Sometimes I come across a writer who is such a compelling storyteller that I just have to try her other series. When I was looking for a series to try as part of my Most Popular and Recommended Cozy Mystery Series posts, I found one of Julia Buckley’s series, the Hungarian Tea House Mysteries, and am I glad I did. And, it turns out that this is the second series of hers that is part of this series of posts. So, that’s a long-winded introduction just to say that Julia Buckley’s Death in a Budapest Butterfly is the book I’m highlighting this month.
Death in a Budapest Butterfly is written in the first person by Hana Keller who is the soon to be twenty seven year old who runs Maggies’ Tea House, along with her mother and grandmother. As the name of the series suggests, the tea house is very Hungarian. Both Hana’s mother and grandmother were immigrants, and the tea house sits in a fictional very Hungarian neighborhood, and the story begins with the three proprietors of the tea house preparing for a meeting of the almost wholly Hungarian women’s group, the Magyars.
Suffice it to say that before long there is a mysterious death in the tea house which is soon determined to be a murder. Hana becomes a sort of liaison with the handsome detective, helping him understand the ins and outs of this immigrant society. She also gathers evidence on her own.
In the course of the story, we learn quite a lot about the Hungarian immigrant society. The author, Julia Buckley, comes by this information quite naturally, as her Author’s Note, at the end of the book describes. Her paternal grandparents were both born in what was then part of Hungary, at the beginning of the twentieth century.
You know, it is not unusual nowadays for a Cozy Mystery to get all of the elements right: an attractive (and often) young sleuth, a theme that creates a small close-knit community that transports us into a world with which we are not familiar, a handsome detective providing at least the possibility of a bit of romance, a bunch of unusual recipes, and even a couple of cute cats. Unfortunately, however, it is more uncommon than I would like for all of these elements to be woven together into a compelling story that creates a real page-turning read that is so hard to put down. Death in a Budapest Butterfly is one of the good ones for sure.
So, of course, I give Death in a Budapest Butterfly a wholehearted and enthusiastic recommendation.
Julia Buckley also writes, as Veronica Bond, the Dinner and a Murder Mystery series.
If you’d like to see other entries about some of the most recommended Cozy Mystery authors, be sure to check out the Most Popular and Recommended Cozy Mystery Series page on my site.