Book Review: TEMPEST IN THE TEA LEAVES by Kari Lee Townsend

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Series: A Fortune Teller Mystery, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Released: August 2, 2011
Source: Review copy from the publisher

In the fortune telling business there are a lot of pretenders, but Sunshine Meadows is the real deal—and her predictions can be lethally accurate…

Sunny is a big city psychic who moves to the quaint town of Divinity, NY to open her fortune telling business in an ancient victorian house, inheriting the strange cat residing within. Sunny gives her first reading to the frazzled town librarian and discovers the woman is going to die. When the woman flees in terror, Sunny calls the police, only she’s too late. The ruggedly handsome, hard-nosed detective is a “non-believer.” He finds the librarian dead, and Sunny becomes his number one suspect, forcing her to prove her innocence before the real killer can put an end to the psychic’s future.

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Tempest in the Tea Leaves is a light and fun cozy mystery with a touch of the paranormal and a hint of romance. This is the first book in Kari Lee Townsend’s A Fortune Teller Mystery series. I enjoyed this book!

Fortune teller Sunshine Meadows (aka Sunny) leaves New York City for the small town of Divinity in upstate New York, because she’s tired of her high society parents not believing in her or her special gift. Determined to make a new start in Divinity before her trust fund money runs out, she buys an old Victorian house to set up shop, complete with its own mysterious white cat.

Unfortunately for Sunny, things go down hill quickly. Her first customer is the frantic town librarian who wants a reading. After reading her tea leaves, Sunny has a vision of the librarian’s murder. Sunny warns the police of her vision, but alas it is too late. The librarian is dead just as she predicted, and Sunny is the prime suspect.

Sunny insists she’s innocent – she’s new in town and has no motive! Detective Mitch Stone doesn’t believe in any of her psychic woo-woo, but he gives her the benefit of the doubt – for now. That will change if and when hard evidence turns up against her, so it’s up to Sunny to help the detective find the real killer.

Tempest in the Tea Leaves was a delightful read. Sunny was a likable character with the perfect job for helping to solve a murder, even though it’s her fortune telling that got her in trouble in the first place! The author crafted an entertaining mystery that kept me guessing up until the end. There were a few times I thought “that would never really happen with a murder suspect,” but I went with it anyway.

The engaging characters pulled me into the story. I had plenty of giggle out loud moments, especially the witty exchanges between Sunny and “grumpy pants” Detective Stone, and Sunny and her snooty parents. Even her mysterious cat Morty was a hoot. He had a personality all his own. I’m so curious about Morty and his (and Sunny’s) spooky Victorian house (aka Vicky). I’m looking forward to finding out more about them in future books.

Tempest in the Tea Leaves is a strong start to a new series. I would recommend it to fans of cozy mysteries who like the addition of a paranormal element.

Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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