Theodosia Browning is the owner of the Indigo Tea Shop with a penchant for sniffing out murderers. So when Theo and her friend and tea sommelier Drayton Conneley are watching the Gaslights and Galleons Parade from the widow's walk of Timothy Neville's stately home, and a man's body falls from the walk down to the gardens below, Theodosia is one of the first down the stairs to see if he's okay. Neville, one of Charleston's leading statesmen and director of the Heritage Society, has invited many of the town's leaders to his celebration, which clearly did not end well.
Down in the garden, Theodosia finds the man impaled on the wrought-iron fence and finds out several things. First, his identity: Carson Lanier, a well known banker in town. And second, that he didn't accidentally fall off the roof. He'd been shot by a small metal arrow.
The following days bring many opportunities for Theodosia and Drayton to investigate further. Despite being warned off by Detective Burt Tidwell, Theo can't help it when the man Timothy mentioned was opposing a local Rare Weapons Show comes into her tea shop and starts ranting. Or of she goes to a sample sale to try to find a skirt for an upcoming charity event and runs into the victim's almost ex-wife who then spills the beans about his mistress. It's not Theodosia's fault that suspects just keep crossing her path and telling her potentially incriminating information, right?
Plum Tea Crazy is the 19th book in Laura Childs' Tea Shop Mysteries, and it's a truly beautifully composed cozy with tea and scones and murders. And as a bonus, there are recipes, tea tips, and ideas for anyone wanting to visit Charleston.
I'll be honest here. I've seen the Laura Childs' tea mysteries on store bookshelves for years, and I never tried one. I was a little intimidated by the frilly font of the title and the doilies on the cover. I am not a doily person. I am a sweatshirt and sneakers girl (although I do love a good cuppa). It took book 19 in the series to break me down and get me to try it.
Wow, was I wrong. There is nothing intimidating about this book. It's a fantastic, flowing story that reads beautifully. It's well plotted and incredibly accessible, the characters are smart and charming, and it's set in the lovely Charleston, one of the most interesting places in America to read about. I am very sorry that it has taken me this long to give these Tea Shop Mysteries a shot, a mistake I will be remedying as soon as possible. I have 18 more Tea Shop books to read!
So put the kettle on, grab your scones, and sit down to a roller coaster of a ride with Laura Childs and everyone in the Indigo Tea Shop! No doilies necessary.
Galleys for Plum Tea Crazy were provided by Berkley through Penguins First to Read program, with many thanks.