Pekoe Most Poison,
the latest in the Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs
A Laura Childs books is like getting a hug. Really. Her cozies follow the rules of the genre and offer a couple of nights of pure escape, surrounded by developed characters, clear plots, and delicious sensory details. Character and setting are strong in her cozies. In the smallest of moments, the author slides in a detail or two that show us just who we are dealing with. For example, what would you think of first when you watch your husband keel over dead? Certainly not your precious Akoya pearls tumbling and scattering across the floor. Poor Doreen. Bless her heart. Laura Childs offers many moments for us to see who these people really are underneath their fancy outfits. And how can you not chuckle at “her hair looked like a basket of curly fries.” Now that conjures up an image. And a constant throughout each book in the series is the endearing friendship and interaction between Drayton and Theodosia. (I just love Drayton.)
Ms. Childs is also skilled at setting. There are so many sweet moments of description to give you a sense of taste, smell, and tea shop ambiance. I love visiting the Indigo Tea Shop and reading about the table décor, which tea Drayton describes, or what Haley has on the menu. The author also drops the reader right in the middle of a dark alley or other intriguing location along lovely Charleston streets. You will find yourself slinking down an alley, passing white marble statuary and pattering fountains, all while a sleek black car is in pursuit. And after all the tasty menu items, mansion descriptions, cozy kitchen details, and quaint street scenes, the friendship between the staff and Theodosia is sweet, familiar, and feels like a warm smile straight from the author. This book does exactly as intended: provides the reader with a good evening or two of lovely scenes, story, and character. Then there is a bonus for you. In the back of the book are recipes, tea resources, websites and blogs to visit, and links to get you to Charleston, South Carolina. I highly recommend this series for a delicious and cozy night of hugs.
Scroll on for lots of links to the wonderful world that is Laura Childs.
I’m such a fan of the author’s Tea Shop series that I had to check out Egg Drop Dead, Number Seven in the Cackleberry Club series. Both have much to offer a cozy fan. The elements are all there for a night or two of escaping any dreadful election news or just a bad day at work. You probably can’t tell at all from my earlier reviews if I enjoy her writing (see below). Her books are clean, snuggly, and easy to read. And Ms. Childs is so very sweet and loves to interact with her fans. My good friend, Betsy Bean, still gushes about their tea interview and what a sweetheart Ms. Childs is. I think it shows in her writing. (subliminal to Ms. Childs: send Annie Little Girl Gone to review…)
In each series, you’re sure to have a favorite character to love. Head over to the Charleston Tea Shop and introduce yourself to the one and only Drayton. In this Cackleberry Club series, Toni has my vote. Her sense of humor is right up my alley. Toni’s lines smoothly glide across the scene and offer surprise chuckles to round out the lead character Suzanne’s logical personality. Tell me when you get to the part where Suzanne asks Toni, “How do you like your eggs?” Toni’s answer is my answer. Love Toni. I also enjoyed Suzanne’s interactions with Noah, which helped to reveal character depth and bring an extra thematic layer to the story. Oh, and I learned what cattywampus means. (subliminal to Ms. Childs: send Annie Little Girl Gone to review…)
Ms. Childs is quite talented in keeping each series separate in style and tone. These books are such a delight to read. A double delight is finding out about Little Girl Gone, a “sharp–edged” thriller, written by Laura under her real name, Gerry Schmitt. Ooh I bet that one will be a great read.
There are lots of pretty visuals in this cozy, especially in the yarn truck, and the Knitters’ Tea Party is filled with such tantalizing aromas and flavors that you’ll probably lean close to the pages to breathe in the warm scents. You’ll also notice the auditory descriptions are just right. During the Halloween party, the clack of café noises, barn sounds, and party chatter round out the scene to really pull you in. The mystery is well crafted. The clues are nicely planted, and the resolution will bring a satisfied sigh and a smile. (subliminal to Ms. Childs: send Annie Little Girl Gone to review…)
Now I really should get moving on the scrapbook series, but I’m sure there’s another I should read first, just can’t think of the name at the moment. Maybe if I brewed a cup of English Breakfast and wished real hard, it will show up in my mailbox for a review…
Yummy recipes are included in the back pages just for you. If you are new to the work of Ms. Childs, pick up any book in any series. She does a cozy proud.
P.S. Two weeks later… It’s amazing and mysterious.
I am now the proud owner of my very own signed copy of Little Girl Gone. Review available on the Review tab!
Maintaining good personal relationships with their suppliers is one of the secrets of the Cackleberry Club café’s success, so Suzanne doesn’t mind going out to Mike Mullen’s dairy farm to pick up some wheels of cheese. She’s looking forward to a nice visit with the mild-mannered farmer before heading back to their hectic kitchen.
But when she arrives, Mike’s nowhere to be found. The moaning of his cows leads her to look in the barn, where she discovers a bloodcurdling sight—the farmer’s dead body. Apparently not everyone was as fond of Mike Mullen as the Cackleberry Club.
Churning with grief and outrage, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni vow to find the farmer’s murderer—but as they get closer to the truth, the desperate killer gets whipped into a frenzy and plans to put the squeeze on them…
Tea lovers go here:
Scrapbooking fans here:
And for the small-town diner and knitting fan:
Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, the Scrapbooking Mysteries, and the Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO of her own marketing firm, authored several screenplays, and produced a reality TV show. She is married to Dr. Bob, a professor of Chinese art history, enjoys travel, and has two Shar-Peis.
Visit Ms. Childs here and learn about her tea shop series (my fave), check out tea resources, and find out about her new thriller title.
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.
Webpage – http://www.laurachilds.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/laura.childs.31
Sweet Tea Revenge by Laura Childs
The moment had finally arrived. My Gunpowder Green tea was brewed, blanket heated and ready, pillow fluffed, and a fresh new copy of Laura Child’s Sweet Tea Revenge beckoning from my night table. With a huge grin, I opened the book to the first pages and immediately tumbled into the story. Laura Childs has a way of making that happen.
Sweet Tea Revenge is Laura Child’s latest episode in her Tea Shop Mysteries set in Charleston, South Carolina. As thunder rolls and rain pelts the windows in our opening scene, our main character, Theodosia, is racing up the stairs of Ravencrest Inn to assist her friend, Delaine, who is getting married. The bride is dressed, flowers are strewn about, and guests await the big moment. Unfortunately, the moment is bigger than intended. Something borrowed was taken care of, but something blue was not supposed to be the groom.
Hopefully you’ve read each book from the Indigo Tea Shop series because you are reunited with friends: Haley, Draper, Delaine, and Theodosia. No I did not forget Officer Tidwell. How could I? In this latest mystery, Tidwell has become delightfully enriched with a few charming enhancements. All I will say is, do enjoy his new “appreciation” for the fine art of Tea. Utterly endearing.
The storm continues as guests are presented before us like a southern buffet: the Ravencrest Innkeepers, Simone the leggy ex of the groom, Nadine’s boyfriend, the curmudgeon real estate partner, ghostbusters Tim and Jed, and an elusive Bobby St. Cloud.
Ms. Child’s characters are deliciously filled out with dimension and memorable traits with a few new folks to meet along the way. In between murder, chaos, and panic, Laura Childs gives us a respite as we are treated to the aromas of creamy scones and tea simmered chicken.
I adore the attention to detail Childs gives us. She uses all five senses to treat us to an afternoon around the southern streets, through heady, jasmine-filled gardens, and back to the Indigo Tea Room in time to hear the snap of crisp, bright tablecloths spread onto the tables. Be prepared to smell Haley’s warm peach scones or cinnamon raisin biscuits arriving on a tray. This tale will leave you hanging by a thread with enough clues and red herrings to keep you guessing to the end. Don’t peek – enjoy the ride.
Along with yummy recipes and tea ideas, something very special awaits us at the end. Her new nonfiction book, “Living a Tea Shop Life” is in the works. I’m first in line.
Steeped in Evil, by Laura Childs
Berkley Prime Crime, 2014
As Drayton so gentlemanly states, “We create a refuge of sorts . . . [a]n intermezzo from the pressures of everyday life.” And Laura Childs has written another book to do just that.
Steeped in Evil, number 15 in the series, is filled with tantalizing aromas, sweet chuckles, a few rewarding tense moments, (dare I say a ‘barrel of fun’) and an engaging ticket into the world and town of interesting people, qualities of a good tea, colorful gardens, and a slice of time where your own troubles fade, chores are not important, and the first smile of the day lingers from page one to the end of the book. Detective Tidwell thankfully returns and I did hope to enjoy his interactions more than was offered. But how nice to learn that a reader really wants a character to appear more on the pages. I have read every book in this series and reviewed most of them, and can honestly say that this latest release will not disappoint the many fans of Haley, Theodosia, Drayton and Delaine. Slip away from your day for just a little while and you, as I, will sincerely thank Ms. Childs for a lovely evening among friends.