Plum Tea Crazy
A Tea Shop Mystery #19
Berkley Prime Crime, March 2018
From the publisher—
While viewing the harbor’s Gaslights and Galleons Parade from the widow’s walk of Timothy Neville’s Charleston mansion, local banker Carson Lanier seemingly tumbles over a narrow railing, then plunges three stories to his death. But a tragic accident becomes something much more sinister when it’s discovered that the victim was first shot with a bolt from a crossbow.
At the request of the mansion owner, Theodosia investigates the tragedy and is soon neck deep in suspects. An almost ex-wife, a coworker, a real estate partner–all had motives for killing the luckless banker, but one resorted to murder to settle accounts.
The prolific Laura Childs is back with another of her cozies I find so appealing, this one in the Tea Shop series. I think this is my favorite of her series…or at least I think so until a Scrapbooking or Cackleberry book comes out and then all bets are off. What I *do* know, with absolute certainty, is that I always welcome a new Laura Childs book.
The Indigo Tea Shop has to be one of the best settings for any reader who loves tea. Can’t you just imagine walking in and being surrounded by all those delightful tea aromas and colors not to mention all the scrumptious food that goes with a proper tea? Unfortunately, that peaceful ambience doesn’t extend to the Gaslights and Galleons Parade when Theodosia and her partner, Drayton, watch a man fall to his death from the very mansion where they’re viewing the festivities. When a small crowd reaches him, it’s Theodosia who discovers that Carson Lanier was shot, apparently with an arrow and, impetuously, Theodosia and Drayton race next door where she thought she saw a figure watching. Chasing the figure, Theodosia runs right into Detective Burt Tidwell.
Naturally, all is in good hands with the detective and life goes on in the tea shop, very briefly, until Timothy Neville, owner of the mansion where the dead man met his demise, comes by with a list of his guests and asks Theodosia to do her own investigating because, as he puts it, “she brings a different perspective to things”. Equally naturally, Theodosia and Drayton can’t resist, despite Tidwell’s somewhat disgusted reaction…but he recognizes that Theodosia has a certain affinity with one of his best detectives, Pete Riley, so Tidwell’s rejection of her involvement has an effect for no more than a few minutes.
Theodosia and Drayton are soon in the thick of things (as well as keeping up with all the neighborhood shopkeepers) and in hot pursuit of a likely suspect. Jud Harker. Will the killer turn out to be Jud or someone else with an entirely different motive?
As always, I was charmed by this entry in the Tea Shop series and had great fun following the clues along with these so-called amateur sleuths plus my mouth is watering over all the recipes. Book #20, Broken Bone China, can’t come fast enough 😉
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, April 2018.