A South Carolina wine-tasting party has a deadly finale.
As the owner of Charleston’s Indigo Tea Shop, Theodosia Browning is no wine expert, but when her tea blender and right-hand man, Drayton Conneley, receives an invitation to an upscale wine-tasting party, she’s happy to go along. Knighthall Winery, owned in part by Drayton’s pal Jordan Knight, is one of several small wineries struggling to produce good wine in the difficult coastal climate. When the crew opens a barrel of their new red, out falls the body of Jordan’s son, Drew. As it turns out, Drew was shot, not drowned in wine. Since the police investigation seems to be going nowhere, Drayton, acting at the behest of Jordan and his wife, Pandora (Drew’s stepmother), begs Theodosia to use her sleuthing skills to crack the case. Theodosia soon learns all is not well at Knighthall. Pandora wants to divorce Jordan and sell her share of the winery to a Japanese liquor distributor. Given the option she holds on Drew’s shares and the help of a minority owner—art gallery owner Andrew Turner—it looks as if she may get her way. Drew had gone through several rounds of drug rehab. His Porsche is missing, and his model girlfriend is acting strangely. Theodosia’s boyfriend, Max, who’s involved in a downtown art walk and a silent auction to raise money for a museum, disapproves of her sleuthing. With her tea shop doing landslide business, especially for special events like her Downton Abbey tea, neither has much spare time. Like a dog with a bone, however, Theodosia can’t let go, and her curiosity leads her into danger.
Fans addicted to Childs’ tea-shop tales (Sweet Tea Revenge, 2013, etc.) and unfazed by the transparent mystery will gobble up her charmingly rendered main characters, loving descriptions of Charleston and appended recipes.