Lavender Blue Murder (A Tea Shop Mystery)
by Laura Childs
About Lavender Blue Murder
Lavender Blue Murder (A Tea Shop Mystery)
21th in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Publisher: Berkley (March 3, 2020)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Digital ASIN: B07SSQ1X4R
Tea-Maven Theodosia Browning brews up trouble in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.
Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier Drayton Conneley are guests at a bird hunt styled in the precise manner of an English shooting party. Which means elevenses (sloe gin fizzes), gun loaders, the drawing of pegs, fine looking bird dogs, and shooting costumes of tweed, herringbone, and suede.
But as gunshots explode like a riff of Black Cat firecrackers, another shot sounds too close for comfort to Theodosia and Drayton. Intrigued but worried, Theodosia wanders into the neighbor’s lavender field where she discovers their host, Reginald Doyle, bleeding to death.
His wife, Meredith, is beside herself with grief and begs Theodosia and Drayton to stay the night. But Theodosia awakens at 2:00A.M. to find smoke in her room and the house on fire. As the fire department screams in and the investigating sheriff returns, Meredith again pleads with Theodosia for help.
As Theodosia investigates, fingers are pointed, secrets are uncovered, Reginald’s daughter-in-law goes missing presumed drowned, and Meredith is determined to find answers via a séance. All the while Theodosia worries if she’s made a mistake in inviting a prime suspect to her upscale Lavender Lady Tea.
INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!
Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier Drayton Conneley are on a hunt, a bird hunt. They are guests at an English shooting party. Theo is having a great time and even bagged a quail. Drayton is mostly just along for her company. As they are sojourning across the field they hear shots ring out. Shots very close to them. Theo takes off to check things out and she finds their host Reginald Doyle, bleeding to death in the neighbor’s lavender field. By the time the ambulance arrives there is nothing they can do to save the man.
Reginald’s wife Meredith is distraught and begs Theo and Dayton to stay the night and they can’t refuse. In the middle of the night, Theo wakes up to find the mansion on fire and rushes to clear everyone out of the house. Not trusting the local Sheriff Meredith asks Theodosia to investigate too.
Shortly thereafter, Theo surprising meets Reginald’s daughter-in-law not far from Drayton’s house and she is clearly not herself. She then learns the young woman went missing shortly after their meeting. She was out on her husband’s sailboat and is thought to have drowned and the Coast Guard is searching for her body. Theo starts pressing harder in her investigation ruffling more than a few feathers.
What an awesome story! It starts with a bang and ends with a crash!! Loved it!
All the characters we love are back. Theo, Drayton, Haley, Riley, Miss Dimple, Detective Tidwell and of course Earl Grey fill these pages with drama, laughter, Southern charm, and some exciting action too. This is the 21st book in this series and these characters still are fresh and continue to evolve in fantastic ways. Theo never disappoints as she gets down and dirty smack dab in the middle of another murder investigation. Riley tries to reel her in but that is near impossible. Haley and Mrs. Dimple take care of the Indigo Tea Shop while Theo and Drayton chase down leads. But Theo is still front and center for all the special tea events put on at the shop, like the Lavender Lady Tea. She keeps her ears wide open because you never know who will provide a clue that catapults the case forward.
Ms. Childs has not only created a great group of core characters but she introduces a stellar group of new characters to fit this story. Most are suspects but they are all interesting in their own way. She describes them so vividly they are so easy to visualize.
The author’s vivid descriptions also bring each scene clearly into focus, from the field of lavender, the Doyle Mansion, Drayton’s home and Theo’s, which is undergoing a kitchen renovation, to the tea shop itself with each type of china, silverware, and candlestick used. The descriptions of the scones, soups, and sandwiches will make your mouth water. Ms. Childs has perfected the way to bring each scene alive, never going overboard or getting too wordy.
The mystery builds to a fast-pace with a plethora of suspects. Twists, turns, red herrings, this story has it all. Theo is so smart and thinks on her feet. She has so much experience she knows a crime scene must be protected. I was afraid this time she may have had to get physical to protect that scene. Talk about physical the ending had me breathing hard, my blood pressure rising and me sitting right up at the end of my seat.
Amongst this cozy mystery is all kinds of tidbits of information. I love lavender and have a spray I use on my pillow each night that helps me sleep like a baby. I loved all the lavender facts scattered through this book, I would love to live near a field of lavender. Readers are also treated to tea time tips, Drayton is a very knowledgeable tea sommelier and very creative with his blends. There are more tea tips at the end of the book along with several recipes for food served in the story.
I loved everything about this story. It is one of the best books I have read this year! It is so worth a Paradise Rating.
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About Laura Childs
Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.
Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:
The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.
The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!
The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.
Great Escapes Praise for Lavender Blue Murder (A Tea Shop Mystery)
by Laura Childs
Lavender Blue Murder is an enchanting cozy mystery with a weeping widow, a surplus of suspects, tasty tea, loads of lavender, blaring bagpipes, and a spooky séance.
~The Avid Reader
The mystery was engaging and fun, oh and the teas and recipes! Oh my! I think I look forward to the recipes as much as I do the mysteries.
~A Chick Who Reads
Phew this was a humdinger of a story with a plethora of potential suspects for Theo and Drayton to deal with!
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog
. . . a fun mystery that will have you guessing who did it mixed in between the tea and goodies. Makes for a great read. I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews
As always Laura does a good job of making you feel a part of the story. She also likes to put in just enough twists to keep you guessing until the end.
~A. Holland Reads
Lavender Blue Murder starts out with a bang, quite literally! . . . The mystery was intriguing and well planned, and there are lots of suspects to keep you second-guessing if you think you have it all figured out.
~The Book’s the Thing
LAVENDER BLUE MURDER is an intricately plotted mystery imbued with Southern grace, exemplary food, and fine tea. Sit back with a lavender scone and a cup of steaming Asaam and prepare for a delightful read.
~Cozy Up With Kathy
The writing pace is calming (in spite of the murder lol) and engaging, and you just want to immerse yourself into this world for a while. Especially if it involves lunch at the tea shop (hold the tea… sorry, Drayton) and the yummy food there!
~Reading Is My SuperPower
As I neared the end of this delightful collection of locale, character, and tastiness, I realized that I didn’t expect something different in this release. I expected my Indigo friends, familiar shop chatter, local characters, comfortable teatime, and an all-around good story. Just like all the others in this series. So settle in and expect both.
~The Editing Pen
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March 2 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”