Please join me today in welcoming author Victoria Tait to the blog to chat about Earl Grey and Shallow Graves!
EARL GREY AND SHALLOW GRAVES by Victoria Tai
SERIES: A Waterwheel Cafe Mystery #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Kanga Press
RELEASE DATE: May 19, 2023
A 30-year-old skeleton. A missing girl. Can a community police officer read the tea leaves or will a deadly secret remain buried for ever?
Sergeant Keya Varma is delighted with her new part-time role as the Cotswolds’ Rural Engagement Officer. She’s also fulfilling her dream of opening a small neighbourhood café. But she gets herself into a stew with renovation works when builders unearth a young girl’s remains.
While Keya and her police colleagues gain ground reviewing the unsolved disappearance of a local girl, her brief taste of success turns to dust when a friend is found dead at her tea shop. Confusion over identities threatens to bury the investigation and our junior police officer is worried that justice won’t be served.
Can Keya dig into the mystery and uncover the real culprit?
Earl Grey and Shallow Graves is the first book in The Waterwheel Café series. If you’ve enjoyed the Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery series, then you’ll love meeting some of your favourite characters and making new friends in Victoria Tait’s intriguing British cozy mystery.
Buy Earl Grey and Shallow Graves and unearth a killer today!
Earl Grey Tea
by Victoria Tait, author of Earl Grey and Shallow Graves
The Earl Grey in my title, Earl Grey and Shallow Graves, refers to the flowery black tea favoured by many English tea drinkers, my mother included.
Earl Grey has a floral, citrus aroma because it is flavoured with oil from the rind of the bergamot orange. This fruit is thought to be a cultivated hybrid blending the bitter Seville orange of the Mediterranean, with the sweet lime/lemon of Southeast Asia. I can taste the bitter note, which is why I prefer sweeter teas like Darjeeling.
As with many teas, aficionados believe it should be drunk without milk, which dulls its flavour, and if anything has to be added, it should be a slice of lemon, to maintain its crisp, sharp flavour.
The origin of Earl Grey, as with all teas, lies with the Chinese. They’ve been flavouring water with leaves for over 4,000 years. Over time, Chinese tea masters have experimented with different flavours, from jasmine flowers to rosebuds to sweet lychee fruits.
Earl Grey is named after Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, who was the British Prime Minister between 1830 and 1834. Although several brands lay claim to marketing the first Earl Grey tea, exactly how the earl was involved in its conception is debated.
The official version is that he received some as a diplomatic present and asked British tea merchants to recreate it.
Another, more romantic story, is that a Chinese mandarin tea master blended the tea as a gift and used bergamot as flavouring to offset the taste of lime in the well water at the Earl’s estate, Howick Hall, in the Northeast of England.
It is said that Lady Grey loved the tea so much she used it exclusively when entertaining. London society followed her example, so she asked London tea merchants to recreate it.
During his tenure as Prime Minister, Lord Grey abolished slavery and reformed child labour laws, but what he is best remembered for is introducing Earl Grey tea to Great Britain.
There are variations on Earl Grey, perhaps the best known being Lady Grey, with added lemon and Seville orange peel. It first went on sale in Norway, in 1994, two years before it was available in the UK.
French Earl Grey contains rose petals and Russian Earl Grey has lemongrass added.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II enjoyed a cup of Earl Grey. As did the fictional character, Captain Jean Luc Picard, who called for “Earl Grey, hot,” onboard the starship Enterprise. In real life, actor Patrick Stewart is a proud Yorkshireman (my home county) and he advertises Yorkshire tea!
But there can be no doubt the popularity of Earl Grey tea. In 2020 the world market of loose leaf Earl Grey tea reached 6.5 million tonnes, and as it is seen as a healthy alternative to many drinks, this figure is likely to increase. So go brew yourself a cup of Earl Grey.
I hope you enjoyed Keya’s first book. Why not join her and her friends as they solve more mysteries in my Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery series, also based in the Cotswolds. Visit https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09TMJFL7L
Victoria Tait was born and raised in Yorkshire, UK, and never expected to travel the world. She’s drawn on her experiences following her military husband to write cozy murder mystery books with vivid and evocative settings. Her determined female sleuths are joined by colourful but realistic teams of helpers, and you’ll experience surprises, humour and sometimes, a tug on your heart strings.
Do you like tea, cakes and books? Then why not join the TeaCozy Club for regular news and updates, and receive your free book gift at VictoriaTait.com
Who doesn’t like tea, cake, and a slice of murder?
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What about you? What makes you want to read Earl Grey and Shallow Graves by Victoria Tait? Do you drink tea? If so, what’s your fave blend?