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Ming Tea Murder
Tea Shop #16
Laura Childs

5/5/2015/ ISBN 9780425281642
Mystery / Cozy / Tea & Recipe related / Holiday: Halloween

Reviewed by Brenda Weeaks


The gang at the Indigo Tea Shop is back, and they’re about to put a unique twist on Halloween. First, Theodosia has to attend a black tie affair at the local museum. Her boyfriend Max put the celebration together, and Charleston’s old money families and newly crowned Titians are in attendance. The museum is celebrating the donation of an eighteenth century Chinese tea house by Edgar Webster, a prominent businessman. Max and Edgar are the center of attention in more ways than one concerning the Tea House. The two didn’t agree on how the advertisement of the celebration was handled; they had words before and during the celebration. If that isn’t enough, it’s Theo who finds Edgar’s body in the photo booth Max ordered for the celebration. It’s Max who suffers in the aftermath of the murder and the failed celebration, though. Detective Burt Tidwell considers him a suspect, which puts Theo on the defensive. Anyone using Max and suspect in the same sentence suffers the verbal wrath of Theo. It's Drayton who tells Theo to do what she does best – detect. Theo makes a list of suspects and moves between them. Just when Theo thinks she has a firm suspect list someone else grabs her attention and she has to start all over. Theo and Tidwell spar with each other but do so with respect because they both want to solve the murder.

Theo is the ultimate multi-tasker. While solving the murder and hobnobbing with the rich she helps Drayton and Haley with some nontraditional Halloween tea parties; Haley slips in a little traditional decor at one point. Drayton celebrates Halloween by adding some eerie sophistication to his Titanic tea party then goes Brit with the Tower of London Tea. Theo volunteers to take over the Bloody Mary Crawl, the Haunted Hayride and the Gateway Walk. Her dog, Earl Grey, even joins in on the fun when Theo signs him up for Big Paw Five-k run, with a costume. Needless to say, this is one Halloween they won’t soon forget.

Childs’ gives readers plenty of entertainment with the local celebrations and the tea parties, but they don’t overpower the mystery. Theo’s character doesn’t have a moment’s peace; having a cup a tea turns into a major scene, like the one between the victim’s wife and girlfriend (holy cow). Childs’ offers plenty of twists and turns, and suspects abound. The Tea Shop gang pull together to entertain the reader, and the scones and tea combinations are limitless. In reading number sixteen -- as Theo describes her home, her life, and her Tea Shop - I’m reminded of how much the series and her character has developed and how well off her character is now; Rubbing elbows with the rich, living large in a new home, etc and boldly taking Max to task about being a murder suspect. Theodosia has come a long way, and I hope there is more to come.

If you enjoy Laura Childs’ work or Halloween mysteries you should try Laura Childs’ Gossamer Ghost (Scrapbooking mystery #12).


Reviews of other titles in this series

Death by Darjeeling, #1 [review]
Chamomile Mourning, #6   [review]
Blood Orange Brewing, #7   [review]
The Silver Needle Murder, #9  [review]
Oolong Dead, #10   [review]
The Teaberry Strangler, #11 [review]
Agony of the Leaves, #13 [review]
Sweet Tea Revenge, #14 [review]
Steeped in Evil, #15 [review]
Ming Tea Murder, #16 [review]
Devonshire Scream#17 [review]

Reviewed 2015