"Earl Grey and Shallow Graves" By Victoria Tait: Review/Giveaway

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

Dotty Sayers found herself embroiled, if not suspected, in several murder mysteries connected to Akemans Antique Center and the antique trade, and the one person who offered her official support and friendship was Sergeant Keya Varma. Keya was a member of the Rural, Heritage, and Wildlife Unit charged with uncovering the identities of key players in a widespread antique scam, however, the unit’s complicity in the scheme was uncovered and the unit was disbanded. Although Keya was cleared of any and all wrong doing, one colleague turned King’s evidence to avoid prison. She was, then, appointed as a Cotswold’s Rural Engagement Officer for which she provides a friendly police presence as well as looking into thefts and general nuisances, but it is only a part-time position. That fit perfectly in Keya’s life because she has a secret desire to open her own café. Knock! Knock! Opportunity’s calling!

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Image Source Kanga Press
Earl Grey and Shallows Graves
Earns 5+/5 Waterwheels … Engaging Favorite!

Renovations at Akemans Antique Center are well underway and Keya is excited to see her dream coming true as the Waterwheel Café begins taking shape with plans for floor to ceiling windows, some riverside seating, and the signature waterwheel, that once powered the old mill, as a focal point. But, just like any major project, complexities of the job, differences of opinion, and unexpected delays cause headaches. Will the café be ready to open in June? It’s questionable with what lies buried under the waterwheel.

The mill always held such endearing childhood memories for Gilly Wimsey, co-owner of the antique center. She remembers her and her close friends, Katherine and Rachael, jumping off the bridge, swimming in the river, and enjoying lazy summer days. But, there seems to be something sad in her memory, too, and of course, it’ll be made worse when workers unearth human remains, wrapped in plastic, and tucked under the waterwheel. The skeleton appears to be a young female, not quite a teenager, and buried for near thirty years. Keya is a trained officer, but is she prepared for the deadly firestorm this discovery creates?

Spin-Off Gem! Victoria Tait has taken some fan-favorite characters from her Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery series as well as the setting of Akemans Antique Center and several delightful Cotswold’s villages and put them into Keya’s own series with a cold case, a hot case, and a case of twists and turns. Cold cases, my favorite element, are inherently difficult and complex to solve, and although the original “missing persons” file offers some interesting details, avenues to explore, and people to question, it’s the surprise obstacles, close-to-home secrets, another tragic death, and shocking revelations that Keya encounters that makes this a “couldn’t put down” favorite. From long ago teenage angst to plenty of family drama, from protecting one’s livelihood to setting things right, from finally burying the past to finally finding justice, this first book had it all and more! A major contender for “Top Read” of 2023!

Keya Varma is marvelous at center stage along with adding some new characters. Her landlords, additional village residents and officials, and her own family highlighting her Hindu background. She’s expected to be present at many village functions, her sister’s upcoming wedding, and monitor the work on the café, so her schedule is full, and Victoria Tait’s descriptions, well-developed mystery, engaging banter, and intriguing characters puts readers in the middle of it.

Waterwheel Cafe Mystery

Earl Grey and Shallow Graves (Released 5/19/23) “Can a community police officer read the tea leaves or will a deadly secret remain buried for ever?”

Darjeeling and A Deadly Disappearance (Releases 9/29/22; PreorderLink) “Can a community police officer find the frightened fiancée before the church bells ring?”

Vanilla Chai and A Vanishing Victim (Releases 2/9/23; PreorderLink) “When a young boy goes missing, can a community cop follow the clues and bring him home before it's too late?”

Be a Big Fan of Victoria Tait!

A military wife herself, and having been stationed all over the world, Victoria Tait brings a unique perspective to her work and has made me an avid fan. In her Kenya Kanga Mystery series, she uses her experiences living in Kenya to create an exciting cozy series with paraprofessional veterinarian “Mama Rose” Hardie. In her DottySayers Antique Mystery series, she takes readers to the Cotswolds where young widow Dotty discovers the deadly dark side of the antique trade.

Preorder Alert!
The seventh book in the Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery series, A Deadly Performance, is set to be released in July. Preorder it HEREon Amazon. Dotty, with her cat Earl Grey in tow, is excited about visiting her parents in Edinburgh, Scotland. Dotty and her father accept VIP tickets to a Fringe Festival play, but are shocked to hear a gunshot, then see a controversial politician’s dead body on stage. How is this connected to her father? and why is he unexpectedly arrested?

Join in & Receive a FREEBIE! The best place to find Victoria Tait and learn more about her and her books is to sign up for her newsletter on her website. If you join the mailing list, you can download the prequel from her Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery series “Hour is Come,” for FREE. It’ll give you insights into the original series and background for the spin off series Waterwheel Café Mystery.

Facebook—Victoria Tait Author

Website—Victoria Tait

 Enter to win either an ebook or print (winner's choice) copy of Earl Grey and Shallow Graves by Victoria Tait by making a comment below about cafés and tea: (1) a favorite café experience, (2) your go-to tea flavor, or (3) is your choice hot or iced tea? Or simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "earl grey,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 27, 2023. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  2. I like peach bellini iced tea

  3. Very interesting

  4. I've been a big fan of Victoria Tait for a long time.

  5. Captivating and intriguing. Love the tea aspect as it is my favorite drink of all. An author whose books are extremely well written and memorable. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. New to me author. Sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. My favorite tea is Constant Comment and I prefer iced tea.
    I prefer a print copy.

  7. Sounds like a great read. Love antique
    malls. thanks. txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  8. I enjoy this author, count me in! tWarner419@aol.com

  9. Thanks for the info Kathleen. I would love to win this giveaway! lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com

  10. Haven't read her work before, but they sound like fun ones. Thanks for the chance

  11. Haven't read her books before, but they sound like fun ones. Thanks for the chance

  12. My favorite tea is sweet iced tea. In the morning, I drink Bigelow Lemon Lift Hot tea.

  13. Would love to read this book. Sounds so good.

  14. It says the winner will be chosen on 5/27, and it's now 5/28--that'll teach me to read my email every day! I'm not really a tea person, but I like lemon zinger or orange spice when I'm in the mood--everything else just tastes like lightly flavored water! Count me in for the drawing if it's not too late, and I love the line "what lies buried under the waterwheel." jennifergarvinjensen (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!

  15. New author but I will check it out! Sounds good

  16. This series has been captivating from its very beginning and Dotty, aunt I,as well as Detective Varna and Gilly a co-worker of Dotty's have become so familiar Victoria Tait is a fabulous writer that has brought these characters and more to life and into homes our keeping us happily entertained .If you enjoy cozey mysterys and haven't found Victoria Tait until now come Goin the rest of her large group of readers and fans, find your way to this series and others for hours of intriguing and enjoyable entertainment. Kat

  17. I would enjoy reading Earl Grey and Shallow Graves" by Victoria Tait.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  18. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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