A Tea Shop Mystery, Book #17
By Laura Childs
Author’s website: www.Laurachilds.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Catering a high-class trunk show at Heart’s Desire Jewelry is a shining achievement for Theodosia and the Indigo Tea Shop. After all, a slew of jewelers, museums, and private collectors will be there to showcase their wares and sip some of Theo’s best blends. But just as Theo settles in to enjoy the fruits of her labor, the party is crashed by a gang of masked muggers who rob the precious gems and jewels on display. The thieves disappear almost as quickly as they arrived, leaving shattered glass, scattered gemstones, and a dead body in their wake.
Although the last thing Theo wants is to get involved, she can’t help but intercede when her dear friend Brooke, aunt of the victim and owner of Heart’s Desire, begs for help in figuring out who committed the brutal burglary. Though the FBI believes this daring “smash and grab” is the work of an international gang of jewel thieves, Theo is convinced that the felon is someone much closer to home…
Devonshire Scream is a shining gem in the long running Tea Shop Mystery series, sure to please longtime fans and new readers alike.
Theodosia and her Indigo Tea Shop are pleased to provide the catering for local shop Heart’s Desire’s Fine Jewelry Show. Museums, major galleries, and private collectors have all contributed to the showcase and gathered to celebrate the area’s finest baubles. All is going well until an SUV barrels through the storefront, and several robbers appear and completely clear out all of the jewelry. Through the confusion following the thieves’ exit, proprietor Brooke is shocked to find her niece Kaitlyn’s lifeless body among the shattered glass and rubble. She implores Theo to probe for answers and help capture the robbers so that she can find some peace regarding Kaitlyn’s senseless death. When the FBI gets involved, it looks like they are dealing with something potentially much bigger than a single crime of opportunity. Everyone is on high alert with the Historical Society’s Antiquities Show, which will feature an almost priceless Faberge Egg prominently on display, rapidly approaching.
I have been a fan of the Tea Shop Mysteries since the beginning of the series, and this seventeenth installment did not disappoint. No time is wasted getting into the action as the “smash and grab” takes place within the first few pages. Though the tea shop’s affairs slow the action down a bit, as they should – it is a genteel establishment after all, the story never loses the sense of intrigue and excitement that surrounds the prospect of an international gang. Devonshire Scream is unique in that there really is no murder to solve since Kaitlyn’s unfortunate death is a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This made the whole investigation seem more real in a way to me, perhaps because I could easily envision the whole scenario played out in the “real” world.
I have always liked Theodosia and generally find her to be an intelligent, level headed sleuth. However, this time around I caught myself shaking my head in disbelief at some of her thinking and actions. A suspect is a suspect simply because he drives a motorcycle. Really? And she sees no problem with breaking into someone’s home. Really? This is not her regular behavior. That said, I am so happy to see Drayton so involved with the investigation, and I chuckled several times at his and Theo’s antics and interplay. I just love everything about him. Haley is not featured much in this installment, and I missed her. Even Delaine seemed more palatable this time.
The mystery itself is solid, though I did suspect the guilty party early in the story. There are plenty of suspects to keep the plot interesting and subsequent crimes to carry the story forward. But, I’ll be honest, I read these books for the characters, the Charleston setting, and all of the special teas, tidbits, and recipes. I really wish I had a local Indigo Tea Shop to patronize. I learn so much about various varieties of tea featured in each book, and I often seek them out to brew in my own pot.
I highly recommend Devonshire Scream, and the entire Tea Shop series for that matter, to cozy readers everywhere.