Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning conceived the idea of a back alley crawl to draw tourists into the area and the evening was a rousing success. Unfortunately, as she walked down the alley to visit one of her best friends, Antiquarian Map Shop owner Daria Shand, she saw Daria murdered in the alley right before Theodosiaís eyes.
To make matters worse, police detective Burt Tidwell suggested that the killer was really aiming for Theodosia as she and Daria were of similar height and shape and the alley was dark.
Grieving the loss of her friend, Theodosia decided she was not going to get involved with the investigation until her Aunt Libby phoned and insisted she help track down the killer. After all, Aunt Libbyís best friend was the mother of the victim.
Theodosia reluctantly decided to at least ask a few questions. Her only clue was the scent of mint that was in the air when she approached her friendís body.
A side story to the main mystery concerns a cottage that Theodosia is purchasing. A human bone was found just off the terrace behind the cottage, and she canít take possession of her new home until the Historical Society has finished digging up her back yard.
Who killed Daria and why, of course, is at the crux of this novel.
The Teaberry Strangler is the 11th in the Tea Shop Mysteries series following the popular Oolong Dead in 2009. In this latest offering, the main characters are again working their shops in Charleston, South Carolina. Drayton, her master brewer and right-hand man and Haley, the tea shopís chef, are major players at Indigo Tea Shop, as is Theodosiaís Dalbrado, Earl Grey. There are a number of other characters from previous books that readers will certainly enjoying seeing again as well as several new to the series.
Best-selling author Laura Childs has provided yet another in a long line of intriguing mysteries. She is also the author of the Cackleberry Club Mysteries and the Scrapbooking Mysteries and has garnered quite a number of cozy mystery fans along the way. Childs is one of the very few cozy mystery authors to hit the New York Times Bestsellers List.
Avid Indigo Tea Shop fans will find this latest offering interesting, although it isnít as much of a mystery as I would have expected. The story reads more like a period-piece set in another time with great detail providing perfect atmosphere for the Charleston-based mystery.
The author provides plenty of information about teas and the gourmet items offered at the tea shop as well as details about the perfumes from the Jardin Perfumerie down the street. And as is usual in many cozies, there are recipes for readers who love to try their hand at creating their own version of the tea shop menu.
Fans of this series will be please to know that the next installment, Scones & Bones, is on its way.
A special thank you goes to Laura Childs and Berkley Prime Crime for providing a complimentary copy of The Teaberry Strangler for review. If you are interested in purchasing a copy, it is available on Amazon.com.