Shadow of a Spout (A Teapot Collector Mystery)

3.73 avg rating
( 243 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780425265246: Shadow of a Spout (A Teapot Collector Mystery)

Avid teapot collector Rose Freemont takes a break from her Victorian tea house only to find a new mystery brewing elsewhere...
 
Leaving her home in Gracious Grove behind her, Rose is off to the annual convention of the International Teapot Collector’s Society. Her granddaughter Sophie is minding the tea house while she’s away. Rose is eager for tough cookie Zunia Pettigrew to appraise a prized antique teapot she believes may be a holy water vessel from China.
 
But when Zunia declares the pot a fake, Rose is really steamed. After Zunia’s found dead beside Rose’s dinged-in teapot, Sophie must rush to her grandmother’s aid and find the real killer—before Rose is steeped in any more trouble...

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Amanda Cooper is a pseudonym for Victoria Hamilton, the national bestselling author of the Vintage Kitchen and Merry Muffin Mystery series.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

A Cup of Tea

by Anonymous

When the world is all at odds

And the mind is all at sea

Then cease the useless tedium

And brew a cup of tea.

There is magic in its fragrance,

There is solace in its taste;

And then laden moments vanish

Somehow into space.

And the world becomes a lovely thing!

There’s beauty as you’ll see;

All because you briefly stopped

To brew a cup of tea.

Chapter 1

The dark-paneled meeting room of the Stone and Scone Inn was full on the first afternoon of the annual August convention of the New York State division of the ITCS, the International Teapot Collectors Society. Rose Freemont should have been listening to the speaker, but instead she examined her treasure. It was a homely thing, the metal teapot, battered and beaten, like a raggedy old man who has been buffeted about by the elements and fallen on hard times. But like that raggedy old man, it had a past, a purpose, and meaning. She turned it over and over in her hands, examining the patina, caressing the dent on its round belly and hugging it to her. There was something about the size of it and the intricacy of the decoration that hinted at a noble history.

That was what had inspired her to bring it to the convention in Butterhill, New York. She wanted to know more about it, and hoped to find some answers. In the past Rose had to attend without Laverne Hodge, her best friend and sole employee at her business, Auntie Rose’s Victorian Tea House, because someone had to keep the place open. They alternated years going to the convention and never got to enjoy it together, as such good friends ought. But this summer she and Laverne were attending with some of the other Silver Spouts, her teapot-collecting group in Gracious Grove, a small town nestled in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. She could thank her sweet granddaughter, Sophie Rose Freemont Taylor, trained restaurateur, for this time with her friends.

Sophie was still feeling the sting of the failure of her New York garment district restaurant In Fashion, but helping her grandmother at Auntie Rose’s was proving to be just the elixir she needed. It had put the spring back in her youthful step, and in return she had brought a zest and vigor to the tearoom that was dragging it, as Laverne said, kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century. She had added items to the menu that were bringing in a new crowd without alienating the old crowd, an ideal situation for the tearoom.

Though some of her nonfood ideas were radical, like redecorating the entire chintz-and-roses tearoom—Rose cringed at the thought of the expense and work and business days lost—she liked her granddaughter’s enthusiasm. When Sophie first came back to Gracious Grove, Rose worried that the girl was too beaten down by defeat to care. But she was rebounding, and it was a revelation that having Sophie around was putting the spring back into her own octogenarian step.

She sighed as the voice, a background to her wandering thoughts, droned on. The lack of effective air-conditioning meant the room was getting stuffy, and she was far too old to go without air-conditioning for long on a hot August day. She nudged Laverne, sitting next to her. “Do you think she’s ever going to stop talking?” Rose whispered. The “she” who had monopolized the meeting so far was Zunia Pettigrew, president of the New York State division of the ITCS.

“Never,” Laverne snapped. “Loves the sound of her own voice too much.”

“So in short,” Zunia finally said, straightening to her whole five-foot height and completely missing the humor inherent in her words, “welcome to our annual convention.”

“That woman wouldn’t know short if she ran over it,” Laverne groused.

Laverne’s father, ninety-something Malcolm Hodge, who sat on the other side of his seventy-year-old daughter, snorted. “If she wants to know what short is, she could look in the mirror,” he murmured, in his dry-as-dust tone.

“I would like to introduce at this time Walter Sommer, our distinguished International Teapot Collectors Society president!” Zunia finished, and led a round of applause that was brief and scattered, as Walter stood, shook the creases out of his trousers and approached the dais.

Josh Sinclair, wide-eyed and at sixteen the youngest member of the Silver Spouts and likely the youngest member the ITCS had ever had, smirked at the exchange among his elders, but then pressed his lips together and sobered immediately. Rose smiled at his earnest demeanor. It was his first convention and required him to take a day away from his summer college courses, but how could his mother say no when he was a straight-A student? He not only kept up his grades but was in an accelerated course at high school, was the recording secretary of the Silver Spouts, and held down a part-time job editing digital content for the Gracious Grove newspaper.

He was one of those rare souls who knew from the age of five what he would become: a historian with a specialty in object conservation. He had already begun writing on the topic for the Gracious Grove Gazette, with a piece on the history of the Sinclair crest he found on a teapot left to him by his great-grandmother. Sophie had a lot in common with him in having an early determination to pursue a particular line of work. She had always known she wanted to be a chef. She called Josh an old soul in a new body and they had become somewhat unlikely friends.

As always deliberate and measured in his pace, Walter cleared his throat, examined his notes, collected them together into a neat pile, harrumphed and cleared his throat again. He then tapped the microphone, which squealed in dismay. The mic was hardly necessary, since the conference room of the Stone and Scone was a mere thirty feet long and twenty wide, more than adequate for the twenty-five or so attendees at the conference, but Walter liked to make a production out of his yearly appearance.

Walter Sommer, tall, slim and slightly stooped, had unusual green eyes and a thatch of white hair that lay obediently in a wave across his forehead. He was the president and one of the founding members of the ITCS, which had grown to include twenty-five regional or state divisional chapters that were in turn made up of local groups. Walter and his wife, Nora, another founding member, lived in Schenectady, and the New York State convention was considered by some as the “home turf” for the entire society. The only collectors club from the state that wasn’t there was the New York City society, Big Apple Teapots, whose membership was too big to stay comfortably at the Stone and Scone. They boycotted the convention every year, preferring to hold their own chapter convention in New York City. Walter would also attend that event, since he was originally from the city himself, along with Zunia, state division president, and her husband.

He began to talk, welcoming each and every attendee and setting out the plans for the weekend. There would be three seminars, two the next day and one Sunday morning, on the history of tea, silver hallmarks as they pertained to silver teapots, and the development of tea vessels, form versus function. Saturday evening Walter and Nora would guide a group through a local art museum where art depicting teapots was on display. Sunday afternoon the convention would draw to a close in time for folks to get back to their homes before dark. Informal group gatherings over dinner in the inn were optional, with some folks preferring other area restaurants.

After introductory remarks he launched into the meat of his talk. He blathered about his year, traveling to the different chapter meetings of the ITCS, his and Nora’s trip to England to visit a teapot enthusiast with a vast collection, and his continuing passion for the hunt for new treasures. He launched into a detailed explanation of what the next year’s meetings would look like, how they would be organizing future conventions to coincide with special events in the upstate New York region.

The crowd was restless, but his wife, Nora, shot a warning glance at those who checked their cell phones, rustled around in their purses for a mint or chatted quietly. It was a silent look, but effective. A hush fell once more, a kind of drugged, weary stillness as Walter droned on and on and on.

*   *   *

Thelma Mae Earnshaw shifted in her seat and pulled her polyester dress away from her legs, where it stuck to her diabetic stockings and overheated skin. A late August heat wave and an under-air-conditioned conference room had her grumpiness ratcheting up to dramatic levels. Why in the good Lord’s name had she wanted to join the danged Silver Spouts so badly? Until three months ago she and Rose Freemont hadn’t spoken more than a few muttered words in sixty-some-odd years. Maybe she should have kept it that way, but now here she was a member of the teapot-collecting group. This little excursion took valuable time away from her tearoom, La Belle Époque, and forced her to leave the business in the inadequate hands of her sole employee, Gilda Bachman.

She looked around. There was Rose, beau stealer, one row ahead of her. Even though they’d made up, Thelma would always contend that she’d seen Harold Freemont, Rose’s late husband, first and had dibs. Sitting next to her was golden girl Laverne Hodge. Thelma wished sad-sack Gilda could be more like Laverne, who was steady, smart and a workaholic, even if she was on the shady side of seventy. Thelma’s granddaughter, Cissy Peterson, said she was too hard on Gilda, but Cissy was what the youngsters called clueless. Clueless; what did that mean? Without a mystery board game? She snickered and caught a dirty look from some frumpy-dumpy woman who put her finger to her lips like a librarian.

Her attention drifted to the others. Distracted once again, Thelma surveyed the group, wondering how she’d gotten mixed up with such an oddball assortment of folks. Who would think so many people in their small town of Gracious Grove would collect teapots? Her own collection wasn’t near as big as Rose’s, but she didn’t pay the earth for them, either, not like some folk with more money than brains—not naming names, of course, but if the flowery name fit . . . She tried to get her achy back more comfortable, and the chair creaked and squawked. Every eye in the place fixed on her, so she mumbled an apology as that Sommer fellow droned on. Back to teapots . . . Thelma figured if a spout was chipped or a lid was cracked, you just turned that side of the teapot to the wall.

She sighed. This place was hotter than a bordello on nickel night, like her daddy used to say just before her mama shushed him. Thelma wished she were up in her room lying down on the clean white coverlet with the window open. Most of the Silver Spouts club had decided to come and she was stuck rooming with that SuLinn Miller girl, a Gracious Grove newcomer and barely thirty, if she was a day. All she did was text on her phone and listen to music on her headphones. No conversation at all, so far, in the few hours they had been here. Except now she was sitting up bright and perky listening to that Walter Sommer fellow drone on about who knew what.

To distract herself from the boredom of listening to a fellow with the voice of a bumblebee, she examined the other Silver Spout members in attendance. There were the two old men—Laverne’s father, Malcolm Hodge, ninety-plus but still full of spit and vinegar, and Horace Brubaker, a vigorous ninety-seven. Rounding out the group was that young fellow, Josh Sinclair, who had a little single room down the hall. Since Thelma had just joined it was all new to her, but Rose and Laverne had explained that there were three other collecting groups besides the Silver Spouts in attendance at the New York State divisional convention: the Niagara Teapot Collectors Group, the Genesee Valley Tea Totalers and the Monroe Tea Belles. There should have been another but they were mysteriously absent, so far. Some were staying in the inn, while others were rooming with local collectors.

Thelma shifted in discomfort as Sommer groaned on. The room had rickety seating, dark paneling and no ventilation to speak of. If things didn’t get going soon at this danged convention she’d call Gilda and tell her to bring the car and pick her up. She regretted not coming in her own vehicle, but Cissy was beginning to make faint noises about Thelma not driving by herself anymore, so she had come with SuLinn. As if a couple of fender benders were such a big deal. Or a traffic ticket for going too slow—how stupid was that? Too slow was better than too fast. And who didn’t have a parking infraction or two? Or three. A ticket for parking facing the wrong way on a street? It just seemed silly to her that the driver had to park so they had to get out of the car into traffic. Why shouldn’t she park so she could get out of the car on the sidewalk, like a civilized person? What difference did it make on a quiet side street in Gracious Grove?

A couple of the folks were whispering to each other. Looked like a sweaty fellow in the front row and the New York division president were arguing about something. Thelma strained her neck to see, but was blocked by Rose and Laverne and the rest in front of her. Darn it, but they had stopped. That Zunia woman, the chapter president—Rose had pointed her out as they took their seats—had moved to sit away from the feller she’d been arguing with, but now she was shooting poisonous glances at a pretty red-haired girl who sat near the door, all alone and lonesome. She was Irish-looking, with that reddish hair and freckles all over. Poor kid sure seemed downhearted.

Thelma glanced ahead at Rose again, still clutching that dumb metal pot that she had bought at some dealer’s shop in Ithaca. You’d think it was solid gold or something, the way she mooned over it! Rose had told them all that there was going to be a “Stump the Expert” portion at the end of today’s talk; she was presenting her new prize to be looked over by Zunia Pettigrew. Rose said the Ithaca antiques dealer had told her it was likely Chinese, but Sophie, Rose’s granddaughter, had done some research and didn’t think it was.

Rose wanted to know if Zunia Pettigrew, who had a PhD in historical objects identification, could tell her about it. Thelma could have saved her the trouble and told her it was a hunk of junk, but everyone would get their unders in a knot if she said that. Folks just didn’t want to know the truth.

Walter Sommer wound up his lengthy speech by giving the floor back to Zunia Pettigrew, a sour-faced, dark little elf if ever Thelma had seen one. Zunia minced back up to the dais in her five-inch heels, thanked Walter effusively, and said, “And now we come to the most interesting part of the day! We will soon adjourn to the dining room for afternoon tea, but I see a few folks in the audience who have brought teapots for me to look at.”

A fellow in the front row stood and applauded, shouting, “Bravo for Zunia!”

“Who in tarnation is that fool?” Thelma muttered.

“Shh! That’s Pastor Frank Barlow; he’s ...

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Buy New View Book
List Price: US$ 7.99
US$ 7.64

Convert Currency

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.

Destination, Rates & Speeds

Add to Basket

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Amanda Cooper
Published by Penguin Putnam Inc, United States (2015)
ISBN 10: 0425265242 ISBN 13: 9780425265246
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reissue. Language: English . Brand New Book. Avid teapot collector Rose Freemont takes a break from her Victorian tea house only to find a new mystery brewing elsewhere. Leaving her home in Gracious Grove behind her, Rose is off to the annual convention of the International Teapot Collector s Society. Her granddaughter Sophie is minding the tea house while she s away. Rose is eager for tough cookie Zunia Pettigrew to appraise a prized antique teapot she believes may be a holy water vessel from China. But when Zunia declares the pot a fake, Rose is really steamed. After Zunia s found dead beside Rose s dinged-in teapot, Sophie must rush to her grandmother s aid and find the real killer--before Rose is steeped in any more trouble. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780425265246

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 7.64
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Amanda Cooper
Published by Penguin Putnam Inc, United States (2015)
ISBN 10: 0425265242 ISBN 13: 9780425265246
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reissue. Language: English . Brand New Book. Avid teapot collector Rose Freemont takes a break from her Victorian tea house only to find a new mystery brewing elsewhere. Leaving her home in Gracious Grove behind her, Rose is off to the annual convention of the International Teapot Collector s Society. Her granddaughter Sophie is minding the tea house while she s away. Rose is eager for tough cookie Zunia Pettigrew to appraise a prized antique teapot she believes may be a holy water vessel from China. But when Zunia declares the pot a fake, Rose is really steamed. After Zunia s found dead beside Rose s dinged-in teapot, Sophie must rush to her grandmother s aid and find the real killer--before Rose is steeped in any more trouble. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780425265246

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 7.74
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Cooper, Amanda
Published by Berkley Pub Group (2015)
ISBN 10: 0425265242 ISBN 13: 9780425265246
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Paperbackshop-US
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Berkley Pub Group, 2015. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # VP-9780425265246

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 3.76
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Amanda Cooper
Published by Penguin Putnam Inc, United States (2015)
ISBN 10: 0425265242 ISBN 13: 9780425265246
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository hard to find
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reissue. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Avid teapot collector Rose Freemont takes a break from her Victorian tea house only to find a new mystery brewing elsewhere. Leaving her home in Gracious Grove behind her, Rose is off to the annual convention of the International Teapot Collector s Society. Her granddaughter Sophie is minding the tea house while she s away. Rose is eager for tough cookie Zunia Pettigrew to appraise a prized antique teapot she believes may be a holy water vessel from China. But when Zunia declares the pot a fake, Rose is really steamed. After Zunia s found dead beside Rose s dinged-in teapot, Sophie must rush to her grandmother s aid and find the real killer--before Rose is steeped in any more trouble. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780425265246

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 7.92
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Amanda Cooper
Published by Penguin Random House
ISBN 10: 0425265242 ISBN 13: 9780425265246
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Random House. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 0425265242

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 4.65
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.50
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Cooper, Amanda
Published by Berkley Pub Group (2015)
ISBN 10: 0425265242 ISBN 13: 9780425265246
New Quantity Available: 8
Seller:
Pbshop
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Berkley Pub Group, 2015. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book.Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # IB-9780425265246

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 4.35
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Cooper, Amanda
Published by Berkley Books 4/7/2015 (2015)
ISBN 10: 0425265242 ISBN 13: 9780425265246
New Paperback or Softback Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
BargainBookStores
(Grand Rapids, MI, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Berkley Books 4/7/2015, 2015. Paperback or Softback. Book Condition: New. Shadow of a Spout. Book. Bookseller Inventory # BBS-9780425265246

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 9.60
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Cooper, Amanda
Published by Berkley (2015)
ISBN 10: 0425265242 ISBN 13: 9780425265246
New Mass Market Paperback Quantity Available: 3
Seller:
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Berkley, 2015. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # 0425265242

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 7.93
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 1.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Amanda Cooper
ISBN 10: 0425265242 ISBN 13: 9780425265246
New Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
ReadWhiz
(Portland, OR, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # ria9780425265246_ing

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 9.99
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Cooper, Amanda
Published by Berkley
ISBN 10: 0425265242 ISBN 13: 9780425265246
New MASS MARKET PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Bookhouse COM LLC
(Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Berkley. MASS MARKET PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0425265242. Bookseller Inventory # Z0425265242ZN

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 10.52
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book