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"A Dark and Stormy Murder" by Julia Buckley is a terrific launch to this new series, and the premise is one I think many of you would enjoy. Lena London is a longtime fan of Camilla Graham's suspense novels, and when Lena gets the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become the assistant to her idol, she moves to Blue Lake and into Graham House, where she will receive free room and board in addition to the amazing opportunity to help Camilla write her new book. The Gothic home and lakefront property are quite the storybook setting for Lena's new job, at least until she spots a dead body along the shore near the house. Lena finds herself caught up in the search for the man's killer, all while settling into her new job and making sure she meets the expectations of her famous boss.
Happily for those of us who like our cozies with a side order of tea, this one keeps the pot quite full, including this snippet from a scene with Lena and a local detective:
"Hey—is that a teakettle I hear? You go make some tea. I'm going to have a look around. I'll meet you at the back door."
I nodded and locked the front door after him, then went to the kitchen and fumbled with the box of tea bags, finding one and plunging it into my mug of boiling water. I indulged myself with sugar and cream and sat down, taking a few bracing sips."
Buckley's well-drawn characters, particularly the aging writer and her eager-to-please apprentice, are easy to bond with. Also, the murder investigation is plotted nicely and has an intriguing cast of characters weaving in and around Graham House and leading us in just enough different directions to keep things hopping. And in one new twist for a cozy, at least for me, one plot thread was left unresolved. I'm trusting it will be addressed in the second book in the series, and I'll be ready for it, cup of tea in hand.