What could be more dramatic than Charleston’s Spoleto festival? A body that interrupts the Poet’s Tea at the Heritage Society by landing on the “Almond Cake to Die For.”
Embarrassed baker Theodosia Browning and her Indigo Tea Shop crew, master tea blender Drayton Conneley and pastry chef Haley Parker, are drawn into investigating the mystery of who shot auction house owner Roger Crispin. The main suspect is their friend Gracie Venable, owner of the new millinery shop Beau Geste, who’d been having an affair with Crispin. While Crispin’s wife Simone is using her influence to point the police toward Gracie, Theodosia considers a wide cast of local eccentrics—Simone herself, Roger’s partner, the flamboyant boutique owner Delanie Dish, antique dealer Jester Moody and art dealer Maribo Pratt—none with an obvious motive. Theodosia is blindsided when her boyfriend, lawyer Jory Davis, asks her to marry him and move to New York, then dumps her when she refuses to give up the hunt for the killer. Her unquenchable curiosity keeps her nosing around from Charleston to Savannah and almost gets her killed when she stumbles on the truth.
Not much mystery until the last few chapters, but this homage to the Low Country and all things tea-related will whet your appetite for the ambrosial recipes Childs (The Jasmine Moon Murder, 2004, etc.) has included for afternoon refreshment.