Genre: cozy mystery with recipes and tea tips.
In the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Agony of the Leaves, Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning may always be a bridesmaid, never a bride, but this groom is never going to make it to the altar...
Theodosia Browning's dear friend, Delaine Dish, has asked her to be a bridesmaid for her wedding. But when the big day arrives, everything seems to be going wrong. First, a massive storm is brewing over Charleston. A bad omen? Second, Delaine's maid of honor is late for the ceremony. And finally, the groom not only has cold feet - his whole body is cold. A murderer has crashed the wedding.
As Theodosia comforts a devastated Delaine, she needs to sort out the suspects on the groom's side from the suspects on the bride's side. One thing soon becomes apparent - revenge won't be the only dish served cold at this wedding. And if Theodosia doesn't watch her step, a cold-blooded killer may have a rude reception in store for her...
After serial dating the rich and famous for years, Delaine Dish finally got one to propose to her, and now she is rushing to tie the knot with Dougan Granville, a very rich attorney. Theodosia is her maid-of-honor, and has been helping with the preparations. Delaine is nervous about it all, but at last everything is in order and she is ready to descend the stairs of the old Inn where they are having the wedding and reception. If only the groom would appear … Thinking he must be working on something and forgetting the time, Theodosia intents to fetch him. But when she enters his dark hotel suite, something does not feel right, and that is when she finds his dead body in front of a platter of white powder …
Delaine is hysterical, and Theodosia has a hard time restraining her, after all, this is a crime scene. It was not a simple case of drug overdose after all, Dougan has been hit on the head hard enough to be killed. The police will have to investigate, and as the wedding guests are all important people, politicians and businessmen foremost, they are not happy to be detained and questioned. Tidwell, the police lieutenant in charge, does not want Theodosia to “help” with this investigation, but Delaine does ask for her help in finding the killer. She wants her revenge, and she has set her sights on her fiancée’s ex-girlfriend.
Still, there are more people with a possible motive, Dougan’s stepson who entered his life again just recently and scored a job at his law firm, or perhaps his business partner. And what about the illegal Cuban cigars Dougan was always smoking and perhaps selling in his cigar store? Someone must have smuggled them into the country.
And so Theodosia is busy with her tea shop, the special catering events and finding Dougan’s killer. And now Delaine also wants her to help her with the catering as Dougan’s mansion is scheduled to be one of the houses open for the public on the famous Garden Tour.
There are also two young men set on making a documentary on ghosts, and they want to try to find Dougan’s ghosts. Theodosia is sceptic of course, but Delaine is all for saying goodbye to her Dougan like that. But back at the Inn where it all happened, they are interrupted by Tidwell, who is not finished with his investigation of the crime scene yet. Nor has the murder weapon been found.
Many years ago, this was one of the first cozy mystery series I started reading in English. I fell in love with book 1 and never fell out of love. The series is still going strong, and I love following up on Theodosia Browning, the owner of the Indigo Tea Shop and her two employees / friends Drayton and Hailey. Drayton is the tea master, he brews and blends the most amazing sounding teas, and Hailey is a phenomenal baker. I would love to visit Charleston one day and find out if this tea shop exists for real. Charleston is almost a secondary character in this series, as Theodosia is always visiting some famous landmarks and musea, mansions and gardens and such are described in great and lovely detail.
Laura Childs writes two more cozy mystery series and I love those as well. She has a way to create characters you love and have them live in towns you want to visit or feel like you already know your way around them. The mysteries are fresh and never easy to figure out before the main character does it.
I do love and admire Theodosia. She gave up a lucrative career in marketing and advertising to open up her tea shop. She loves her job, she lovers her new cottage and she has a great boyfriend. Her employees are her good friends as well, and she is very good at finding out things that help the police solve murders. Theodosia has style and elegance and is still someone I want to be friends with, even though I am none of those things myself.
The mystery part, now that was a big surprise in the end. Never did I see that coming.
I don’t really like Delaine Dish however, she is pushy and she manages to rope Theodosia in all kinds of things and does not really appreciate her. But she is very good at organizing charity events and has a big heart for all kinds of animals in need. Her sister is a different story, she is really bad news and I think Delaine hopes she goes back where she came from very soon.
I like Detective Tidwell. He sounds like a big and burly man but he is much smarter than he looks, and he has saved Theodosia many times already. He is not a potential love interest though, he does visit the tea shop regularly but that is more to sample Hailey’s baking I think. And to warn Theodosia to quit snooping around and putting herself in danger. Still, they do make a great team, and he does listen to her suggestions and the things she finds out.
And last but not least, there is Earl Grey, Theodosia’s dog. A sweet mix of dalmation and Labrador she found abandoned in the alley behind the tea shop and took in. And now he is a very well behaved gentleman dog and they visit hospitals and nursery homes together.
All in all, I love visiting Theodosia and friends and reading about her newest adventure. Reading a Laura Childs book is like visiting with old friends and catching up.
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian