Note: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
A sinister phone call in the middle of the night throws tearoom owner, Gemma Rose, straight into the heart of a new murder mystery–this time with her friend, Seth, arrested as the key suspect! The grisly killing in the cloisters of an old Oxford college points to a bitter feud within the University–but Gemma finds unexpected clues popping up in her tiny Cotswolds village.
With her exasperating mother and her mischievous little tabby cat, Muesli, driving her nutty as a fruitcake–and the nosy Old Biddies at her heels–Gemma must crack her toughest case yet if she is to save her friend from a life behind bars. (Summary via Goodreads.com)
I’ve reviewed the first two books in this series (you can see the reviews here and here), and each time I’ve marveled at the fun, fresh take on cozy mystery tropes. And the latest book does not disappoint. If you loved the unique setting of Oxford and the fun characters from the previous installments, Two Down, Bun to Go will provide!
The murder that takes place in this book hits close to home when Gemma’s college friend Seth is found standing over the body, murder weapon in hand. Frustrated at the police’s inability to see past their first (admittedly guilty-looking) suspect, Gemma and the Old Biddies take things into their own hands.
Although Gemma is a bit more proactive in her investigations this go round (a cozy mystery trope that’s often frustrating to me), she still comes off as a concerned friend rather than a nosy busybody. Gemma is still trying to decide between Devlin, the old college flame who’s constantly rubbing Gemma the wrong way, and Lincoln, the perfectly nice doctor who doesn’t make Gemma feel any sparks. Still, this “love triangle” is so much more mature than most love triangles I’ve read. Sure, there are misunderstandings and jealousy, but everyone acts like an adult about their love lives! It’s so refreshing. One caveat: I did find the mystery a bit more predictable in this book than in previous installments. Still, it was interesting enough to keep my attention, and the characters and setting more than made up for this slight weakness.
If you’re looking for a fun cozy mystery filled with romance that isn’t all-consuming, characters that are relatable even when they’re being difficult, and descriptions of life at an English tearoom (plus a recipe for Chelsea buns!), I definitely recommend this series.
Rating: Pretty Darn Good