Tempest in a TeapotI’m home! Or what I think of as home, Gracious Grove, New York, the prettiest town in the prettiest region, tucked in among the Finger Lakes! My family has homes all over the place – New York, the Hamptons, Miami – but my grandmother’s modest home in GiGi, as locals call the town, is more home to me than any of them.

So, how did I end up living with my grandmother? It all started with a failure. I had my lifelong dream come true, first. I was barely twenty-six when I got the funding and opened my own restaurant, In Fashion, in the garment district in Manhattan. The next three years were a whirlwind, but then it was over. After a great start we fell victim to competition, personnel problems, investor problems and… my inability to make my vision work.

Enough about that. I’ve moved to Gracious Grove to stay with my Nana and help her in her tearoom, Auntie Rose’s Victorian Tea House. When I was a kid I stayed there often, and my greatest thrill was helping Nana dust her impressive collection of teapots. She has hundreds, and they are lined up on bureaus, sideboards and shelves in the tearoom. My own interest in them started then, and I now have a wonderful collection of my own, mostly art deco and art nouveau.

So… my day used to start with a visit to the fish market and garden market for the freshest fish and produce, then a meeting with my cooking staff at In Fashion; it was hectic, no breathing space, and I fueled myself on cups of strong coffee. But now, back in the slower pace that is Auntie Rose’s I get up, wander downstairs and have coffee with my grandmother and godmother, who are drinking tea, of course. Laverne Hodge, my godmother, is also my grandmother’s only employee at the tearoom.

Then I start my day doing whatever needs doing and trying to take some of the work off my Nana’s shoulders. I’m working right now on planning a tearoom wedding shower. Nana decided to hand over control of Cissy Peterson’s event to me, but what do I know about showers? I’ve been so busy working since I finished school that I’ve never even gone to one. I think I’ll just do a little tea talk, and let Cissy’s matron of honor, Gretchen, plan the rest.

I do want Cissy to have fun. She was my friend whenever I came to stay in Gracious Grove, and happens to be the granddaughter of Nana’s neighbor and frenemy, Thelma Mae Earnshaw. Can that woman hold a grudge? Decades later and she still claims Nana stole her beau, aka my grandfather.

Anyway, there is no normal day right now, while this is all so new to me, but as long as I can help, I guess I’ll be all right. I’m hoping to reconnect with my boyfriend from my teen years, Jason Murphy, but I broke his heart and don’t know if he’s going to trust me, or if he’s even interested.

Oh, did I happen to mention that Nana’s next door frenemy Thelma also has a tearoom? She’s holding an engagement tea there for her granddaughter because her nose is bent out of shape over Cissy having her wedding shower at Nana’s. Cissy’s soon-to-be family-in-law seems to be even more dysfunctional than the usual, but hey… what could go wrong?

I hope I don’t regret saying that.

You can read more about Sophie in Tempest in a Teapot, the first book in the new “Teapot Collector” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. Book is available at retail and online booksellers.

Tempest in a Teapot

Sophie Taylor, failed restaurateur, chef and teapot collector, is at loose ends in Manhattan until she decides on the spur of the moment to return ‘home’ to Gracious Grove and her grandmother’s tearoom, Auntie Rose’s Victorian Tea House. Her grandmother, Rose Freemont, aka ‘Nana’, welcomes her with open arms and Sophie settles in to find her groove cooking again, even if it is ‘only’ tearoom fare. At the same time she reestablishes friendships with her childhood buddies Dana and Cissy, and her first love, Jason Murphy.

Life in Gracious Grove is not usually as spirited as it becomes when there is a murder at the tearoom next door, the establishment of cranky octogenarian Thelma Mae Earnshaw. Despite Thelma’s irascibility, Sophie feels compelled to help figure out who killed a local socialite with a baked goodie at Thelma’s tearoom, Belle Époque. Too soon the danger strikes close to home with an attack on her Nana, and Sophie races the clock to figure out what is going wrong in the pretty little town of Gracious Grove.

For more on Tempest in a Teapot and the Teapot Collector Mysteries, visit the series’ Facebook page.

Comment on this post by 6 p.m. EST on June 9, and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT. One winner will be chosen at random. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.

Meet the author
Amanda Cooper is the pseudonym of bestselling mystery author Victoria Hamilton. She writes the Vintage Kitchen DonnaSMysteries and the Merry Muffin Mysteries as Hamilton, in addition to the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper. Cooper’s long time love of mystery novels started at age twelve when her mom handed her an Agatha Christie book and said ‘Read!’. Thousands of novels later Cooper is still reading. And writing.

But besides those two favorite pastimes, Cooper collects teacups, teapots and other ephemera. Perfume is her secret addiction. She likes to cook, hates to clean, and enjoys time spent with friends chatting over wine or tea. She adores crafting, loathes boredom, and her guilty pleasure is ‘reality’ TV, which she knows is largely fake but enjoys anyway.

Cooper thinks that people are the most interesting study of all, and more than anything, she loves to hear from readers, not just about her books but about anything and everything.

Learn more about Amanda Cooper, her alter ego Victoria Hamilton, and all her mystery series at: www.victoriahamiltonmysteries.com

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