LAVENDER BLUE MURDER
SERIES: A Tea Shop Mystery #21
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Berkley Books
RELEASE DATE: March 3, 2020
Tea-Maven Theodosia Browning brews up trouble in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.
Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier Drayton Conneley are guests at a bird hunt styled in the precise manner of an English shooting party. Which means elevenses (sloe gin fizzes), gun loaders, the drawing of pegs, fine looking bird dogs, and shooting costumes of tweed, herringbone, and suede.
But as gunshots explode like a riff of Black Cat firecrackers, another shot sounds too close for comfort to Theodosia and Drayton. Intrigued but worried, Theodosia wanders into the neighbor’s lavender field where she discovers their host, Reginald Doyle, bleeding to death.
His wife, Meredith, is beside herself with grief and begs Theodosia and Drayton to stay the night. But Theodosia awakens at 2:00A.M. to find smoke in her room and the house on fire. As the fire department screams in and the investigating sheriff returns, Meredith again pleads with Theodosia for help.
As Theodosia investigates, fingers are pointed, secrets are uncovered, Reginald’s daughter-in-law goes missing presumed drowned, and Meredith is determined to find answers via a séance. All the while Theodosia worries if she’s made a mistake in inviting a prime suspect to her upscale Lavender Lady Tea.
INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!
I am somewhat ashamed to admit that this author’s prolific Tea Shop Mystery series has 21 books and Lavender Blue Murder is the first one I’ve read. It will not, however, be the last one I read – and if I can find the time I’ll be going back to read the 20 previous books some day. The writing pace is calming (in spite of the murder lol) and engaging, and you just want to immerse yourself into this world for a while. Especially if it involves lunch at the tea shop (hold the tea… sorry, Drayton) and the yummy food there!
The mystery unfolds with a couple of different layers and, of course, a host of suspects – set against the lovely Charleston backdrop in both the city and the countryside. A murder. Arson. A missing person. Just another week in the life of Theodosia and her trusty sidekick (and tea sommelier) Drayton. All while trying to organize her upcoming special Lavender Lady tea which any number of the suspects might attend. I especially loved the lavender references throughout as my late mother-in-law worked for a lavender farm, so the theme is meaningful to me personally as well as just interesting all around.
Bottom Line: I really enjoyed my introduction (on the 21st book lol) to the Tea Shop Mystery by Laura Childs. Theodosia and her sidekick Drayton are fun characters you’ll love hanging out with on the pages of Lavender Blue Murder. The suspect list is nearly endless and, while I figured out part of the case before the end, some of it still surprised me. While I wished we got to see Theodosia’s boyfriend more (I felt like I wasn’t able to get any kind of read on him because we just saw him so little), I’m looking forward to spending more time with these characters and hopefully getting to know him better too. A fun, quaint cozy mystery with murder and suspects …and tea… around every corner!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!
Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.
Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:
The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.
The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!
The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.
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