Genre: cozy mystery (with recipes and tea time tips)
Cover: lovely, but my paperback is a lot less bright blue, still pretty.
In the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Scones and Bones, Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning finds herself in hot water when a body surfaces at the grand opening of Charleston's Neptune Aquarium...
The opening of the aquarium is a major Charleston event, and Theodosia has been hired to cater tea, scones, and sandwiches for the private party to honor dignitaries and big buck donors. Things are going swimmingly, until Theodosia escapes the party for a momentary rest, only to discover the body of a man entangled in a net, drowned in one of the aquarium's state-of-the-art tanks.
To make matters worse, the victim is Theodosia's former boyfriend Parker Scully. The EMTs on the scene think Parker's drowning was an accident, but when Theodosia notices what look like defense wounds on his hands, she realizes that someone wanted Parker dead. The local police aren't keen on hearing her theory-especially because of her ties to the victim-so Theodosia knows that if she wants Parker's killer brought to justice, she'll have to jump into the deep end and start her own investigation...
It is a busy week for Theodosia and her employees at the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston. Lots of outside catering jobs and events at the Indigo Tea Shop. Hailey is fairly exhausted from all the long hours baking the delicious things she makes. Drayton, the tea master, is one of my favourite characters. A real old fashioned gentleman with a love of antiques and a dislike of modern technology. No television or computer in his home! He prefers listening to the radio or his old record collection.
The book starts when they are catering the private opening of the aquarium, a thank you for all the major sponsors and donors. Theodosia is admiring one of the enormous tanks, showcasing the bottom of the sea, when she suddenly sees a body floating inside. And to her horror, one she recognizes as her old boyfriend, Scully Parker. She is totally shaken up, and she just can’t believe it was an accident. He was at home up and in the water. And when she sees defensive wounds on his hands and arms, she has to convince the police that this was murder. With Detective Tidwell investigating, the case is in good hands. Still, she cannot help looking for the killer herself.
There are so many suspects, Scully always had so many plans, but with the current economy he needed funding for those. And that might have gotten him in contact with some shady people. Or does she need to find the killer closer to home? Like his new girlfriend who stands to inherit a cool million and his very popular restaurant? The shark like woman who wanted to buy his restaurant? Theodosia has little time to investigate, especially as she has committed herself to a virtual scavenger hunt for a charity. She has Drayton with her to take the pictures needed for the contest, but they sure end up in remote places.
Still, Theodosia makes some time to visit a local beekeeper, whose honey products she sells at her teashop, and takes her great aunt Libby with her. But when someone runs them of the road into the swamp, and later have the bees attack her aunt, she knows she is making someone very nervous. Still, she won’t give up, she needs to get to the bottom of this, especially as the police don’t seem to make any headway.
This is one of the first cozy mystery series I started reading, and still amongst my favourites. With only one new book a year, I did forget some of the many characters in this series. Like Theodosia’s new boyfriend. I had no idea who he was anymore. Perhaps because I don’t like him for Theodosia, he tries to keep her back from sleuthing, when she is so very good at it.
I absolutely love the atmosphere Laura Childs is a master at describing, and I wish I could visit Charleston one day. I think I will find my way through the old Quarter effortless. I want to visit the Heritage Society and meet Timothy Neville. But most of all, I want to visit the Indigo Tea Shop, drink the delicious teas they serve, and eat those dishes Hailey dreams up. Yes, the recipes are in the back of the book.
With everything that has to happen in this book, all the events Theodosia has to visit and organize, it is a very fast paced, and action filled story. But still, you can feel the slower pace and tranquillity of the South in this series. Theodosia has hardly any time for her lovely dog, Earl Gray. The mystery took me completely by surprise though. I did have an inkling that the stranger on scene could be it, but the how and why where a total surprise for me. If the murderer had left Theodosia alone, no one would have found out the truth. I loved it.
I really do recommend this series and author to all lovers of cozy mysteries, and to everybody who would like to try one. I do think it is more fun to start with the first one, and see the characters grow and learn all the many secondary characters get involved, but I think you could read it as a stand alone easily.
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian