Monday, October 20, 2008

Review: Tea is for Terror

When perusing the fiction shelves of my local bookstore, I have two favorite kinds of finds - and I couldn't say which I enjoy more. One is discovering a new author who seems to have been born with a silver pen in her hand. Amy Tan, Rosemary Poole-Carter, Sharyn McCrumb and Anne Tyler come to mind. When I read first books by such talented storytellers, I always wonder - where in the world will she go from here? I'm always pleasantly surprised.

The other thrill is finding a new author with much imagination and promise - one I can look forward to watching for growth. I have a long list here (including most of the first novel Edgar winners), but will confine myself to two - Marcia Muller and Austin Camacho. With Tea is for Terror (A Claire Gulliver Mystery) by Gayle Wigglesworth, I believe I have found antoher. As usual, I'm among the last to make the discovery. Tea is for Terror was published in 2004. Ms. Wigglesworth has since published Cruisin' For a Bruisin', Washington Weirdos (A Claire Gulliver Mystery), and Intrigue in Italics (A Claire Gulliver Mystery), so I'll be heading back to the store.

Everything about this book was a treat - beginning with the packaging. The softcover book is wrapped in a lovely book jacket. If you remove the jacket, you'll find the front cover decorated by a delicate drawing of a tea pot and cup. Open the cover to discover a travel brochure for the ill-fated trip - the first trip abroad for Claire Gulliver.

Claire Gulliver, our protagonist, once lived a quiet life in San Francisco where she thoroghly enjoyed endulging in a good mystery novel. A real life event changed that and now she gets her reading pleasure from travel books. In fact, Claire, in her forties, has moved to Bayside and opened her own business - Gulliver's Travel Book Shop. Well meaning friends talk Claire into doing more than reading about travel. They convince her to co-sponsor a tour of England with travel book author Lucy Springer. Lucy has been to England many times and will lead the tour. Claire's duties will take place in the background. What could go wrong with that plan?

The answer, of course, is what makes the book a mystery. Before the tour even begins, Lucy Springer suffers a freak accident that leaves her unable to travel. This puts Claire in the position of having to cancel the tour at the last minute or step into the leader role. The group heads to England and continues to lose members to unusual incidents, leading Claire to believe that something more sinister than accidents might be afoot. Can she solve the puzzel and get her tour members safely home?

It is difficult to write an entertaining cozy for today's readers who are so used to more graphic tales. But Ms. Wigglesworth pulls if off nicely in Tea is for Terror.

Have you read any good cozies lately?


Helen Ginger said...

This sound quite interesting. And I bet the description of the tour stops is worth the price of the book alone.

Thanks for the recommendation.

Anonymous said...


You're welcome. I was quite entertained by your review this morning at


gayle wigglesworth said...

Char, It was a surprise and a pleasure to read your review of my book. Thank you for finding it, liking it and writing your review. Claire's next adventure, Malice in Mexico, will be published next month. I hope you will like it as well as the others.

Gayle Wigglesworth

Austin S. Camacho said...

Hi, Charlotte,

I was pleased and flattered to find myself mentioned along with such pleasant company. Knowing your tastes I now have new books to search for.

And of course, I hope your readers will seek out my work too. ;-)

Vivian Zabel said...

I'm not overly found of mysteries/suspense/thrillers that are too graphic. That's why I write novels that one reviewer says would be good for one's young daughter, granddaughter, or niece. *laugh*

I'll try to find Tea is for Terror soon.


Mark said...

Thank you for the review. I knew Gayle is a talented author. that'swhy we invited her to give a workshop here in College Station, Texas on Saturday. It's great to have independent confirmation that we made the right choice.

Maryann Miller said...

Char, I enjoyed this post and the reviews. I, too, love Anne Tyler. I think I have read all her books.

Morgan Mandel said...

Hi Char,
Great referrals for authors to check out.
Good job on your blog.

Morgan Mandel

Charlotte Phillips, Co-Author of The Eva Baum Detective Series said...


What a pleasant surprise to see you here! I'm looking forward to the next book.


Charlotte Phillips, Co-Author of The Eva Baum Detective Series said...


When is the next adventure coming out?


Charlotte Phillips, Co-Author of The Eva Baum Detective Series said...


When is the next adventure coming out?


Charlotte Phillips, Co-Author of The Eva Baum Detective Series said...

Mark - I wish you much success on Saturday. I'm sorry I'll miss it.


Charlotte Phillips, Co-Author of The Eva Baum Detective Series said...


I know "I" have all her books. They came with my husband, Mark. I read The Accidental Tourist a long time ago and hated it. I vowed never to pick up another Anne Tyer book. It took quite a bit of badgering from Mark (along the lines of "You're missing out on one of the greatest contemporary writers...") to get me to try again. Once I did, I started at the beginning and read right through. I even re-read Tourist. Mark was right (it happens) I was just too young the first time.


Charlotte Phillips, Co-Author of The Eva Baum Detective Series said...

Thanks Morgan!