Welcome to another entry in my irregular feature: US cozy review.
Though it's not obvious from the cover this is set in a very cold and snowy January...
Tempest in the Tea Leaves by Kari Lee Townsend, August 2011, Berkley Prime Crime ISBN: 0425242757
Tempest in the Tea Leaves introduces Sunny Meadows who hails from a wealthy but domineering family who don't believe in her psychic abilities. She buys a reputedly haunted house in Divinity, New York State where she sets up her fortune-telling business. Her first client, however, the head librarian is much troubled and when Sunny reads her tea leaves she foresees the librarian's death.
Sunny gives the librarian some of her calming home-grown tea leaves to take away but after the librarian's departure she begins to worry. About an hour later she calls the police and she meets the ruggedly handsome Detective Mitch Stone for the first time.
When the librarian is found poisoned by Sunny's tea leaves, Sunny becomes the number one suspect. In a remarkable twist though, the Mayor, who wants a speedy conclusion to the case, insists that Sunny partners Mitch in investigating the case to clear her name.
Much banter and awkward scrapes ensue as each tries to outdo the other whilst denying their obvious attraction to each other.
Sunny's house comes with an inhabitant – an eerie white cat who can be seen and touched but who doesn't eat or drink and appears and disappears at will. And proves himself very useful at times.
I enjoyed this book. I liked the sparky relationship between the two leads though some of it is a bit juvenile and some of Sunny's actions were downright dangerous. I did, though, guess correctly whodunnit nearer the end.
My only real nit-pick is that the cause of death as determined by the coroner is different to that given by the murderer and if the murderer is correct then Sunny would never have been much of a suspect in the first place.
Overall though, this was a light read in a new series to which I looked forward to returning. I have books two and three already, and there is a fourth plus a short story available on ebook.
Karen Meek, January 2018.