Pekoe Most Poison
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In the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs, Theodosia Browning attends a “Rat Tea,” where the mice will play...at murder.
When Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is invited by Doreen Briggs, one of Charleston’s most prominent hostesses, to a “Rat Tea,” she is understandably intrigued. As servers dressed in rodent costumes and wearing white gloves offer elegant finger sandwiches and fine teas, Theo learns these parties date back to early twentieth-century Charleston, where the cream of society would sponsor so-called rat teas to promote city rodent control and better public health.
But this party goes from odd to chaotic when a fire starts at one of the tables and Doreen’s entrepreneur husband suddenly goes into convulsions and drops dead. Has his favorite orange pekoe tea been poisoned? Theo smells a rat.
The distraught Doreen soon engages Theo to pursue a discreet inquiry into who might have murdered her husband. As Theo and her tea sommelier review the guest list for suspects, they soon find themselves drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse...
INCLUDES RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
Pekoe Most Poison by Laura Childs is the eighteenth book in A Tea Shop Mystery series. Theodosia Browning and Drayton Conneley have been invited to a “Rat Tea” by Doreen Briggs. It gives Theo her first glimpse of Calhoun Mansion owned by Doreen and her husband, Beau (well, technically Doreen). Theo is shocked when the door is opened by a man with a rat head on his head and in a blue velvet Edwardian outfit. Doreen went all out for her Rat Tea (the history of this tradition is in the book). Things are progressing smoothly until one of the servers gets too close to a candle at the head table. The centerpiece catches fire, and quick thinking Theo flings tea on the fire. A short time later, Beau Briggs starts coughing, choking and clutching at his throat after drinking his orange pekoe tea. It is soon obvious that Beau was poisoned. After giving her statement to Detective Pete Riley (his boss, Burt Tidwell is away at a conference), Theo heads back to the Indigo Tea Shop. Theo is happy to leave this investigation with the police until she gets a call from Drayton. Drayton, in turn, received a frantic call from Doreen. She is extremely distraught and wants Beau’s death looked into by Drayton and Theo. If Drayton does not get Theo to agree, he will lose the grant money promised to the Heritage Society (which they desperately need) by Doreen (she wants a little quid pro quo). Theo admits (to herself) that she is curious, and agrees to investigate Beau’s death. It does not take long for Theo to be sorry she ever agreed to help the distressed widow. Will Theo find the culprit or end up the killer’s next victim?
Pekoe Most Poison was just a delight to read. I found the book to be well-crafted, easy to read, and contain engaging characters. It was lovely to revisit the Indigo Tea Shop, Theo, Drayton, and friends. I started reading Pekoe Most Poison and quickly found myself engrossed in the story. This is the type of cozy mystery that I love. The mystery was complex with twists and turns (and misdirection). If a reader pays close attention, they will be able to solve the mystery before the killer is revealed. I liked the new romantic interest for Theo. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in future books (for which I hope there are many). I give Pekoe Most Poison 5 out of 5 stars. I wish more authors created cozy mysteries like Pekoe Most Poison (and the other books in this series). I think that Pekoe Most Poison could be read alone, but I believe it would be helpful to read the earlier books in A Tea Shop Mystery. Reading Death by Darjeeling will give you background information on Theodosia, the Indigo Tea Shop, and the other supporting players (Drayton, Hayley, Burt Tidwell). At the end of the book are recipes, tea tips, and resources. The only downfall to Pekoe Most Poison is we must wait a year for another A Tea Shop Mystery.
PEKOE MOST POISON is an entertaining read. With quirky characters, an intriguing mystery, and plenty of humor, the story kept me engrossed and guessing until the end. Cozy mystery fans are sure to enjoy this one.
Disclosure: I won a free copy of this book in a giveaway.