Description: Tucked away in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York is the charming town of Gracious Grove, where time moves slowly, gossip spreads quickly, and the scones are to die for... When her fashionable Manhattan restaurant goes under, Sophie Taylor retreats to her grandmothers cozy shop, Auntie Roses Victorian Teahouse, where serenity is steeped to perfection in one of her many antique teapots. The last thing Sophie expects is a bustling calendar of teahouse events, like her old friend Cissy Petersons upcoming bridal shower. Not everyone is pleased with the bride-to-bes choice of venue-like Cissys grandmother, who owns a competing establishment, La Belle Epoque, and has held a long-simmering grudge against Rose for stealing her beau sixty years ago. Tensions reach a boiling point when Cissys fiances mother dies while sampling scones at La Belle Epoque. Now, to help her friend, Sophie will have to bag a killer before more of the guest list becomes a hit list...
My Thoughts: This is the first book in the Teapot Collector series from Amanda Cooper. Now with a cozy mystery series the first book can be a little on the meh side. There's a lot of setup - who the main character is, who the side characters are, and why on earth an amateur sleuth is getting involved in a murder mystery in the first place. This sometimes can make for slow or uneven reading. I was really thrilled to find that this was not the case here.
Right away I was drawn in to this little town in New York. I loved Sophie. Her defensiveness when someone brought up her failed restaurant felt realistic and not overdone as did her struggles to figure out what she was going to do next. The town of Gracious Grove is full of interesting characters who I'm looking forward to seeing more from - especially Dana - Sophie's former nemesis - and Jason - Sophie's former love interest. While there is some over the top nosiness on Sophie's part it worked well with the story. I really enjoyed the mystery and was surprised at the reveal which doesn't happen very often. My only complaint was that Thelma, the owner of the rival tea shop, is hard to take. She's supposed to be irascible and cranky but she comes off as completely unbalanced.
This was a delightful mystery with characters I'm really looking forward to spending more time with in the future. But first I think I'll whip up these Cranberry Pecan Yogurt Scones that were in this book! Rating: Very Good
Cranberry Pecan Yogurt Scones
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 tblspns or 1/3 cup cold butter
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Preheat oven to 425
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add in butter, bit by bit mixing as you go. Rub it in with your fingers, if you like, but leave small pebbles of the cold butter in the mixture.
Stir in the cranberries and the pecans, and then the yogurt. Mix gently but thoroughly. It may take a bit to get all the dry ingredients worked into the yogurt.
Form dough into a ball. Place on a greased or parchment paper covered baking sheet and pat into a circle about 1/2 inch thick.
Sprinkle with suger - you could use turbinado or another decorative sugar for this, if you want, but plain sugar works just fine.
Cut into eight pie shaped segments but don't seperate the wedges.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until edges are slightly crips and the top is lightly browned. It may needs as little as 18 minutes or as much as 22, don't over or underbake the scones.
My Results: I cut in the butter with a pastry blender instead of rubbing with my fingers. The flavor combination is amazing. The pecans add a richness and they're nicely butter-y without being too rich. However, I'm not sure the yogurt added much and made them a little dry for my liking. Next time (and there will be a next time because these were so good!) I think I'll just used regular cream.
I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads