Daisy’s Tea Garden in Pennsylvania’s Amish country is known for its elegant finger foods—but now owner Daisy Swanson has to finger a killer . . .
Restaurant critic Derek Schumaker, notorious for his bitter reviews, is about to visit Daisy’s Tea Garden, and Daisy and Aunt Iris are simmering with anxiety. A bad word from the culinary curmudgeon could really hurt their business, but Daisy tries to stay confident. After all, how can he resist her cucumber sandwiches with pimento spread—not to mention the cheesy cauliflower soup and strawberry walnut salad?
Schumaker takes a to-go order when the afternoon tea service is done, which Daisy hopes is a good sign. But when he perishes from a seizure, it looks like his food was dosed with something deadly. Considering a threat that recently appeared on his blog—and whispers of scandal in his past—Daisy has quite an assortment of suspects to sift through . . .
Includes delicious recipes!
About the Author
C. S. E. Cooney launched her voice-acting career narrating short fiction for Podcastle, the world's first audio fantasy magazine. She is a performance poet, singer-songwriter, and fantasy author whose collection Bone Swans has garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Locus Magazine.
Read an Excerpt
"I can't believe how he trashed that tea room," Foster Cranshaw said, studying Daisy Swanson's office computer screen on a Monday morning in mid-March.
Sitting at the desktop computer, Daisy worried her lower lip. Daisy's Tea Garden hadn't opened yet for daily business. She and her aunt Iris, who was her partner in the tea garden, had switched on the computer and googled Derek Schumacher. Soon, he'd be giving his professional opinion on Daisy's Tea Garden's offerings.
Foster was one of Daisy's assistants and her social media expert to boot. She'd become fond of him, in part, because he was dating her daughter Violet who was on spring break from college. She would be coming into the tea garden tomorrow to help out. When Foster had arrived for his morning shift, he'd brought up Derek Schumacher's blog to check on the critic's latest reviews.
"He's reviewing several tea rooms," Aunt Iris reminded them. "He can't give everybody a good review."
"He can if the food is good," Foster muttered, pushing his rimless glasses up higher on the bridge of his nose.
Although her aunt was repeating a practical line, Daisy could see Iris was worried, too, by the way she brushed her ash-brown curls up over her brow. She did that when she was anxious.
"Maybe he can't give everybody a good review," Daisy murmured, "but he doesn't have to be this harsh." She read his review aloud. "'Virginia has many elegant tea rooms. The Flowered Tea Cup isn't one of them.'" Daisy's voice rose as she continued. "'The bread on their sandwiches was as dry as the sand in the Mojave Desert.'"
Daisy clicked on a link for another review. "He says that Carla's Tea and Concessions served strawberry jam that stuck to his teeth like glue. Why did I ever agree to let him come here to taste our food and tea?" When she shook her head in exasperation, her blond low ponytail swished over her shoulder.
Foster straightened and backed away from the computer. "You accepted his request because publicity is good for any tea room."
"Not bad publicity," Iris warned Foster. "If he determines our food isn't tasty, it could hurt our business."
Daisy turned her head and peered through the glass windows of her office across the hall to the kitchen. Then her glance swerved to the doorway that led into the main tea room.
Daisy and her aunt had purchased this Victorian when Daisy had returned to Willow Creek, Pennsylvania — deep in Lancaster County — about a year after her husband died. When she'd made the decision to return to her hometown instead of remaining in Florida, she'd known she and her two daughters had needed a change ... and a fresh start. Her aunt Iris had always been a tea aficionado. Daisy's degree in nutrition and her love of cooking had made partnering with her aunt an easy decision. Ever since Daisy's childhood, her aunt had been a stalwart supporter of any project she'd taken on.
The pale green Victorian with its white trim, gingerbread edging, and covered porch had once housed a bakery. Converting it to a tea garden, with an apartment up above where her kitchen manager Tessa Miller lived, hadn't been too difficult. Two main front rooms on the first floor hosted their customers. They could be served or buy tea and goodies to-go in the main room, where the walls were the palest green to promote calm just as tea did. The room was furnished with oak, glass-top tables. The second room facing the street was a spillover area. With its walls the palest yellow and its bay window, that room was used when they were extremely busy or when they took reservations and served afternoon tea by appointment. Weather permitting, they also served tea, baked goods, soups, and salads on the side patio. In mid-March, with the first hint of spring in the air, their tourist business was picking up again.
Foster broke into Daisy's musings. "Derek Schumacher as a chef wasn't this nasty when he had his TV show. He traveled to popular restaurants and brought home cooks from the area to the restaurant to cook. The best cook won kitchen appliances. No one really knows why he left the show and began critiquing food instead of cooking it. His reputation as a chef had really taken off. He even had his own line of cookware on one of the home shopping channels."
Daisy continued to read a few reviews of other tea rooms Schumacher had visited. She pointed to a line of text on the screen. "In this review, he said the tea room's pound cake was as heavy as lead."
"Maybe he thinks because he's a food critic he has to be critical," Foster decided.
"That does not make me feel any better," Daisy said.
Foster pointed to a number at the bottom of the screen. "Just look at how many views his blog gets. That's why advertisers line up to market their products on his website."
Daisy blew out a breath. "Maybe he has that many hits because of his controversial way of reviewing. It's hard to believe his TV show became so popular. It had its beginnings in a studio in Lancaster. He lives in Willow Creek, you know. It's his home base."
"Maybe that means he'll be kinder to us," Iris suggested.
"Or harder on us so his audience doesn't think he's playing favorites," Foster explained. "I understand that Derek and his brother Bradley are opposites."
"Bradley Schumacher?" Daisy repeated. Where had she heard that name?
"His brother is the principal of the high school," Foster elaborated. "Everybody there thinks he's terrific — a great role model."
Now Daisy remembered. She'd seen Bradley Schumacher's name on the program when Vi had graduated. Her daughter Jazzi, who was a sophomore, had mentioned his name lately in regard to the talent show the school would be putting on. Jazzi had been texting with Vi about it for weeks, discussing what to sing, what to wear, and how to keep the jitters at bay.
"I can't quite picture Bradley Schumacher," Daisy said. Fortunately, Jazzi was a good student and hadn't had any association with the principal. Vi's senior year at the school had passed quickly without incident. Her older daughter had been focused on getting accepted at Lehigh University.
Foster shrugged. "He looks like an average guy ... not too tall, not too short, brown hair and glasses."
"I believe Jazzi said he stops in at the practices for the talent show." Changing the subject and trying to divert her attention away from Derek Schumacher's visit the following week, Daisy said to Foster, "I hope Vi will be able to get home for Jazzi's show Easter weekend. How are her end-of-the-semester projects going?" She knew Violet talked to Foster about school projects more than she talked about them at home.
"She's on schedule with her research papers. It depends on how much progress she makes until then ... although she is determined to come home for Easter."
"I certainly understand that, and I know Jazzi will too. But she'll be disappointed if Vi doesn't make it home."
Violet and Foster both were in their first year of college, although Foster was a year ahead of Vi. He was attending nearby Millersville University. At twenty, he had a mature head on his shoulders, was paying room and board to his dad to earn independence, and took as many hours to work as Daisy could schedule him at the tea garden. He'd also set up websites for a few other businesses in Willow Creek. He was definitely a self- starter with a huge dose of ingenuity.
Suddenly, Tessa appeared in the doorway. Entering the office, she said, "Good morning, everyone." She hung her sweater coat on the wooden coat rack in the corner.
Iris headed toward the door. "I'd better put the blueberry scones in the case. Foster, do you want to pull the salads out of the walk-in?"
Daisy rose from the computer. "I'll put the soup on. I'm planning chicken noodle for today."
When merely Daisy and Tessa remained in the office, Tessa asked her, "So what were you all doing in here?"
"Checking Derek Schumacher's reviews. That was a mistake. He can actually be vicious. What if he gives us one of those miserable reviews?"
"He won't," Tessa assured her.
"How can you be so sure?"
"Because we're going to make each item we serve him perfect, tasty, and the best we know how." Tessa hung her arm around Daisy's shoulders. "Right?"
Daisy had to laugh. Tessa had been her cheerleader in school too. They'd been best friends when they'd skipped a grade, and they still were now. Having Tessa as her kitchen manager had made opening the tea garden an even more special endeavor.
After Daisy had put the soup on and her servers had arrived, she baked lemon tea cakes until Iris called her to the counter to help three women who wanted to take along Daisy's special blend of tea. Customers came and went all morning along with two buses full of tourists. Daisy didn't even think about lunch as she worked beside Iris and her servers to maintain steady service.
To Daisy's surprise, her mother entered the tea garden around three o'clock. Her mom and dad owned and ran Gallagher's Garden Corner, a nursery that serviced Willow Creek and the surrounding area. Rose Gallagher was as involved in the business as her husband Sean. It was unusual for her to be out and about instead of at the nursery on an early spring afternoon.
As her mother hurried to the counter, her ash-blond hair permed tightly around her head hardly moved. As usual she wore a bright pink lipstick. She was dressed in a knit pantsuit because casual clothes were what she wore for a day at the nursery. The steel blue color of it matched her eyes. Daisy's eyes were more like her dad's — sky blue — and she hoped they held the twinkle that his did. Right now, however, she forgot about her father and focused on her mom, who wasn't smiling.
The tea room had quieted for the moment as it often did midafternoon unless they were serving tea by appointment.
"It's good to see you, Mom, but this is a surprise."
"No doubt it is," her mother said, looking tense.
"Is something wrong? Did Dad get hurt carrying a tree ball?" Daisy worried that as her father aged, he wouldn't be able to keep up with the physical demands of the nursery.
"Nothing like that," her mother snapped.
Daisy and her mother had clashed more than once since Daisy had returned to Willow Creek. There were lots of reasons for that. The main one — her mom's critical attitude. That's why Daisy and her aunt Iris had always been close. Although sisters, Iris's personality and Daisy's mother's were very different.
The latest clash concerned the man Daisy was dating — Jonas Groft. He was a former detective and now the owner of Woods, a store that sold handcrafted furniture, some of which Jonas made himself. Rose didn't believe Jonas had the ambition he should have, or that he was thinking seriously about having a family to care for. Daisy had made the mistake of telling her mother that she and Jonas were taking their relationship very slowly. However, they'd been dating steadily since January when Daisy had become involved in her second murder investigation. She and Jonas were both happy with the way things stood, and she didn't want her mother interfering. But Rose Gallagher's interference was a given.
"I didn't come to have a cup of tea or chat," her mother explained. "I came to see your aunt. Where is Iris?"
Daisy knew sisters argued. She and her own sister certainly did. Vi and Jazzi did sometimes, yet there was always an underlying bond. Since she'd returned to Willow Creek, Daisy hadn't felt that bond between her mother and her aunt Iris.
"She's in the kitchen," Daisy said. "I'll let her know you're here. The two of you can use my office if you need to talk."
"We certainly do." Her mother marched into Daisy's office as if she owned it.
Daisy entered the kitchen and crossed to her aunt, who was running the mixer. Iris's ash-brown curls were bound in a hairnet. At five-foot-six, she was about three inches taller than her sister. But the laugh lines, rather than worry lines, around her eyes and her ready smile set her apart.
Unable to hear above the sounds of the running mixer, Daisy placed a hand on her aunt's shoulder to get her attention.
Iris glanced around and turned off the machine.
"Mom's here to see you. Do you know what it's about?"
"I have no idea," Iris responded with a shake of her head. "I guess she can't wait until I finish mixing up this scone batter?"
"I'll handle the scones. Go ahead and see what she wants. She's in our office."
Iris headed that way. After Daisy finished mixing the scone batter, Eva Connor, Daisy's dishwasher and Girl Friday, said she'd scoop them out if Daisy wanted to join her mom and her aunt. Daisy let Eva take over the scones as she hurried to the office.
Daisy stopped outside the closed door because her mother's voice was raised. But through the glass window, Daisy could see the anger in her mother's eyes.
"You should never have encouraged Sean to go on a fishing trip. He's leaving on Thursday." Rose's cheeks were dotted with color, and she looked more upset than Daisy had seen her in a while.
"You can survive, Rose," Iris said. "Sean told me he has plenty of help coming in."
"This is our busiest season at the nursery. Sure, we have help, but they don't run things, and I can't run everything without Sean."
"Can't you give the people you hire more responsibility? Sean said even his temp employees would work more hours."
Rose's face, already with high color, reddened more. "You just don't understand what running a business is like."
Iris crossed her arms over her chest. "I think I do. Daisy's Tea Garden is a business."
"Maybe so, but it's very different from the nursery. I can understand Sean needing an escape for a day or two. But a whole week?"
"He's only going upstate," Iris pointed out. "It's not as if he'll be that far away."
"Well, he's not going to drive back here to take care of a special order or to clear the network if the computer goes down."
Daisy was about to enter the office to intervene, but she stopped when her aunt said, "Maybe you should give Sean freedom to do what he wants. Maybe you'd both be happier that way."
Daisy expected an explosion ... but it didn't come. Instead, her mother pushed the office door open and said to Daisy, "I'll see you this weekend."
Daisy was going to try to follow her and catch her, to find out why she was really upset. But her mother gave her no chance to do that. Rose rushed through the tea room, swiftly passing Jonas as he strode in.
He was over six feet, lean and perceptive. A scar marred his cheek but only made his face more interesting. With silver at the temples of his black hair, he represented a picture of what a detective on TV or in the movies might look like. But his years as a detective in Philadelphia had been very real rather than pretend. He, too, had come to Willow Creek for a fresh start.
When Jonas arched a questioning brow at Daisy, she felt world-tilting attraction for him that could take over her dreams and desires if she let it. His green eyes sometimes seemed to see straight through to her heart, and she was hard pressed to deny her growing feelings for him.
He must have seen her frustration or maybe her fatigue from a full day of waiting on customers. On the other hand, perhaps he recognized her worry about the food critic and the argument between Aunt Iris and her mother. He came up to Daisy and asked, "Would you like to take a break? You can come to my workshop and see the reclaimed wood island I just finished."
Could she? "I should talk to Aunt Iris first. She might be upset. She and Mom had a disagreement."
"If she is upset, she might need to calm down a bit before she wants to talk."
Jonas was probably right. "Do I need my jacket?"
"Haven't you been out since you came in this morning? It's warm for March."
"No. I didn't take time for lunch either."
"Do you want to take along soup? I don't think you'll need your jacket."
She pulled the bow from the tie of her apron at her back waist. She liked the Tea Garden's aprons with their huge daisies and DAISY'S TEA GARDEN printed on the front. But she'd rather just walk around in her normal clothes — a pair of navy slacks and a pale blue, boat-neck top. "I'll just tell Aunt Iris I'm leaving."
Five minutes later, they were walking to Jonas's shop, which was located behind his store. "I told Aunt Iris we'd talk when I get back. She'll have time to gather her thoughts, and I'll be fortified with fresh air and soup."
Jonas raised the bag she'd handed him. "This feels heavier than soup for one."
"That's because it's soup for two with pecan tarts thrown in."
He smiled. "You just want to make sure I eat healthy snacks."
"I do. Sometimes I think you're addicted to fast food."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Murder with Cucumber Sandwiches"
Copyright © 2019 Karen Rose Smith.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Along comes a fairly gentle cozy mystery in Murder with Cucumber Sandwiches by Karen Rose Smith that is half personal relationships and half murder mystery. Interestingly enough, Smith manages to tie in a lot of the personal issues with the murder. Daisy, a widow, owns Daisy’s Tea Garden with her Aunt Iris. This mystery begins with uncomfortable anticipation for Daisy and her staff caused by the upcoming visit by celebrity food blogger Derek, known for giving unfavorable reviews. He is found dead after his visit. There are so many questions about Derek’s death that Daisy must try to answer while juggling personal dilemmas with her college age daughter Vi and with Foster, Vi’s boyfriend, who is also an employee of Daisy. Her other daughter, Jazzi, is undergoing emotional trauma because of possible rejection by her birth mom. Daisy is moving slowly in her relationship with former detective and current local woodworker Jonas. Daisy’s parents live in the same town, and her mother tends to be critical. What a lot of things for Daisy to deal with at one time! At the teashop, business is off because potential customers are deterred by the possibility of poisoning. Daisy needs to find the murderer to save her shop and her employees’ jobs. Her major method is listening as she informally interviews suspects and watches for their reactions. The characters are interesting, and I enjoy visits to the tea shop where all kinds of teas and goodies are available as well as more substantial fare such as soups. Before the murder, bus loads of tourists frequently stopped for tea, but the murder has squelched enthusiasm for the tea shop. As the setting is Lancaster County in Pennsylvania, there are some Amish references as Daisy and Jonas interact with Amish friends and employees. Willow Creek is a welcoming little town, and Daisy’s Tea Garden, set in a charming Victorian house, is a comfortable spot to chat with a friend. Come on in! The tea is hot, the hostess is friendly, and the treats are (not literally) “to die for.” I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Daisy is a widow with two daughters. One is in high school and the other college. This, along with trying to re-enter the world of dating herself, gives Daisy an array of personal issues to deal with you don’t often see in cozy mysteries. I felt like Daisy’s personal story took center stage with the murder placed in a secondary story line. I didn’t mind this. I thought the story was well told and I look forward to future adventures with Daisy and her girls!
Dollycas’s Thoughts Holy Cucumbers! When restaurant critic Derek Schumaker arrives at Daisy’s Tea Garden Daisy tries to stay positive. She knows the food they serve is fantastic. Aunt Iris is a little more pensive. The man is known for his derogatory reviews. Reviews that can shut restaurants down. When Schumaker requests a to-go order of cucumber sandwiches, Daisy knows they have the review in the bag. That all changes when the police show up investigating the critic’s death pointing fingers at the sandwiches from Daisy’s Tea Garden. This is bad for business and bad for her employees especially when two of them is clearly hiding something. Daisy knows there are a plethora of suspects that should be on the list, just from all the restaurants he has critiqued badly. The man had received numerous threats, one recently on his blog. Daisy decides to delve deep into the man’s life to see if she can catch the killer before her business is tainted and out of business. It this 3rd book of this series the author has filled Daisy’s plate with so much. She is juggling the murder, an employee that is going through something he refuses to share, her younger daughter’s relationship with her birth mom, her older daughter wants to come home from college to talk, and she is trying to have a relationship with Jonas Groft, all the while trying to keep customers coming into the tea shop while many think their food killed the critic. The author strikes a nice balance of work, home, and murder drama. All the character’s lives are intertwined and the relationships are all evolving in a believable way. Daisy has a huge heart, but that heart is still healing from the loss of her husband. Her girls are growing up and dealing with some heavy issues. Daisy’s compassionate soul reaches out to everyone. She treats her employees and friends like family and would do anything for them. Daisy has a way with people, they open up to her like they never would for the prickly Detective Morris Rappaport, so the murder investigation gets very interesting. Jonas is kinda caught in the middle. Ms. Smith has plotted this mystery perfectly. She kept me guessing right up until the very end. I enjoy everything about this book/series. The characters are warm and engaging, the mystery is well thought out and presented, and Willow Creek is a place I would love to visit. These stories are best read in order to follow the character growth but enough background is given to read each one on their own. I was excited to see this week, that the 4th book in this series – Murder with Cherry Tarts will be out later this year and is already up for preorder.
Daisy and her Aunt, Iris are so happy that the business is doing well and that the tour buses keep stopping by. The only problem is that once restaurant critic, Derek Schumaker , who is usually good at saying bad things about places turns up dead. Derek had taken some cucumber sandwiches to go and is later found dead. The list of suspects seem to keep growing and although Daisy tries to stay out of helping to solve the murder, Detective Rapport will once again be grateful for her help. Until the murder is solved business will keep hurting. Daisy and Jonas have some difficult decisions to make about there relationship when Vi gives them some surprising and unexpected news. Jazzi is still waiting to hear back from her real mom, Portia and Daisy are afraid the news might be hurtful and not what she wants to hear. As usual, when reading one of Ms Smiths books my appetite seems to increase as it does with the series. I suddenly feel the need to take a break and have a cup of tea with something sweet. Although some readers may be able to narrow the suspect list down it is the motive for the murder that will become a shock to almost all of us. A delightful read.
I love this cozy mystery series by Karen Rose Smith. The tea room is a wonderful setting for the book as it allows a glimpse into the community and the patrons that dine there. I also love the “family” of characters. They seem to genuinely care for each other and support each other. The mystery part of the story is not always easy to solve and keeps me guessing until the last few pages of the book. This particular story was interesting as it involved the tea room and the death of a food critic. There’s lots of characters who had reason to want revenge on him, and Daisy is an innocent bystander that gets caught up in the situation. But as clues keep coming her way, she finds herself desperately wanting to completely clear everyone at the tea room from the crime. Daisy also faces some unexpected family situations that demand her attention, and that adds to her anxiety over the way the clues could be pointing as to the murderer. This is a clean cozy mystery that’s just the right length for the plot. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Murder with Cucumber Sandwiches is the third book in A Daisy's Tea Garden Mystery series. I recommend reading the series in order to avoid confusion (there are a number of characters and ongoing personal situations). Karen Rose Smith has a relaxed writing style which makes for an easy to read story. I like the various characters that include the kindly Aunt Iris, the kitchen manager Tessa Miller, Foster Cranshaw, Jazzi, Violet, Daisy’s Amish best friend Rachel and various townspeople. While Daisy is busy looking into Derek’s death, she is also dealing with personal drama at home and at work. Foster Cranshaw, an employee & her social media expert, is acting unlike himself and needing extra time off. He refuses to tell Daisy what is bothering him. Jazzi, Daisy’s teenage daughter, wants to have a close relationship with her biological mother, Portia. First, though, Portia needs to come clean to her husband about Jazzi. Sean, Daisy’s father, has concerns and needs some helpful advice. Jonas Croft, Daisy’s boyfriend, is not happy when Daisy cancels plans with him for Violet (Daisy’s eldest daughter). Daisy wonders if Jonas is the right man for her. Violet has some important news to share with Daisy and it is going to change all of their lives. There is a regular customer interested in dating Iris, but first he needs to work up the nerve to ask her out. Murder with Cucumbers Sandwiches is heavy personal drama and light on mystery. There are multiple suspects for Daisy to question in her attempt to identify Derek’s killer. Detective Rappaport wants to keep her nose out of the investigation (as he tells her several times). I do wish the author had put more work into the mystery and had made it the focus of the story. My favorite quote from Murder with Cucumber Sandwiches is “children give us hope that a new generation will treat the world more kindly than we did”. Murder with Cucumber Sandwiches is a light cozy mystery with an unpleasant food critic, a jittery employee, a tearful teen, a hopeful beau, delectable delights, two affectionate felines, tasty tea, and a worried mom with a penchant for sleuthing.
Daisy's Tea Garden is getting ready for a food reviewer who is known for having a hard review style. Daisy makes sure the entire staff knows what to do and is pleased with the experience while the reviewer is there. He seems to like the food enough that he takes home some cucumber sandwiches. He later has a seizure and dies. The police find more than cucumber and pimento spread in the sandwiches which puts the Tea Garden and all of the staff on the suspect list. There are certainly plenty of other suspect considering how aggressive his reviewing style was. Daisy feels she must start asking questions if she wants her business to survive this setback. Not only is Daisy busy with the murder she also has a lot of personal things to deal with in this story. I look forward to seeing how all of the choices made in this book change the characters as this series progresses.
Daisy Swanson is once again mixed up in murder in the quiet tourist town of Willow Creek, Pennsylvania, when highly critical food blogger Derek Schumaker is murdered and the poison was hidden in Daisy's cucumber sandwiches! Her two daughters keep her on her toes, and her romance with Jonas may not be going as smoothly as she'd thought, but Daisy puts on her deerstalker cap (figuratively, of course!) and starts to investigate on her own. Nice mystery with scrumptious recipes included. A+
Daisy and her Aunt have worked hard to make Daisy's Tea Garden a success. Currently they are preparing for a food critic to come and review their establishment. Everyone is concerned . They want Derek Schumacher to like their food. Unfortunately things don't go as planned. Derek is murdered right after his visit. Now everyone there is under suspicion. I like Daisy. She's a good mom and cares for the people around her. Her romance with Jonas Groft is filled with love and caring. I liked seeing them grow as a couple. Daisy has her hands full as she deals with family issues as well as business concerns. I admired how she uses common sense and compassion to deal with her problems. The dialogue reflects this. Karen Rose Smith has done an excellent job with this cozy. I was hooked from the first page. I liked the characters and cared about them. Daisy's two fur babies add charm to the story. The victim had many enemies so it wasn't easy for me to figure out who did it. I love visiting Willow Creek. It makes the perfect setting. I'm enjoying this series. An added bonus is the delicious recipes that are included.
Visiting Daisy’s Tea Garden is a sweet indulgence! The Daisy’s Tea Garden Mystery series is a favorite! It uses the perfect recipe of afternoon tea, mystery, family challenges, and sweet romance. Daisy, her family, and friends exemplify what we big city dwellers miss in the anonymity of crowds and traffic. After Daisy’s husband died, she packed up her daughters and returned to Willow Creek where her family and friends are. She and Aunt Iris, a tea aficionado, opened Daisy’s Tea Garden. Daisy’s best friend and kitchen manager, Tessa, lives in the upstairs apartment. Daisy’s has been successful with locals and tourists, often preparing and serving special afternoon tea service on request. Derek Schumacher is a food critic/ blogger, a tough one. Daisy and her staff watch his column regularly since he is coming to Daisy’s for his blog. They see the cruel things he says about other tea shops and are stunned when reading a threat in the comments of his blog. Derek visited Daisy’s when planned, taking several cucumber and pimento sandwiches to go. Daisy anxiously awaits seeing the blog that could change their customer base. Sadly, the results weren’t what they hoped. The morning after Schumacher’s visit, a detective arrived at Daisy’s. Schumacher died the previous evening from an as-yet unidentified substance. With his visit to the Tea Garden and the sandwiches in his refrigerator, the suspect is someone at Daisy’s. The tea shop begins to look like a ghost town when it comes out he died from something in the sandwiches. Crises are on the home front, also. Vi is making a special weekend trip home from college, making Daisy wonder if she and Foster, who works at the Tea Garden, broke up. Jazzi’s birth mother Portia is going to tell her husband about Jazzi. Since Jazzi found and met her, Portia wants to visit or talk with Jazzi with his blessing. Jazzi is on edge when she doesn’t hear back from Portia at all. Jonas, who Daisy recently began to date, struggles with Daisy’s daughters being her first priority when they need her. Daisy’s dad goes away on a week-long fishing trip alone, which is completely unlike him. I appreciated seeing how Daisy and her family handle each situation faced. There is far more on Daisy’s plate this time than their delightful scones and delicate tea sandwiches. Almost every family member is in crisis, along with the Tea Garden. Other than those Derek had given nasty reviews to, there must be other suspects! Daisy takes the opportunity to meet Derek’s mother Harriet and Aunt June when Cora Sue, whose aunt was a good friend of Derek’s mother, took her on a condolence call. Interestingly, the family had no hard feelings against Daisy as owner of the Tea Garden. When a freelance investigative journalist came into the Tea Garden, Daisy learns about more suspects. I love the realistic family times in the novel as much as the mystery. It brings a good touch of daily reality and reflects family love and loyalty without one distracting from the other. Plot twists enhance both, and it was a challenge to guess who the killer was - and I didn’t! The end is full of surprises on all fronts. I highly recommend novel and series to those who appreciate tea and tea shop treats, hard to solve murders, close families, and sweet romance. From a thankful heart: I received a copy of the e-ARC from the publisher through NetGalley and this is my honest review.
Murder with cucumber sandwich by Karen Rose Smith Book 3 of 3 in the Daisy's Tea Garden Mystery Series Daisy’s Tea Garden in Pennsylvania’s Amish country is known for its elegant finger foods—but now owner Daisy Swanson has to finger a killer . . . Restaurant critic Derek Schumaker, notorious for his bitter reviews, is about to visit Daisy’s Tea Garden, and Daisy and Aunt Iris are simmering with anxiety. A bad word from the culinary curmudgeon could really hurt their business, but Daisy tries to stay confident. After all, how can he resist her cucumber sandwiches with pimento spread—not to mention the cheesy cauliflower soup and strawberry walnut salad? Schumaker takes a to-go order when the afternoon tea service is done, which Daisy hopes is a good sign. But when he perishes from a seizure, it looks like his food was dosed with something deadly. Considering a threat that recently appeared on his blog—and whispers of scandal in his past—Daisy has quite an assortment of suspects to sift through . . . Includes delicious recipes! This is Daisy Swanson'story. Daisy is a single mom with two daughters Vi and Jazzi. her aunt Iris, who was her partner in the tea garden. Restaurant critic Derek Schumaker, notorious for his bitter reviews. Foster was one of Daisy’s assistants and her social media expert to boot. “I can’t believe how he trashed that tea room,” Foster Cranshaw said, studying Daisy Swanson’s office computer screen on a Monday morning in mid-March. Sitting at the desktop computer, Daisy worried her lower lip. Daisy’s Tea Garden hadn’t opened yet for daily business. She and her aunt Iris, who was her partner in the tea garden, had switched on the computer and googled Derek Schumacher. Soon, he’d be giving his professional opinion on Daisy’s Tea Garden’s offerings. Foster was one of Daisy’s assistants and her social media expert to boot. She’d become fond of him, in part, because he was dating her daughter Violet who was on spring break from college. She would be coming into the tea garden tomorrow to help out. When Foster had arrived for his morning shift, he’d brought up Derek Schumacher’s blog to check on the critic’s latest reviews. “Bradley Schumacher?” Daisy repeated. Where had she heard that name? “His brother is the principal of the high school,” Foster elaborated. “Everybody there thinks he’s terrific—a great role model.” Now Daisy remembered. She’d seen Bradley Schumacher’s name on the program when Vi had graduated. Her daughter Jazzi, who was a sophomore, had mentioned his name lately in regard to the talent show the school would be putting on. Jazzi had been texting with Vi about it for weeks, discussing what to sing, what to wear, and how to keep the jitters at bay. I am looking forward to reading more books by Karen Rose Smith. I highly recommend reading. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book." Murder with cucumber sandwich by Karen Rose Smith is a wonderful well written 5 star book. more books by Karen The Nanny Clause (Furever Yours, book 1) Montana Holiday Homecoming (Home on the Ranch) Daisy's Tea Garden Mystery 1. Murder with Lemon Tea Cakes 2. Murder with Cinnamon Scones 3. Murder with Cucumber Sandwiches 4. Murder with Cherry Tarts Mommy Club 1. Wanted: A Real Family 2. A Match Made by Baby 3. The Cowboy's Secret Baby
Restaurant critic visits Daisy's Tea Garden, he takes an order to go and is found dead. Daisy is one of many suspects in his death. Interesting faced paced mystery, lots of twists and turns. Complex and interesting characters. This is a wonderful series and I cannot wait for the next booK! lOVE the recipes too! Received an arc from NetGalley and I honestly love this book!
I always enjoy a visit to Daisy's Tea Garden. Daisy, her friends, family, and growing romance are enjoyable to watch unfold. Big changes are coming. Business is going well. The staff are all a bit on edge, as they know a reviewer will be writing up the Tea Garden soon. He has a reputation for being difficult but they have confidence in their atmosphere and products. Daisy's reputation continues to get positive response. The family of employees has a wonderful balance, even if one of them seems to be hiding something. Daisy's adopted daughter Jazzi has been building a relationship with her birth mother and adjusting to her big sister being away at college. Fifteen is a difficult age without added stresses. Daisy always puts her girls first, but is it time she takes a leap of faith and moves her own romantic life a step or two ahead? Populated with wonderful characters and life like realism, the troubles that arise could happen to you or me. Hopefully without murder. Old secrets have a tendency to come to light eventually.
Daisy and her Aunt are filled with anxiety over an upcoming visit from a well known food critic. Derek Schumaker is known for his scathing reviews, he doesn't seem to have a nice thing to say about any of the restaurants he visits. A horrible review from him could definitely hurt their business which has them both worried about what he'll think. They have done everything they can to prepare now it's all in Derek's hands. When the service is over and Derek asks to take an order of tea sandwiches to go Daisy looks at this as a good sign. When he later does from a seizure the authorities think the tea sandwiches might have had something to do with his untimely death. Daisy is worried the bad publicity will hurt the business and then what will her Aunt and her do? She soon learns that there are no end to the people who disliked Derek, and a few even work for her. Daisy knows that she must dig in and find the truth or lose everything she has worked so hard for. Along the way she is dealt life changing news that she has to work through. Will this news get in the way of her investigating or can she put it aside long enough to find a killer. Follow along and see how Daisy juggles everything and whether or not she is and to put the pieces together in the end. This is such a great series filled with wonderful characters and plot lines that will keep you guessing. I look forward to seeing where the author takes the characters next!!!
Daisy knows her pimento cheese and cucumber sandwiches didn't poison the rotten food critic Derek= but he did die and there was poison so who did it? A widow running a tea shop and caring for two daughters- Jazz and Violet- she's also got a good investigative sense, despite what Detective Rappaport thinks. This nicest part of this cozy series are the relationships between the characters, especially as Daisy helps Jazz with her birth mother. There's a love interest, some twists, some turns, and all in all it's a good read (even if you haven't read the earlier books!). Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. Oh- and there are recipes!!
I loved this series and I liked this book. There was a lot of character building and lot happened to characters. I liked to read about the developments in the character life but I was expecting a mystery and I got something that was women's fiction with some mystery elements. I appreciated that Daisy avoided to be saved at the last minute but I'd have preferred more mystery and less family drama. It's not a book I would recommend to anyone is new to this series but I surely recommend to anyone who read the other books in this series. I look forward to reading the next installment. Many thanks to Kensington Books and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.