Yes, I do read a Cozy Mystery now and then…to me, they are like an Intermezzo between dinner courses, they cleanse your brain, it doesn’t have to work too hard and the characters are all familiar. I find that especially true with Laura Childs’ Tea Shop Mysteries I have read almost all of them. I also like her Scrapbooking Mysteries series, they are set in New Orleans, one of my most favorite cities in the States, I’m not a scrapbooker, oh wait, I do love Pinterest and have always been a clipper, do those count! www.laurachilds.com
Pekoe Most Poison, while being formula, which is why I like Childs, is a good read and a much needed break from some very heavy reading that quite frankly I gave up on and will start again later. You can easily sit comfortably on your deck, by the water, in your garden and read while sipping tea, of course, or in my case on the South Shore Train going to and from Michigan City, Indiana one day last week. The protagonist, Theodosia Browning, owns a tea shop in charming Charleston (which always plays an important role in the stories) along with her staff, her tea sommelier the debonair, Drayton, her chef the young, Haley and, of course, her dog Earl Grey. As always, I would suggest starting with the first of the series just to get the lay of the land, but I’ll leave that up to you.
The murder in each story always happens quite near the beginning of the book and gives you many, many suspects along the way. In addition, and an addition I really like, you get to know Charleston’s charm as well as the surrounding area. Theo was a marketing whiz and decided to change lifestyle and became the owner of an extremely successful tea shop. She, Drayton and Haley plan not only the day’s breakfasts, lunches and tea times but also host themed tea parties in each book, sometimes several. The recipes included are always delightful and sound quite delicious. I am a tea drinker and have found many of Drayton’s suggestions interesting and Childs gives a list of purveyors at the back of each book.
This book opens with a “Rat Tea” (a Charleston tradition) being given by one of Charleston’s wealthiest women (her money not her husbands), Doreen Briggs, in her elaborate mansion During the course of the party Doreen’s husband, Beau, drops dead…we learn from poison. The police arrive with a new detective, Detective Pete Riley, who, of course, is fabulous (will this develop into a romance…Theo usually has a beau in each book, we shall see!). Theo has helped the police in the past, much to the dismay of Detective Tidwell who is out of town for this book and has just met Detective Riley. We find out much about Beau’s soon to be opened Gilded Magnolia Spa. Learn about misappropriated funds, an overpowering PR woman, Starla, Beau and Doreen’s family, and many of the usual cast of characters from previous books. A grant that Doreen is holding over Drayton’s head to “blackmail” Theo into getting to the bottom of the murder. As always twists and turns, but a fun romp none the less…my little gray cells didn’t have to work very hard and they could take a breath. When you want a “book breath” why not cozy up with a cozy!