Monday, November 20, 2017

Review: Pekoe Most Poison

Summary: 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… -- Berkley

I will be the first to say that my reading has taken a nosedive since I started working part-time. When you add the upcoming holiday prep and football games that I had to watch this weekend, I knew I needed a light, fun book, so I decided to pick up one of Laura Childs' Tea Shop Mysteries -- PEKOE MOST POISON.

I am a big fan of Laura Childs' cozies and I always can count on her to write entertaining novels. She has an uncanny ability to create intriguing mysteries that take place in a great setting. In addition, she has very likable amateur sleuths. Win win, right?

Although I've read quite a few of Ms. Childs' mysteries, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I had never picked up one of her Tea Shop Mysteries. The main character, Theodosia Browning, owns a tea shop... and I adore all types of tea; and the books take place in Charleston, SC. Given that Ms. Childs' cozies always seem to include recipes and tips, I dug right in.

PEKOE MOST POISON finds Theodosia attending a "Rat Tea" hosted by the socialite Doreen Briggs. The servers were dressed as white-gloved rodents and served the attendees tea and finger sandwiches. You might be asking yourself what a "Rat Tea" is (I sure did!). These parties date back to the early 20th century when the wealthy Charlestonians hosted teas to give attention to rodent control and public health issues.

Doreen's "Rat Tea" turns deadly! At first, it's just a centerpiece catching on fire, but Doreen's husband ends up convulsing... and then dying. It sure seems like poison -- could it be rat poison? Doreen asks Theodosia to begin her own investigation into who would want her beloved husband dead. As Theodosia gets closer and closer to the truth, she finds that whoever is responsible for this murder (and another one!) wants her out of the picture!

I enjoyed PEKOE MOST POISON. It was exactly what I needed to read this busy weekend. It was a quick read with a unique mystery and plenty of suspects. It also had a terrific amateur sleuth in Theodosia -- she's quite the spunky one! All in all, I found this novel lived up to my expectations of a Laura Childs' cozy.

I hate to admit this, but I definitely thought I knew who was responsible for Doreen's husband's death... and I was flat out wrong! I love it when that happens. I think I finally caught on to the murderer and the motive right about the same time that Theodosia did. I liked how the book wrapped up nicely, and I look forward to more of Theodosia's sleuthing as well as her potential romance!

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how much I enjoyed both the setting of Charleston as well as the setting of the Indigo Tea Shop. The author managed to capture the essence of Charleston with her vivid descriptions of the stores and buildings. I also thought it was so much fun to visualize the tea shop and dream about all of the amazing teas they served there. I especially appreciated that there were recipes included in the back of the book as well as lots of tea tips!

PEKOE MOST POISON is an entertaining mystery that's sure to be a hit among cozy fans as well as tea lovers.

Thanks to the author for providing a review copy of this novel.
Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

I always enjoy cozies but can't remember the last time I read one. I need to try one of hers for sure.