Helping out a friend with her destination wedding puts a tea shop owner in the crosshairs of a killer.
Don’t cry for Everly Swan. Getting dumped by her narcissistic cowboy lover and returning to her birthplace, Charm Island, a delightful slip of land on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, has given her a new lease on life. Having purchased the house she always adored, she uses part of it for Sun, Sand and Tea, a cafe and tea shop that uses old family recipes. Now she’s calling on all her skills to make her friend Judy’s wedding to wealthy tech specialist Craig Miller a very special affair. And it is indeed special, though not in the ways she envisions. A body Everly spots in the ocean turns out to be Craig, stabbed with the wedding-cake knife. Everly, who’d been both a suspect and a sleuth in a murder four months ago (Live and Let Chai, 2018), has developed a working relationship bordering on the romantic with widowed Detective Grady Hays, who nevertheless wants her to butt out of the case. Judy is certainly a suspect, but so is Craig’s business partner and many others because Craig’s specialty was combing through company records to turn up problems. In between rounds of detecting, Everly helps her beloved great aunts make a short movie about the death of honeybees and fends off the attentions of her newly returned cowboy, who wants her back. As she ignores Grady’s advice and continues to investigate, she becomes a target of escalating warnings from the killer, who shares Grady’s interest in seeing her bow out of this particular murder.
A sun-filled cozy-cum-romance best enjoyed by beach readers who won’t mind that its mystery is a cut below that of Baker’s debut.