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Devonshire Scream
Tea Shop Mystery #17
Laura Childs

Berkley Prime Crime
March 1, 2016 / ISBN 9780425281666
Mystery / Cozy / Amateur Sleuth / Recipes

Reviewed by Laura Hinds


Tea shop owner Theodosia Browning is back in this 17th book in the Tea Shop Mystery series. This time, the team from her Indigo Tea Shop has the honor of catering a trunk show at the high-end jewelry shop, “Heart's Desire Fine Jewelry.” The event initially seems to be a roaring success, but not for long. Almost right out of the gate, on page five, a black SUV drives through the showroom window and a bold and terrifying smash-and-grab robbery turns the night into a complete debacle.

The devastation isn't limited to the destruction of the store and the theft of valuable and irreplaceable jewels, however, as a young woman dies from injuries incurred during the robbery. When the shop’s owner, Brooke Carter Crockett, asks her friend Theodosia to investigate, she agrees. After all, the thieves may have another local upcoming event in mind for a second heist. The Heritage Society is soon to display a Peter the Great Fabergé egg, worth between 20 and 30 million dollars! If she can discover who killed Brooke's niece, Kaitlin, and whether it was intentional or not, it could lead her right to the team of professional thieves. Although the FBI thinks the criminals are part of an international gang, Theodosia suspects there may be someone local involved.

As always, a trip to Charleston and a visit with Theo, Drayton, Haley and the other cast of characters is enjoyable. The smash-and-grab action was an exciting opening, and the mystery was layered enough that I didn't figure out what was going on before Childs was ready to reveal it. The dichotomy of the violence of crime and the calmness of the tea shop is striking and very well executed.

If you love a solid cozy mystery with a healthy dose of drama and excitement, you'll love Devonshire Cream. You don't need to read the earlier books in the series to thoroughly enjoy this entry, but personally, I've made the most of watching the character development and relationship changes, and the anticipation of a new book in the series each year. Highly recommended.

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]
Pekoe Most Poison #18 [review]

Reviewer Notes: Laura Childs also writes The Scrapbooking Mystery series.

Reviewed 2016