Cozy detective gets some ghostly assistance

Jan Jones

After the grim aspects of my last book, I was ready for something “fluffy,” so I selected Eryn Scott’s “Chai, Chai Again.” It is number four in her Pebble Cove Teahouse cozy mystery series, but did well as a stand-alone.

It is early winter in Pebble Cove, Oregon, and the small fishing community has just survived one of the biggest snowstorms in decades. Rosemary “Rosie” Woodmere is happy. She is finally on her own. Though she has a great relationship with the librarian mother, Rosie has never felt adequate.

After inheriting her grandmother’s rambling cliffside house, Rosie set up a small tea shop, ‘Tea by the Sea,” and it has become the place for fishermen and locals to gather and share gossip. This morning they are discussing the “fan fiction” writers workshop being held by the reclusive Alistair Grande.

Locals don’t welcome outsiders. Their comments make Rosie and her best friend, Asher, smile, though no one can see it. Asher is a ghost. After the car accident that killed her father and nearly killed her, Rosie could see and communicate with ghosts.

When she moved to Pebble Cove, her ghostly contacts helped solve a murder as well as a centuries-old case. That helped a ghost to “move on” and made Rosie very popular with the ghosts that still inhabit the area.

Ghosts can enter any property that they visited during life, so Archer can go almost anywhere as he grew up in Pebble Cove. Now he and Rosie are meticulously combing old records and journals hoping to find out who killed Archer and why.

That search gets put on hold when they get the news that Zack, one of the writers, has been found dead down by the old bridge. Rosie’s regulars all wonder if Zack was actually Alistair Grande.

Police Chief Clemenson knows about Rosie’s previous investigations and warns her to stay out of this case. Then Rosie’s mother pops in asking to store some boxes. She says she’s hoping to move to Pebble Cove. Rosie can’t freely converse with Asher when others are around, so she is doubly concerned when her mother asks to stay “a few days.”

Rosie hasn’t begun digging into Zack’s death when she learns that Poe Barker has been killed. Both men were poisoned. Suddenly, no one dares eat or drink anything made at Tea by the Sea or her friend Jolene’s bakery. Now Rosie must solve the crimes of go broke.

The only link between the dead men is that fact that they were middle-aged men with thinning brown hair going grey at the temples, so Rosie latches onto that. Naturally, she enlists the aid of her ghostly friends. Their tips help Rosie investigate but also force her to tell some improbable lies, and she’s very bad at lying.

Little by little she teases out the truth. The writer’s retreat was set up by someone who wanted Alistair Grande dead. Killer didn’t know Grande but did know that he was middle-aged with brown hair going grey at the temples. So, anyone with that description became a target.

With a little help from her mother, Rosie learns that Eric Knight had unsuccessfully sued Alistair Grande for stealing the plot of one of his books. She deduces that the newest fisherman, Eric, was actually Knight and they had planned the workshop hoping to find and kill Grande.

Between Rosie and the ghosts, Eric is prevented from killing the last potential victim, who turns out to be the real Alistair Grande. Though safe, the man will confess to stealing Knight’s stories before locals force him to leave town.

Finally, Rosie and Asher can return to digging into his life and untimely death. That just might be in book five or six or somewhere in the future.


Book: Chai, Chai Again (Pebble Cove Teahouse Mysteries, Book 4)

Author: Eryn Scott

Publisher: Eryn Scott

Year published: 2020

Number of pages: 232