Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am happy to share my thoughts today about Honey Drop Dead by the wonderful Laura Childs!
Honey Drop Dead (A Tea Shop Mystery)
by Laura Childs
About Honey Drop Dead
Honey Drop Dead (A Tea Shop Mystery)
26th in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Berkley (August 8, 2023)
Hardcover : 320 pages
ISBN-10 : 0593200950
ISBN-13 : 978-0593200957
Digital ASIN : B0BLTT3TCN
The murder of a political bigwig at a Honey Bee Tea sends Theodosia Browning buzzing for answers in this latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series.
Theodosia’s Honey Bee Tea was an elegant affair set in Charleston’s new Petigru Park amid newly planted native grasses and a community beekeeping project. But when a phony beekeeper shows up and sprays toxic smoke at the guests, the party erupts in chaos. Worse yet, a shot rings out and Osgood Claxton III, candidate for state legislature, falls to the ground—dead.
Holly Burns, the gallery owner who asked Theodosia to cater the tea, is understandably heartbroken. A man is dead, her guests are angry and injured, and the paintings that were on display are left in tatters. When the police don’t seem to have a clue, when old-line politicos don’t want questions asked, Holly begs Theodosia to run a shadow investigation and help restore her gallery’s good name.
Between hosting a Wind in the Willows Tea and a Glam Girl Tea, Theodosia questions everyone that had a bone to pick with Claxton. This includes Booker, an angry outsider artist; Lamar Lucket, Claxton’s political opponent; and Mignon Merriweather, the dead man’s soon-to-be ex-wife. But the investigation becomes a political hot potato following a second murder, the revelation of a messy affair, a chase through a swamp, and a vandalized shop.
INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!
Theodosia, Hayley, and Drayton are catering a Honey Bee Tea for gallery owner Holly Burns in Charleston’s new Petigru Park. Chaos ensues when a rogue beekeeper crashes the party spraying toxic gas at the guests. Before the smoke clears a candidate for the state house is shot dead. Many other guests are injured and suffering from the effects of the gas. The paintings the gallery had on display are damaged and torn. Theodosia did try to chase the killer but they got away. The police arrive but don’t get a lot of answers and Holly is devastated because this event was supposed to get her gallery off to a great start. Now she is afraid it is going to be forced to close. She knows Theodosia’s reputation so she asks her for help to find the person responsible. It could be the only way to save her business.
So while her Indigo Tea Shop has several special tea events coming up Theodosia tries to help Holly by looking into Candidate Osgood Claxton III to see who he may have “tea-d” off enough to publically gun him down. There are several worthy suspects. A second murder, a crazy chase, and even scary threats do not stop Theodosia from buzzing around trying to get the answers she needs to put the killer bee-hind bars. Especially when someone she cares about is in the line of fire.
I was delighted to return to Charleston and the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia, Drayton, Haley, and Riley are like old friends and I love to visit them. Theodosia is so smart and business savvy. She has also become quite an astute amateur sleuth. Drayton, usually right by her side, is up for almost anything even when he thinks Theodosia’s sleuthing ideas are way over the top. Hayley is a fantastic chef with such creative ideas. She has a new man in her life which makes things with her even more interesting. I do enjoy the “family” these three have become. They work so well, in sync, whether it be serving tea or riddling out clues. Riley, is well, Riley, grousing around telling Theodosia to stay out of his investigations even though he knows she will never do that. I applaud Ms. Childs for being able to keep these characters fresh and evolving with this being the 25th book in the series.
She has also set up such a clever mystery. The suspense and tension erupt from Chapter 1 with toxic gas and gunfire in a park full of people and Theodosia giving chase. With the exception of a few special teas, the suspense continues throughout the whole book. Her detailed descriptions put her readers right on the scene for many exciting events. Soon after I started reading Chapter 30 I found myself sitting truly on the edge of my seat. When Theodosia found a huge clue my heart rate started to increase and the pages started to really fly. The showdown was riveting and surprising. Had this been a movie I probably would have been watching through my fingers. The banter when Riley arrived was so good! and Theodosia’s final actions were even better. At first, I thought the ending was a little abrupt but within a few minutes, I realized it was absolutely perfect.
Ms. Childs continues to top herself. I love this series! Honey Drop Dead is a SWEET addition! The characters are genuine. The mystery is extraordinary. The setting is fun and fabulous. This book receives my top rating and has earned a spot on my Best Reads of 2023.
I do recommend series like this be read in order to really get to know the characters, but Ms. Childs does an excellent job at making new readers feel welcome with enough character history and backstory. So please, while this is the 26th book in the series, don’t hesitate to pick it up. After reading it you may want to go back and read previous books in the series or just wait for the next, Murder in the Tea Leaves will be released on March 5, 2024.
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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.
The Rest of the Series
Great Escapes Praise for Honey Drop Dead (A Tea Shop Mystery)
by Laura Childs
Ms. Childs has outdone herself with this series’s newest book, which is fantastic! I feel like I should bake something now. I am giving five stars to Honey Drop Dead by Laura Childs, and I’m recommending it.
~Baroness’ Book Trove
Honey Drop Dead is well-written with developed characters. This is one of the two series that got me hooked on cozy mysteries. I look forward to each new installment. The whodunit had a good wrap-up at the end.
~The Avid Reader
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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.”