Gemma Rose has had it with her high paying executive job in Australia and is flying back home to Meadowford, England, near Oxford, to start her new life. She has big plans with her friend, Cassie.
It takes 20 hours of flight time to fly across the world and Gemma finds herself seated next to Jenn Murray. Jenn is terrified all during the flight and to calm her nerves she drinks a lot. But even then Gemma and Jenn have a nice conversation and get to know each other.
When the plane finally lands in England, Jenn hurries off the plane. Gemma takes her time and is one of the last people to exit. It’s because of this that she spots Jenn’s scarf on the seat. Knowing where Jenn is staying she grabs the scarf planning to call Jenn at her hotel and return it to her.
Gemma is excited about her plans to open a tearoom in Oxford. Her best friend, Cassie will be working there. Cassie has found the perfect place for the tearoom but there are two little problems. The first is that Gemma has to get the bank to approve the loan for the tearoom. The last time she spoke with them she was told that the loan was practically hers and not to worry. The other problem is that a group of Chinese men want to buy the same place to open a shop and they’re offering the current owner more money than Jenn has offered. The owners have agreed to sell to Gemma for the lower amount as long as she can get the money to them as soon as possible. Since Gemma is confident of getting the loan she needs she isn’t really worried.
After she sees the spot for her new tearoom, Gemma calls Jenn to return her scarf. The two women visit at the lounge at Cotswolds Manor House where Jenn is staying. Once again, Jenn starts to drink quite a bit and Gemma has to take her friend back up to her room. When they get up there Jenn realizes that she left her pocketbook in the lounge so Gemma goes back down there to find it. It took forever to get to the lounge and back up to Jenn’s room because the elevator is as slow as molasses. Maybe even slower than molasses but she eventually gets back upstairs and returns the bag to Jenn who is in the bathroom brushing her teeth.
The next morning, Gemma gets a message from the police asking her to come to the station. It’s there that she learns that Jenn was found murdered in her hotel room and Gemma was the last person who saw her. Not only that, but rumor somehow got out that Gemma and Jenn were lovers and they had an argument. Gemma is shocked to hear this and told the police that she and Jenn had just met on the air flight over from Australia and only had the beginnings of a friendship let alone an intimate one. Police Inspector Robert Glenn does not believe her and tells her that she is the prime murder suspect.
This can’t be happening! When word came out that Gemma is now suspected of killing a woman the bank refuses her loan. Now what is she supposed to do? She has to clear her name and make sure the bank loans her the money for the tearoom. So Gemma, with the help of the Old Biddies, a group of older women her mother is friends with, start to investigate the murder on their own.
“All-Butter Short Dead” by H.Y. Hanna is one terrific cozy. It’s the prequel to Ms. Hanna’s Oxford Tearoom Mysteries which I now have to get my hands on to read.
Gemma and her friend Cassie are nice characters and the story line is wonderful. Oh, I thought I knew who the murderer was as soon as Gemma started investigating. I’m an old hand in cozy mysteries and I can see things coming from a mile away. I was wrong! I’m embarrassed to say that I was thrown completely off. But that’s what made it a great cozy mystery.
Give this prequel a try but prepared to want to read all the books in the series.