Twisted Tea Christmas
Tea Shop Mystery, Book #23
By Laura Childs
Author Website: laurachilds(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier, Drayton Conneley, are catering a Victorian Christmas party at a swanky mansion in downtown Charleston. Drucilla Heyward, the hostess, is one of the wealthiest women in town.
As the champagne flows and the tea steeps, Drucilla is so pleased with the reception by her partygoers that she reveals her secret plan to Theodosia. The Grande Dame has brought the cream of Charleston society together to reveal that she is planning to give her wealth away to various charitable organizations. However, before she can make the announcement, Theodosia finds her crumpled unconscious in the hallway. It looks like the excitement has gotten to the elderly woman–except that there is a syringe sticking out of her neck. (Goodreads)
Author Laura Childs brings plenty of holiday swag to Twisted Tea Christmas, the twenty-third entry in the charming Tea Shop Mystery Series. Full to the brim with talk of festive themed tea parties and Christmas spirit, with a couple of murders thrown into the holiday eggnog, it is a truly satisfying, cozy mystery.
It’s the week before Christmas and all through the Indigo Tea Shop festivities are planned and decorations are hung. To start this busy holiday schedule, proprietor Theodosia, trusted tea-sommelier Drayton, and chef Haley are catering a lavish party thrown by one of Charleston’s premier society matrons Drucilla Heyward. Just as the hostess is about to gather her guests to announce her plans for distributing her fortune, Theo finds her deceased, her diamond rings missing and a valuable Renoir painting stolen. Theo once again finds herself putting on her sleuthing cap at Drucilla’s personal assistant Pauline’s request. As the body count rises, Theo, with the help of Drayton and the police, tracks down the killer.
After twenty-three books, I still find these mysteries featuring Theo fresh and inviting. The joy of a long running series is that recurring characters begin to feel like friends and family, and, oh, how I wish I could spend a leisurely afternoon with these folks lingering over tea and tasty goodies. Since this book takes place during the Christmas season, there are even more themed teas than usual to drool over. I love all the talk about linens, china patterns, food and tea, and I hope readers appreciate as much as I do the inclusion of recipes and tea ideas and resources in the back of the book. The author’s love of Charleston comes through, and the spirit of the city is beautifully captured within these pages.
As much as I enjoy the theme of this series, the mysteries are always the main draw. That said, I feel like the murders here, though always on Theo’s mind, take a bit of a backseat to all the other goings on. Drucilla seems like a wonderful character, and I feel like she was not the emphasis of the investigation. It seems much more about the missing painting than her unfortunate death. There are quite a few suspects for Theo to weed through, but I was surprised by the killer’s identity…and their motive is a bit lackluster. Don’t take this to mean I did not enjoy this book – I very much did.
Twisted Tea Christmas is ideal reading for readers looking for a book to get them into the holiday spirit. I guarantee you will walk away hungry, both for the glorious tea treats and more adventures featuring Theo and Drayton. Highly recommended!