Sergeant Keya Varma is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Earl Grey and Shallow Graves, the first novel in the Waterwheel Cafe mystery series.
Welcome, Keya. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about the novel that you live inside. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
Hiya, I’m Keya, or Sergeant Varma if you want my police title. I’ve just taken the job as the Cotswold’s Rural Engagement Officer. Despite covering 1,000 square kilometres, it’s only a part-time role, but that suits me.
I’m busy setting up my Waterwheel Café and Deli at Akemans, a local antiques centre.
But unfortunately, while the waterwheel was being removed for renovation, a skeleton was found underneath it. This is the story of discovering whose body it was, and, of course, unearthing one mystery invariably leads to other, modern-day ones.
Earl Grey and Shallow Graves is the first book in my own series, A Waterwheel Café Mystery, which I’m very proud of. And why is a flavour of tea in the title? Because I’m trying out different ones to serve in my café. The first three books in the series all have names of teas in the title.
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
The premise for this book began with the discovery of the skeleton. After that, my writer and I unearth, excuse the pun, the mystery and ultimately the culprit as we work together through the investigation.
How did you evolve as the main character?
I became Dotty’s best friend in her series, the Dotty Sayers Antique Mysteries. Dotty’s taking a well-earned break in France, at the moment, but while she’s away, the criminals still prey. Someone has to solve crimes in the Cotswolds, but I am helped Ryan, PC Jenkins, and our grumpy boss, Inspector Evans.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
I’m grateful for being given the leading role, but I’m also happy to share the story with my friends and colleagues. As well as Ryan, there is Aunt Beanie, an eccentric but huge-hearted older lady, her niece Gilly Wimsey, who runs the antiques centre, and plenty of other characters. We are a team and I appreciate all their help.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
I love the Cotswolds, in the southwest of the middle part of England. They’re beautiful, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the people who call them home are quirky and interesting.
I work out of the market town of Cirencester, whose history goes back beyond the Romans, when it was the second most important city in the whole country. It was also very important, and prosperous, in the Middle Ages when it traded wool and was governed by the Abbot from its own monastery.
Akemans, where I’m setting up the café, trades out of a converted mill building beside the River Coln. The mill is built of honey-coloured stone and has its own rich history.
Altogether, the Cotswolds are a wonderful place to live and work.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
You may think that as a police officer I’m skilled at murder investigations, but this isn’t true. I’ve learned a lot from Dotty, including considering cases from different angles, and looking into the people involved, and their individual histories and motives.
Cirencester is still considered a rural police station and our team is small and lacks some of the technology of larger forces, even though Ryan does his best on the technical side. So, this isn’t one of those technical police procedural type books. We still solve our cases the old-fashioned way through interviewing suspects and witnesses, and connecting the dots. I do hope you enjoy Earl Grey and Shallow Graves.
Thank you for answering my questions, Keya, and good luck to you and your author, Victoria Tait, with Earl Grey and Shallow Graves, the first book in the Waterside Cafe mystery series.
Readers can learn more about Keya and her author, Victoria Tait by visiting the author’s website and her Goodreads, Bookbub, Instagram and Pinterest pages.
The novel is available online at Amazon
About Victoria Tait: Victoria was born and raised in Yorkshire, UK, and never expected to travel the world. She has 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 heartstrings.
She hopes you enjoyed Keya’s first book. Readers can join her and her friends as they solve more mysteries in Victoria’s Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery series, also based in the Cotswolds. Visit https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09TMJFL7L
Readers can also join her TeaCozy Club for regular news and updates, and receive your free book gift at VictoriaTait.com