaled, it took a long time and was accompanied by a wheezing sound that caught the attention of the two girls, who giggled. Temple ignored them and took another puff of medicine, and this time it seemed to go better, with less wheezing.

Reassured that he was gaining control of the attack, Lucy pulled the in-flight magazine out of the seat pocket and turned to the entertainment menu, choosing a film she hadn't seen: Doubt. The drinks trolley was closer now, and Jennifer was rummaging in her backpack, eventually producing a plastic ziplock bag that appeared to contain trail mix. She ripped it open and tossed it to Autumn, who caught it and began stirring the contents with her fingers, finally producing a raisin, which she popped into her mouth.

Temple's breathing seemed to worsen, but Lucy's view was blocked by a flight attendant, who asked if she'd like something to drink.

"White wine?" Lucy inquired.

"Of course. And would you like another, for your meal?"

Lucy looked at Sue, who nodded sharply.

"Thank you," said Lucy as two little wine bottles were placed on her tray table, along with a plastic glass and a tiny packet of pretzels. Sue opted for the same, but when the trolley moved on, Lucy saw that the girls had refused the refreshments and were sharing the bag of trail mix, passing it back and forth between them. Temple had accepted a glass of water, which was sitting on his tray, and his condition seemed to have improved. He was resting quietly now, leaning back in his seat, and the wheezing had stopped. Lucy felt she could relax, too, and poured herself a glass of white wine. On the tiny screen, Meryl Streep, costumed in the black bonnet and long-skirted habit of a nun in the 1960s, was terrorizing a schoolyard full of boisterous children. Lucy took a sip of wine, then another, and was soon absorbed in the movie.

Meryl Streep wasn't much liking Philip Seymour Hoffman—that was clear from her pursed lips and disapproving expression—when Lucy felt a tap on her upper arm. She turned toward George Temple and was shocked by his appearance. His face was grayish, his lips blue, and he was trying to tell her something but couldn't get the words out.

"Stay calm," she told him, pushing the button with the graphic of a flight attendant. "I'm ringing for help."

The two girls, she saw, were completely oblivious to his condition, listening to their iPods with earbuds and bouncing along to the music.

Temple nodded slowly and again raised his inhaler to his mouth, but before he could take a puff, Autumn Mackie gave an extra big bounce and flung out her hands, knocking the inhaler into the untouched glass of water. Horrified, Lucy watched as Temple turned slowly toward her and passed out.

The flight attendant, not at all the glamorous stereotype but a sturdy, middle-aged woman with thick English legs and a blouse that billowed out of her waistband, took one look and hurried back to the compartment containing medical supplies. As she returned with a small oxygen tank and mask, an announcement came over the PA system.

"We have a medical emergency. If there is a doctor or nurse aboard, please make yourself known to a crew member."

"Gramps!" It was Jennifer, her face pale, rising up by pulling against the back of the seat in front of her. "My grandfather is a doctor!"

An older gentleman, gray-haired in a tweed jacket and bow tie, was already hurrying down the aisle, a small leather case in his hand. He quickly examined Temple, checking his pupils and his pulse. "Anaphylactic shock," he told the flight attendant.

"I'll get the EpiPen." She whirled around, ready to dash down the aisle.

"I have one," said the doctor, producing a small plastic cylinder. Opening it, he extracted a syringe and snapped the cap off, revealing a short needle that he jabbed into Temple's thigh, right through his trousers. He then massaged the site of the injection, watching for signs of recovery.

Lucy couldn't see Temple—her view was blocked by the doctor and the flight attendant—but she could hear sobbing from one of the girls. The plane was quiet, everyone aware that something serious was happening. The drinks trolley was stalled, its return to the galley blocked by the caregivers in the aisle.

"A second shot?" whispered the flight attendant.

There was movement as the doctor felt Temple's pulse, then closed his eyelids. "I'm afraid it's too late."

The attendant quickly crossed herself, then asked Autumn for her blanket.

Autumn drew her dark brows together and scowled. "Blanket? The one that was on my seat?"

"Right. I'll get you another, but I need to cover this gentleman."

"Jennifer, give her your blanket," said the doctor.

"Okay." Jennifer obediently handed over the neatly folded square of blue acrylic, wrapped in plastic, and watched as the flight attendant ripped it open and carefully spread it over Temple's body.

"What are you doing?" Autumn's face was hard, her tone challenging. "You can't leave him here!"

"I'm afraid we have no alternative." A male flight attendant had joined the little group. "The plane is full. There are no empty seats."

"So you're just going to leave him here?" Jennifer had turned paler than ever. The black mascara she was wearing stood out like two rows of exclamation points, dramatizing her huge blue eyes.

Lucy turned and looked at Sue, grabbing her hand. They clung together, stunned by the enormity of the scene they had just witnessed.

"I know this is terribly upsetting and unfortunate, but there's really nothing we can do," said the steward, rubbing his hands together briskly. "So, who'd like another drink before dinner?"

Chapter Two

"Are you crazy?" Autumn Mackie's face had gained some color; red blotches were appearing on her pallid cheeks and tattooed neck. "You can't expect me to sit next to a stinking corpse all the way to London!"

The steward's expression was quite stern. "Miss, please lower your voice."

"I will not lower my voice. This is outrageous! It's probably illegal! There's a health issue here!"

"Once again, I must ask you to lower your voice. I do not wish to have to restrain you, but I am empowered to do so."

The little hoops in Autumn's eyebrows trembled. "Restrain me? For what? What am I doing?"

The steward's expression was impassive. "You are disturbing the other passengers and interfering with the crew's performance of its duty." The scent of cooked food was filling the cabin, and there were sounds from the galley of trolleys being shifted and loaded. Lucy was ashamed of herself but felt quite hungry. It was almost eleven o'clock, hours later than her usual dinnertime.

"I am not the crazy one here," declared Autumn, stabbing at her chest. "This is a dead body. It's unsanitary. I don't want to have anything to do with it. Get it?"

"I understand, miss. This is an unfortunate situation, but we must make the best of it."

"I have a solution," said the doctor before the steward could reply. "I will change seats with the young lady."

"Is that agreeable?" inquired the steward.

"Yes. Anything to get away from this ... this corpse."

The steward turned to the doctor. "Thank you very much indeed."

"It's nothing, really. I would actually prefer to sit with my granddaughter." He smiled at Jennifer. "I will go and fetch my things."

"All right, miss. If you will just climb over ..." The steward was holding out his hand to Autumn, offering support so she could clamber over Temple's body.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from ENGLISH TEA MURDER by LESLIE MEIER Copyright © 2011 by Leslie Meier. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Leslie Meier is the acclaimed author of sixteen Lucy Stone mysteries and has also written for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. She lives in Harwich, Massachusetts, where she is currently at work on the next Lucy Stone mystery.

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English Tea Murder 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
penandtome More than 1 year ago
Lucy Stone's trip to London is frivolity with death abroad and at home. *** Author Leslie Meier never seems to lack new characters to murder or places to be murdered. In English Tea Murder, the 19th novel in the "Lucy Stone Mysteries", the author follows Lucy and friends on a college-sponsored trip to London. Meier includes extensive tour site descriptions along with character conversations that illustrate awkward interactions often found between tour group members. The action begins after Lucy watches tour group leader, Professor George Temple, as he slowly dies en route to London. Group reactions leave Lucy wondering if the Professor's death was accidental or murder. Lucy suspects at least one other person knows the truth in this whodunit. The real question in this book is not where Lucy can find an English cup of tea, but whether the reader will figure out the ending before Lucy does.
Michelle1948 More than 1 year ago
I love a good cozy mystery but this one didn't seem like a mystery. It seems like a guidebook of england. The author spends so much time describing the tours of london that we hardly get any mystery. We get a little here and there. Mostly within the last 3 chapters of the book. Save your money and borrow this one from your library if you are interested in it.
S_Garth More than 1 year ago
I look forward to each Lucy Stone mystery and I have loved them all...until this book! I was very disappointed with this book. It just dioodn't have the spink , focus, cool but complicated plot of the other books. It seemed like there were at least 4 plot lines that could have been developed into great stories but they were scatterded, barely related to the actual mystery which seemed dull & unfocused. I hope the next book has Leslie Meier's usual quality.
AmyELignor1 More than 1 year ago
Lucy Stone is a happily married woman with a loving husband and four children. This family lives in Tinker's Cove, Maine, where Lucy is a part-time writer for the local 'Pennysaver' newspaper. Lucy and three friends decide that they could use a break and they make a decision to join up on a trip to England sponsored by Winchester College. Unfortunately the group's leader, George Temple, suffers an asthma attack during the flight. Dr. Cope, a member of the group, tries to save George but is unable to, and when they reach England, the medical examiner pronounces George dead from anaphylactic shock. Lucy and her friends try their best to go on with their trip by going out, enjoying the shopping experiences, and searching for a place to have a cup of British afternoon tea. The group travels to the Tower of London and Brighton Beach, and enjoy all the amazing sites and sounds of England, yet never seem to find that cup of tea. In the meantime, Professor Quentin Rea arrives to take over as leader of the group. He is a real ladies' man and was once, many years before, enamored of Lucy. When he arrives on the scene, Lucy finds that he has not aged well at all, but still has amorous attentions toward her (and anyone else he can con) - even a very young college student. As the trip progresses, Lucy comes to find that George Temple's death was not due to natural causes but was, in fact, an act of revenge. As another murder takes place, Lucy turns to police detectives in Maine to help her find out the truth before she becomes the next victim. Ms. Meier has written many books featuring Lucy Stone, but this is the first that takes place outside of Maine. Lovers of all mystery/suspense stories will enjoy Ms. Meier's newest work, and may also see some similarities to the Queen of Mystery, Agatha Christie. Enjoy!
lulabellGE More than 1 year ago
Dragged on. Not as good as her other mysteries.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be just an average read. The comparisons to Agatha Christie are a bit of a stretch. The concept is a good one but the story did not build up any suspense. I would definitely get this one from a local library if you enjoy this genre!
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NWIStacey More than 1 year ago
Meier has done a plethora of research for this novel! I learned more about England in this novel than I have learned from my England/London obsessed husband! Kudos, Meier, for the research efforts you put in! It took me a while to read this novel, as it just did not grab my attention from the beginning. I honestly found it a little too informational packed. It was like Meier wanted to include every little thing she could about the history, etc. However, I pressed on and did enjoy the story line. On the travel over the pond, Lucy and her good friends witness the death of their trip coordinator. Lucy is not convinced it is just a typical death, and throughout the entire vacation she is playing sleuth, attempting to find out who murdered poor Mr. Temple, as she doesn’t feel things were adding up right. Throughout the novel several incidents occur which force Lucy to believe her thoughts about Temples death to be true. If you are looking for a decent mystery that involves extremely rich history of London this is your novel!
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harstan More than 1 year ago
Winchester College Professor George Temple sponsors a tour of England. Tinker's Cove, Maine newspaper reporter and surprisingly good sleuth Lucy Stone and her three close friends excitedly join his group. However, while still in the air crossing the ocean, George dies from anaphylactic shock. Another member of the tour Dr. Cope tries to save Temple, but fails. Lucy is sad by the professor's death, but did not know him so she, her BFFs and the rest of the group tour the country. After a while, Lucy notices an odd vibe amongst the group excluding her pals. There is a lack of passion towards the deceased and in fact she thinks there is general sigh of relief. Then there are the strange dangerous accidents including a student falling off Brighton Pier and someone tried to push Lucy's friend Pam into oncoming traffic. Lucy has a theory to what is happening, but Metropolitan Police easily explain an alternative to her concerns. Leslie Meier writes a complex cozy in which life imitates art. Fans of the long running series will enjoy the first book outside of Maine, as armchair travelers will appreciate the tour that provides timely insight into British history. The characters are believable as American tourists who have to get used to a new culture very different than in the United States. The whodunit is clever as Lucy Stone amateur sleuth investigates once again. Harriet Klausner
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Review by Lisa: The book begins with Lucy Stone and her friends jetting off to England on a trip sponsored by Winchester College. While in flight, tour leader Professor George Temple experiences an asthma attack. Dr. Cope, who is also with the tour group, attempts to save Professor Temple but cannot. Although, upset about the Professor¿s death, Lucy and her friends decide to continue their tour of England. Professor Quentin Rea arrives within a few days to take Professor Temple¿s place as the new leader. Lucy and her friends tour the country looking for gifts to bring home and the perfect afternoon tea. While on one of these excursions, she begins to notice the other tour members acting strangely. They appear to have no sympathy for the passing of Professor Temple. Throw in helicopter parents, a randy Professor Rea, difficult young college students, a few ¿accidents¿ and you have a darn good mystery. This is the 17th book in the Lucy Stone Mysteries series. I have to admit that prior to this book I had not read any of the Lucy Stone books. That is about to change because I love the character of Lucy Stone and Ms. Meier¿s writing style. The characters were quirky and interesting especially Professor Rea. I enjoyed the dynamic between Lucy, Sue, Rachael and Pam. English Tea Murder reminded me of an Agatha Christie style book with all of the red herrings. The best part was that I could not figure out what happened to Professor Temple and who did it until the end. I enjoyed the setting being in England and loved that British history was incorporated into the book. It was like traveling to England with Lucy and her friends except that I did not get to enjoy afternoon tea. This is a great read and I look forward to reading the other Lucy Stone Mysteries.
52chickadees More than 1 year ago
I must admit from the "Get-go", that, outside of a couple of short story collaborations with other authors, "English Tea Murder" is the first full volume of work by Ms. Meier that I have read. However, believe me when I tell you, it will not be my last as I want to read more about Lucy Stone, the mystery solver from Tinker's Cove. This is an easy read you'll enjoy. I know I did! Lucy Stone bid a reluctant farewell to her husband and family and joins a tour group, sponsored by Winchester College, and heads to jolly, old England. She soon finds that England may be old, but at times, not very jolly. We are introduced to a widely mixed group of personalities starting with Lucy's "Inner Circle of Friends", Sue, Rachael and Pam, who all talked her into this trip in the first place, followed by the puzzling and often sad, Smith family, Dr. Cope and his supposed anorexic granddaughter, Jennifer, tough and totally Goth Amber, and last but not least, fretful Laura Barfield and her "wild child" son, Will. You will start catching possible clues within the first couple of chapters, especially after tour guide as well as College Professor George Temple suffers a seizure on their plane and dies. No one is counted out as a suspect, not even poor Lucy who witnessed his demise. To add some spice to all of the drama, Quentin Rea, a Professor for whom Lucy had a slight crush many years ago, is sent by the college to replace Professor Temple and escort the group to various sites of interest in London and beyond. I must interject here that I have not had the opportunity to travel abroad and I truly enjoyed the colorful descriptions of historical places one might visit within their own tour. When clues, large and small, start adding up with some incidents to spike some extra intrigue, Lucy puts her "Sleuth Cap" on to uncover the guilty party. You won't want to put this book down until, with Lucy's help, you find out who did the nasty deed ,all while taking a tour of London and surrounding areas without leaving the comfort of your cozy armchair!