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Death by Darjeeling

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Meet Theodosia Browning, owner of Charleston's beloved Indigo Tea Shop. Patrons love her blend of delicious tea tastings and southern hospitality. And Theo enjoys the full-bodied flavor of a town steeped in history—and mystery... —It's tea for two hundred or so at the annual historic homes garden party. And Theodosia, as event caterer, is busy serving steaming teas and black Meet Theodosia Browning, owner of Charleston's beloved Indigo Tea Shop. Patrons love her blend of delicious tea tastings and southern hospitality. And Theo enjoys the full-bodied flavor of a town steeped in history—and mystery... —It's tea for two hundred or so at the annual historic homes garden party. And Theodosia, as event caterer, is busy serving steaming teas and blackberry scones while guests sing her praises. But the sweet smell of success turns to suspense when an esteemed guest is found dead—his hand clutching an empty teacup. All eyes are on Theo... who is now trying desperately to save her reputation and track down the real killer. If only she can make sense of it all—before someone else takes their last sip...


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Meet Theodosia Browning, owner of Charleston's beloved Indigo Tea Shop. Patrons love her blend of delicious tea tastings and southern hospitality. And Theo enjoys the full-bodied flavor of a town steeped in history—and mystery... —It's tea for two hundred or so at the annual historic homes garden party. And Theodosia, as event caterer, is busy serving steaming teas and black Meet Theodosia Browning, owner of Charleston's beloved Indigo Tea Shop. Patrons love her blend of delicious tea tastings and southern hospitality. And Theo enjoys the full-bodied flavor of a town steeped in history—and mystery... —It's tea for two hundred or so at the annual historic homes garden party. And Theodosia, as event caterer, is busy serving steaming teas and blackberry scones while guests sing her praises. But the sweet smell of success turns to suspense when an esteemed guest is found dead—his hand clutching an empty teacup. All eyes are on Theo... who is now trying desperately to save her reputation and track down the real killer. If only she can make sense of it all—before someone else takes their last sip...

30 review for Death by Darjeeling

  1. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    I know, this series may not be something you expected to see on my shelves. But I can't help it. I'm an old woman at heart. And a tea fanatic. The writing's OK, the mysteries are well within the framework of the genre — nothing to get excited about. But the descriptions of Charleston, and the tea talk, well, it helps me get through Chicago winters, OK?! ;-)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Luffy

    I thought that the length of the book, short as it was, carried the illusion of even more brevity due to the 50 chapters that bisect the prose. Theodosia, our main character, is a tea connoisseur, and that is her trade. The name, obviously of Greek origin, means God's gift. Theodosia had friends and strangers, one of whom was her enemy, and the murderer. That's a given. The death of the unfortunate person occurs around 30 % into the book. The verdict that it was quickened b I thought that the length of the book, short as it was, carried the illusion of even more brevity due to the 50 chapters that bisect the prose. Theodosia, our main character, is a tea connoisseur, and that is her trade. The name, obviously of Greek origin, means God's gift. Theodosia had friends and strangers, one of whom was her enemy, and the murderer. That's a given. The death of the unfortunate person occurs around 30 % into the book. The verdict that it was quickened by poison occurs at 60%. The pacing must have encountered a panel of advisers with the author, because it's perfect and I loved reading most parts of it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Kay

    ★★★★☆ Yes, finally started this interesting series. What is not to love? Tea, mystery, and South Carolina! Some people won't like all the tea facts, but I gulped them down. I studied the art of tea for one of my cultural classes in collage and drink tea everyday. There were a few bumps, but I'm more than happy with this book that satisfies my arduous "double-decker" challenge. I'll be continuing with the series, though I'll seek them out at the library.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    I spotted the "Tea Shop Mystery" series piled on a table at a friend's house and borrowed them, as I was in the mood for a "cozy" mystery, and the trio of paperbacks also promised "Scrumptious recipes." Mysteries *and* recipes! What could be better? I have now read Gunpowder Green, Shades of Earl Grey, and The English Breakfast Murder (but not the first of the series, Death by Darjeeling). The titles are unavoidable, of course, but they also could definitely be better books. Worse, the recipes t I spotted the "Tea Shop Mystery" series piled on a table at a friend's house and borrowed them, as I was in the mood for a "cozy" mystery, and the trio of paperbacks also promised "Scrumptious recipes." Mysteries *and* recipes! What could be better? I have now read Gunpowder Green, Shades of Earl Grey, and The English Breakfast Murder (but not the first of the series, Death by Darjeeling). The titles are unavoidable, of course, but they also could definitely be better books. Worse, the recipes tend to be too frou-frou for my taste (though I might try out the Sweet Potato Muffins). The books are *very* firmly set in the historic district of Charleston, South Carolina. Having read them, I now know a great deal about the historic district of Charleston. It seems charming, but if any of the people living there are black, none of the characters is tactless enough to mention the fact. I have also learned a lot about tea and service dogs, and I'd actually love to visit Theodosia Browning's tea shop, at least as long as Delaine Dish, the annoying clothing shop owner, stayed away. But I've also learned several things about how not to write a book. For example, sentences depicting the main character's thought processes should not be repeatedly concluded "Theodosia decided." It makes very little sense and gets annoying. In addition, if you're using the close third-person point of view, and the point of view shifts away from the main character, there should be a discernible reason for it. Also, the reader feels cheated if the point of view shifts into a suspect's head and the suspect's thoughts deliberately mislead the reader - especially when the amateur sleuth's investigations proceed to have exactly the same effect. Overall, though, these are perfectly workmanlike examples of their type - that type being what I might call the Topical Mystery. The reader is assumed to want to be fed (pardon the pun) tidbits of knowledge about a consistent subject - here, it's tea, and also Charleston - as well as whatever's needful for the plot (antiques and related subjects come in a lot in this series). This is the model that Dick Francis used to extraordinary effect. Childs' efforts tend to be clunkier; more forced, somehow. It probably doesn't help, from my point of view, that I'm not interested in Theodosia's thoughts about fashion or decorating her shop and apartment, or even her relationship with her lawyer boyfriend. In fact, nearly *everything* Theodosia encounters seems to be an excuse for a mini-lecture, and that's just taking the technique too far. On the other hand, I did become quite fond of Theodosia, and her employee-friends Drayton (who has *got* to be gay but is so-tastefully never caught on screen with a man) and Haley (perpetual student and baking wizard). Overall, in fact, the characters are the best features of the books. The mysteries are perfectly adequate and even credibly constructed. The biggest treat, though, is Burt Tidwell, Charleston police detective and the epitome of "not a people person." His peculiar relationship with the amateur Theo (you couldn't call it "friendship" but it's definitely not hostility either) is the most interesting part of the book - something that is actually *not* smooth and civil and all surface value. All in all, I'd say: Good beach reads, especially for people who haven't developed my rudimentary editor's eye.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kathie H

    Oh dear, where do I start? This was a selection for our Goodreads "cozy mysteries" book club (our July author was Laura Childs). I wanted to like it. I love tea & love the idea of the owner of a teashop as the protagonist for a mystery series. Childs has an issue with writing in complete sentences. Also, she has an odd way of changing well-known phrases into you-almost-got-it-right word groups. For example, instead of saying "dribs & drabs," she uses "drips & drops." Inste Oh dear, where do I start? This was a selection for our Goodreads "cozy mysteries" book club (our July author was Laura Childs). I wanted to like it. I love tea & love the idea of the owner of a teashop as the protagonist for a mystery series. Childs has an issue with writing in complete sentences. Also, she has an odd way of changing well-known phrases into you-almost-got-it-right word groups. For example, instead of saying "dribs & drabs," she uses "drips & drops." Instead of "slapdash" she says "slap-dab." I got to the point where I was convinced she just needed a decent editor. She wrote, "Rounded cobblestones poked at the soft leather soles of her Todd loafers..." She meant Tod's loafers. http://www.tods.com/en_us/ She uses "noodled" instead of "doodled." Referring to the classic Parker Brothers board game Clue, a character says, "Mr. Mustard in the library, so to speak." No, it's Colonel Mustard. Little things like this are so easy to research (for the author) & should be double-checked or corrected (by the editor). One loose end that wasn't properly tied up was the character who had a romantic interest in Theodosia. He just rather faded away, instead of there being a substantive exchange between the characters to provide closure for the reader. Some things I enjoyed were the descriptions of exotic kinds of tea, & the charming city of Charleston, South Carolina (where the story takes place). I like the idea of an ensemble of characters who work in the tea shop & share a sense of ownership & camaraderie. This is the first book in the Theodosia Browning Tea Shop Mystery series. I also bought the first in the Scrapbooking Mystery series, Keepsake Crimes (which I haven't read). Both books are going to Goodwill.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I am currently reading the fifth in this series. Great bedtime reading. Light with a modicum of murder, very well done. Gives the flavor of Charleston as a very historic city. With the tea shop as a base Theodosia gets into a lot of fixes and barely gets the killers.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Sometimes being a writer is burdensome to being a reader.. On the plus side, Ms. Childs infused (no pun intended!) "Death by Darjeeling" with a distinctive sense of place--I'd love to have a cuppa in that tea shop! Especially if the fun character Drayton Connelley is there to pour and have a chat about the properties of tea. On the critique side.. "Death" could have benefitted from a few read-throughs by a good writing group. If you're an avid reader who delights in a Sometimes being a writer is burdensome to being a reader.. On the plus side, Ms. Childs infused (no pun intended!) "Death by Darjeeling" with a distinctive sense of place--I'd love to have a cuppa in that tea shop! Especially if the fun character Drayton Connelley is there to pour and have a chat about the properties of tea. On the critique side.. "Death" could have benefitted from a few read-throughs by a good writing group. If you're an avid reader who delights in a well-wrought mystery, this one might drive you a bit nuts. But if you just read for enjoyment and don't invest too much emotional capital in nitpicky craft, Drayton and the lovely locations will suit you to a "tea." ;) And on the critics side: I've seen several reviews criticizing this book for its extensive passages about tea, tea history, and methods of serving tea. Um..excuse me? It's a TEA SHOP mystery! If you're going to be bored by tea, you're in the wrong place! In conclusion: Now I really need a cuppa Earl Grey. :)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Book Concierge

    Theodosia Browning and her staff at the Indigo Tea Shop are catering a garden party during Charleston’s historic homes Lamplighter Tour. As the guests depart and they are cleaning up, one young helper discovers a guest has died. But what looks like a heart attack turns out to be murder, and the tea he was drinking puts the focus on Theo’s business. This is a good cozy mystery. I like how Childs took time to build the relationships among the tea shop’s employees, and other characters – the detect Theodosia Browning and her staff at the Indigo Tea Shop are catering a garden party during Charleston’s historic homes Lamplighter Tour. As the guests depart and they are cleaning up, one young helper discovers a guest has died. But what looks like a heart attack turns out to be murder, and the tea he was drinking puts the focus on Theo’s business. This is a good cozy mystery. I like how Childs took time to build the relationships among the tea shop’s employees, and other characters – the detective, attorney, and other nearby shop owners. Theo’s efforts to ferret out the truth seems reasonable and, except for one snooping episode, she doesn’t appear to take chances with overtly risky behavior. There are plenty of suspects, and a couple of red herrings to keep the reader guessing, although I did spot the culprit fairly quickly. Still, it was fun to watch Theo and the police arrive at the appropriate conclusion. I’ll keep reading this series.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Chaitra

    Death by Darjeeling started out pretty well, but turned lame around midway. just when I was thinking that it didn't follow any of the clichés that cozies with middle aged protagonists employed too. Heh. I will never read a cozy that I like unconditionally. (Flavia de Luce excepted). The middle aged heroine of this novel is Theodosia Browning, who runs the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, SC. This was an immediate win for me. I like tea, and I visited Charleston some years ago and immedi Death by Darjeeling started out pretty well, but turned lame around midway. just when I was thinking that it didn't follow any of the clichés that cozies with middle aged protagonists employed too. Heh. I will never read a cozy that I like unconditionally. (Flavia de Luce excepted). The middle aged heroine of this novel is Theodosia Browning, who runs the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, SC. This was an immediate win for me. I like tea, and I visited Charleston some years ago and immediately fell in love with it. The description of Charleston is one of the better parts of the book, even after it turned lame. I digress. Returning to the novel, there is a dead body of a particularly ruthless real estate guy, who makes ugly condos and ruins the ambience of the town. He's eyeing Theo's building, and he is drinking her tea when he falls down dead. She isn't much of a suspect, but a nervous young lady helping her out that day is. And Theo will do anything to protect her - even nosing around to solve the murder. The clichés I was happy this book didn't follow, even after it turned lame. 1. The lady knows how to use a computer. Oh, thank heavens. I don't think I could read another book about how our charming lady of the 21st century sees a desktop and goes "What is that funny looking box?" That charm gets old real quick. Theo is aware of and uses internet to search all the good stuff about her prime suspect and nobody has to show her how to turn on her computer or printer or whatever. 2. Theo doesn't go around accusing people of being the murderer. She also doesn't eliminate suspects by asking them upfront if they did it and believing them if they said no. Seriously, this happens in more books than I care to remember. Theo does some old fashioned snooping, and staying (mostly) out of her suspects' notice. But, there is also #2 in the next section. 3. She shares information with her clique and they work this thing together. Too many dumb heroines don't do that, and they don't do that over and over again, even after they've been brought to death's door. She also needlessly doesn't expose anyone to danger. She receives a threat to her dog, and removes it immediately from her house to her aunt's where the dog will be safe. The clichés that it did follow, lamely. 1. The unending information dump about the small business Theo runs. I like tea. But, I don't want to know about how to steep every single blend that her store owns. Even before someone can say T, Theo is already running on about the history, the price and the nutritional information on the package of the tea. This gets super bugging. Get to mystery, lady. 2. Theo jumps to conclusions based on "Clues". This is THE unavoidable cliché. Hey, he knows about poisonous tree frogs, so he must be the killer! This guy's eyes go all googly when the dead guy is mentioned, so he must be it! That fellow's has an anger management issue, he must be the one. Well, at least she keeps it in and doesn't do "Confrontation!". 3. The ending. I had an idea that the killer might be the killer, but this was basic guesswork. As in every other cozy, the ending has exactly zero things to do with the actual book. We're given a basic set of clues, and a set of characters with motives to commit murder. There are also a few (mostly just one, except for the heroine) characters with no motive established within the book. This is the killer. Honestly, the whole 'I don't want anyone to guess who the killer is, so I won't place them even remotely in the shadow of suspicion' doesn't work - not here, not in other cozies. It just makes your book lame. 4. The absurdly amazing love interest and the other guy. Just when I was thinking Theo is a self sufficient gal who doesn't need male validation, enter love interest from stage left. He is handsome, he knows his stuff, likes tea (which is a requirement obviously), even cooks adorably. And all of a sudden Theo is basking under the attention of a rival guy who is also handsome and knows his stuff and so on. In this book at least, we're left under the impression that he's a creepazoid. 5. Someone suspects Theo even though he has no sane reason to do so. Self explanatory. In fact, he's established as a really great crime solver, but in this case gets exposed as a complete chump. Even the writing in the book felt weird. It's like Childs lost the plot around midway and dumped a whole lot of information and plot threads all dangling around like so many... things that dangle. There are weird perspective changes in the middle of scenes. One minute you are following Theo walking around the block and the next you are following the guy who's following Theo for like two lines and then the guy is never heard of again. This is cyclic, confusing, and all around bad writing. I've actually no idea why this is a two star read, when it's closer to a one star. I have even less of an idea as to why I've written a novel length review for a book that actually doesn't deserve even a line. Oh well. It's been that kind of a day.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    I was so hoping to fall in love with this series, as it seemingly contained all the elements of things I enjoy. Whilst there is nothing wrong or bad about this book there is nothing endearing about it either - its dull and sadly boring. Characters are underdevelped, plots are thin and chapters are strangely formated. It may not help that at the same time I am reading a Kate Morton book. These two authors are poles apart - whilst Morton is a blockbuster big screen release, Childs is a lazy Sunday I was so hoping to fall in love with this series, as it seemingly contained all the elements of things I enjoy. Whilst there is nothing wrong or bad about this book there is nothing endearing about it either - its dull and sadly boring. Characters are underdevelped, plots are thin and chapters are strangely formated. It may not help that at the same time I am reading a Kate Morton book. These two authors are poles apart - whilst Morton is a blockbuster big screen release, Childs is a lazy Sunday afternoon episode of Murder She Wrote.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This was a delightful introduction to a new-to-me series. Theodosia Browning owns the Indigo Tea Shop, selling teas from around the world and supplies for brewing. But when a catered affair turns deadly, what's brewing for Theodosia and her staff is a world of hurt, and a rich mystery. Theodosia knows that she must solve this mystery and find a killer to clear the names of everyone on her staff! Plenty of twists and turns in this book, and I never guessed whodunit! I learned a LOT abo This was a delightful introduction to a new-to-me series. Theodosia Browning owns the Indigo Tea Shop, selling teas from around the world and supplies for brewing. But when a catered affair turns deadly, what's brewing for Theodosia and her staff is a world of hurt, and a rich mystery. Theodosia knows that she must solve this mystery and find a killer to clear the names of everyone on her staff! Plenty of twists and turns in this book, and I never guessed whodunit! I learned a LOT about different teas and how to brew them, and there are recipes included! Only one in the first book, but more in subsequent ones. No cat, darn it, but a sweet dog, Earl Grey.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    This is the first book of the teashop mystery series which introduces Theo Browning and the mystery that started her sleuthing. A wide variety of characters that you feel like you know. Well described atmosphere and surroundings in Charleston, South Carolina. Lets not forget her special dog Earl Grey. See if you can figure out who the guilty party is. Enjoy

  13. 4 out of 5

    Darlene

    The first book in the Tea Shop Mystery series, "Death by Darjeeling" , is just about what you would expect from a cozy mystery. This story comes with quirky characters, an interesting and historical setting.. in this case, the historic district in Charleston, South Carolina.... and of course, this a murder to start things off. Theodosia Browning (who was named for Theodosia Alston, wife of former governor, Joseph Alston and daughter of former vice-president Aaron Burr), is the owner of the Indi The first book in the Tea Shop Mystery series, "Death by Darjeeling" , is just about what you would expect from a cozy mystery. This story comes with quirky characters, an interesting and historical setting.. in this case, the historic district in Charleston, South Carolina.... and of course, this a murder to start things off. Theodosia Browning (who was named for Theodosia Alston, wife of former governor, Joseph Alston and daughter of former vice-president Aaron Burr), is the owner of the Indigo Tea Shop , which is a quaint shop located in in the old historic district of Charleston. Theodosia is preparing to cater a garden party which is part of the Annual Tour of historic homes. She and her staff... Bethany, Haley and Drayton Connelly (a master tea blender and taster), are hard at work putting together their own Lamplighter Blend for the garden party. When the night of the garden party arrives, in attendance were a 'who's who' of Charleston society.. many of the old families of Charleston along with members of the Heritage Society. The evening was progressing nicely until Hughes Barron, a well known real estate developer was found dead, clutching his tea cup. As the investigation proceeds, suspicion falls on Theodosia. After all, it was HER party and her own special tea blend being served to the guests. So Theodosia does what anyone would do (or at least what ALL characters under suspicion in the cozy mystery genre do!).... she becomes an amateur sleuth, trying to find the killer so she can put the matter to rest once and for all. Theodosia assembles her own list of potential suspects and systematically goes about trying to eliminate them. Unfortunately, a person who does not make the list starts to become very worried and begins to feel threatened; and Theodosia finds herself in grave danger. I enjoyed reading the first book in this series. Theodosia and her staff were a unique group of characters... right down to her rescue dog, "Earl Grey'. Theodosia seemed an intelligent and street smart woman so it did bother me a bit that she completely overlooked the very person who turned out to be the killer... it seemed perhaps something done for plot purposes but to me, it didn't really match what I knew about her character. All in all, this was an entertaining mystery which takes place in a very old and beautiful historic city of the Old South. I believe I will ultimately read other books in this series.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sensitivemuse

    What can I say but that I absolutely loved this book. Everything about it just got me so wrapped up in Theo's Indigo Tea Shop and the mystery itself was intriguing in its' own little way I had to read this from cover to cover. Everything about it was just so "cozy". I loved the different descriptions about tea, and being a tea lover myself am now in the look out for new teas to try. Aside from the wonderful tea descriptions and the desserts that went along with it, the mystery was a fun read. No What can I say but that I absolutely loved this book. Everything about it just got me so wrapped up in Theo's Indigo Tea Shop and the mystery itself was intriguing in its' own little way I had to read this from cover to cover. Everything about it was just so "cozy". I loved the different descriptions about tea, and being a tea lover myself am now in the look out for new teas to try. Aside from the wonderful tea descriptions and the desserts that went along with it, the mystery was a fun read. Nothing too flashy and sensational. However there were proper moments of suspense and intrigue which kept the reader going and more engrossed to keep reading some more. I loved the characters in the book. The suspects were believable and each had a motive for murder. I liked Theo and her staff at the tea shop who supported her through her investigation. They were all likable characters (although I found Drayton to be a particular favorite as he was the actual tea connoisseur). As for the real murderer and the solving of the case, I thought I had guessed correctly but I was blindsided and it wasn't who I expected it to be. There were a couple of questions I would like to have answered but I figured they would wait until the next book or two to see what would happen to certain characters I'm curious about. Plot flow was good and interesting. Nothing distracting to take away from the main theme. Theo is a great strong character and her determination to solve this case and save the reputation of her business and friend makes her even more likeable and noble. Overall a wonderful mystery cozy! this will definitely be a series I will continue reading. I recommend this for cozy mystery lovers and tea aficionados alike.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    In the middle of reading this book I got to thinking about why I read so many series similar to this one in which the mystery is not extraordinary and the characters are similar. I suppose it’s the appeal of escaping the tensions of the day by reading about women (usually) who have left behind a stressful job or have been widowed/divorced and open up a tea/coffee/book shop. And they aren’t taxing or gut wrenching stories. Just a nice diversion at the end of a stressful week, which allows me to l In the middle of reading this book I got to thinking about why I read so many series similar to this one in which the mystery is not extraordinary and the characters are similar. I suppose it’s the appeal of escaping the tensions of the day by reading about women (usually) who have left behind a stressful job or have been widowed/divorced and open up a tea/coffee/book shop. And they aren’t taxing or gut wrenching stories. Just a nice diversion at the end of a stressful week, which allows me to live vicariously, enjoying the idea of having a coffee shop, tea shop, or book store without the long hours and worry of bringing in customers. This book is very much in this category. Theodosia Browning gave up advertising to run a teashop in Charleston. It’s a world of southern gentility except that someone has slipped some poison in a cup of Darjeeling belonging to a highly unpopular developer. Theodosia becomes involved in trying to solve this murder in order to help out an employee who is under suspicion. If you enjoy tea, this book has a great deal of information about blending varieties, brewing, etc. It’s good for passing the time, and had me looking for a brown betty.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gem

    I enjoyed this cozy, it's one I've wanted to read for a while. Cozy mysteries are easy read "comfort foods," so to speak and I do love a good cup of tea, so this seems like it would be right up my alley. I found the character development a bit lacking and I'm hoping as the series continues the characters will be developed better. I'm really glad that I didn't see the "who done it" coming. I initially though it was one particular character, however that was the "obvious" person and that would hav I enjoyed this cozy, it's one I've wanted to read for a while. Cozy mysteries are easy read "comfort foods," so to speak and I do love a good cup of tea, so this seems like it would be right up my alley. I found the character development a bit lacking and I'm hoping as the series continues the characters will be developed better. I'm really glad that I didn't see the "who done it" coming. I initially though it was one particular character, however that was the "obvious" person and that would have been a disappointment. The mystery itself keep me guessing until the last minute, and that's the kind of cozy I enjoy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kathy McC

    Found my new fun series. Light-hearted, clever, and filled with information about tea.

  18. 5 out of 5

    FictionForesight

    Review Originally Posted At: FictionForesight Theodosia Browning is a retired advertising mogul who decided to get into a more relaxing position as owner of the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston. Her quiet life is turned upside down, however, when a guest at an esteemed party is found dead, still clutching his teacup filled with her blend of tea. Will Theodosia be able to solve his murder in order to absolve her tea shop's reputation? This murder mystery started out like a nice, well blended, ful Review Originally Posted At: FictionForesight Theodosia Browning is a retired advertising mogul who decided to get into a more relaxing position as owner of the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston. Her quiet life is turned upside down, however, when a guest at an esteemed party is found dead, still clutching his teacup filled with her blend of tea. Will Theodosia be able to solve his murder in order to absolve her tea shop's reputation? This murder mystery started out like a nice, well blended, full-leaf tea. We had a good setting, a nice cast of characters, and a plot that was predictable but refreshing. However, the taste was quickly muddled when Laura Childs throws in overly flowered language, which drowns out poor Theodosia's character. It ends on a bitter note, with the murderer discovered without many hints along the way. The best part of this book was how different Theodosia Browning is compared to other cozy mystery leading ladies. She is smart, knows how to use a computer, recognizes when it is time to back off of a case in order to protect those around her, and doesn't really need a man to help her, but doesn't hate men either. Theodosia is, instead, a smart businesswoman who just wants to solve a murder mystery so that people will stop thinking that her special blend of tea, Lamplight Blend, is poisonous. The unfortunate part is that she is surrounded by characters made from cookie cutters. The two girls, otherwise known as 20 somethings, are vapid and flat. They not only rely on Theodosia for everything, like getting Bethany's job back, but they're portrayed as being teenagers even though they're nearing their thirties. Maybe Theodosia sees them this way, but it is odd none-the-less. Then you have Drayton, who is supposedly “flamboyant,” but the poor man just likes his tea. He's a tea connoisseur and he is proud of that fact. I don't see where flamboyant enters the picture, being that he doesn't really do much besides taste tea, blend tea, and basically run the tea shop when Theodosia is playing detective. I'd say he deserves a raise. I mentioned I don't like the writing earlier, but that isn't to say it's horrible. Rather, Childs has a way of wanting to explain everything in minute detail without ever really thinking about the effect on the flow of the plot. She would rather we hear three or four adjectives to describe the setting, with furniture and extraneous details included, than continue the story at a decent pace in some key areas. Now, this is more stylistic than anything. I know other people love it and feel that it is a good show of world creation. I respect it, I just feel it is a bit cluttered. There are instances when the exposition could be cut and replaced with more developed plot lines. For instance, a key suspect showed us that he knew she was following him. It never really panned out to more than one or two inclusions that added little to the plot. Also there was a suitor who apparently became obsessed with Theodosia, and the end of that side story was pretty confusing and a little disappointing. Other than a few instances of showing attraction, there was nothing to make the reader believe that story line. Also, there was a second suitor who ends up going on a date with Theodosia at the very end. We only see him mentioned a few times, but then he hires a private security guard for her after someone threatens her dog, Earl Grey. It just feels like there was a lot of implied conversations and bonding up to that point that we never got to see. Either that or Theodosia is one heck of a charmer. To sum up, I would recommend this to anyone looking for a nice, cozy mystery that also has a relatively strong female protagonist. Just beware if you don't like flowery language. (www.FictionForesight.com)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

    I went on a shopping spree last year to the local independent used bookstore and grabbed up a lot of first books in several cozy series - tea focused (this one), coffee shop themed, bookstore themed, random themes. What a nice but expensive day that turned out to be. This one drew my eye because it focused on tea - of which I'm a fan - but I went to into aware of mixed reviews and ratings. It turned out pretty good for an introduction into a typical cozy world. A lot of these series s I went on a shopping spree last year to the local independent used bookstore and grabbed up a lot of first books in several cozy series - tea focused (this one), coffee shop themed, bookstore themed, random themes. What a nice but expensive day that turned out to be. This one drew my eye because it focused on tea - of which I'm a fan - but I went to into aware of mixed reviews and ratings. It turned out pretty good for an introduction into a typical cozy world. A lot of these series start out mediocre for some reason, although I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because they tend to follow tropes and formula to remain a cozy mystery genre fitter, much like traditional romances and little drama-filled harlequins. Something unique is always welcome, and I don't mean the setting or theme (like tea or bookstore), but something unique about the characters or the writing style. Unfortunately this book doesn't offer much new in that department...the characters are typical of other series and it doesn't choose to deviate too much from the basics. Still, the mystery is strong enough and that's the main point of these. There were clues, directions, an investigation, and satisfying conclusion that makes sense. There's that potential love interest that has yet to take off, fun companion characters that add warmth to the combo, an independent protagonist who ends up in the end of trouble but handles it well. This cozy will suit those who like Southern lit, food or drink related themes, small town feel, and of course tea enthusiasts. Unlike the book I tried in another tea series, Ghost Of A Chance, this one avoids tea bags and seems to actually know about tea. It was a delight to see the different combinations came up with, the creative names for parties and festivals, brewing tips, and familiar and unfamiliar names. That made it worth reading for tea collectors. The one recipe included was weak (tea infused eggs) compared to the delicious pastries and such the novel made me crave.

  20. 5 out of 5

    C.

    It’s a treat to be carried away for the first time by a new narrator. Settings grow on you, at other times you can tell at once whether they are... wait for it... ‘your cup of tea’! I’m niggardly about a few aspects but feel I’ll enjoy this long-standing series. The first thing I loved about “Death By Darjeeling” is that 'Theodosia Browning' is an independent beauty of nearly 40. We don’t see enough full-grown adults in fiction; who aren’t coated in sarcasm. She left marketing for her own business. Some readers were dubi“Death It’s a treat to be carried away for the first time by a new narrator. Settings grow on you, at other times you can tell at once whether they are... wait for it... ‘your cup of tea’! I’m niggardly about a few aspects but feel I’ll enjoy this long-standing series. The first thing I loved about “Death By Darjeeling” is that 'Theodosia Browning' is an independent beauty of nearly 40. We don’t see enough full-grown adults in fiction; who aren’t coated in sarcasm. She left marketing for her own business. Some readers were dubious about this. It isn’t implausible to trade frenzy, or money to fulfill what you’d rather do. I’m doing that. I like the balance Theodosia strikes between professionalism from her team and loyal friendship. Her Aunt is my favourite character, whom she cherishes as a Mother figure. An extended home really rounds out a personality. Too many mystery cast mates are snide. I rejoiced that there is no eye-rolling to taint enjoyment, at the tea shop or elsewhere! The source of irritation and incredulity was with ‘Haley’s roommate, ‘Bethany’. She was overwrought from being widowed, determined to establish a curator’s career. Nonetheless it gives no credibility to being tearful about losing a job held one week. Then she sobbed merely because Theodosia asked if she could trust a guy, dated once and known one day! That was off-putting. Contrary to some remarks, this book was all about a mystery. Clues did point to a villain. I agree that one connection was mentioned late and was impossible to know. However it was hinted that killers attend victims’ funerals and there was a suspect in attendance at every event. Theodosia most certainly investigated the poisoned guest actively. I love the personality of the handsome lawyer, who helps uncover information.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Angela Holland

    This was a re-read for me and luckily I don't remember what I read especially if it has been years. I enjoyed this book every bit as much as I do the scrapbooking mysteries that Laura writes. I can't wait to continue on with this series. The characters are fun, the tea shop is quaint and I enjoy the all the talk about the different teas. Laura Childs has a knack for giving us such vivid descriptions. The teas she describes have such fun names and sound so tasty that I would love to find them to This was a re-read for me and luckily I don't remember what I read especially if it has been years. I enjoyed this book every bit as much as I do the scrapbooking mysteries that Laura writes. I can't wait to continue on with this series. The characters are fun, the tea shop is quaint and I enjoy the all the talk about the different teas. Laura Childs has a knack for giving us such vivid descriptions. The teas she describes have such fun names and sound so tasty that I would love to find them to try. The descriptions of Charleston make you able to "see" the places she is talking about and want to visit to see them with your own eyes. The historical churches she mentions sound so nice that I want to research them to see them. I am sure the rest of the series will be just as good as Laura has never written a book I have not been happy with.

  22. 4 out of 5

    BLynne

    I enjoyed this book. I found it to be fun read and rather educational regarding all the different types of teas in the world. I liked the lead character, Theodosia and her cast of employee. This book seemed well written and I am looking forward to reading the next one in this series.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    I really enjoyed this first book of the series. Although I'm not a hot tea drinker I want to visit this tea shoppe and have a nice visit. I'm looking forward to reading on in this series.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tricia

    Writing, plot, character development, "twist," and honestly the entire genre is all Meh. Sorry, not my cup of tea (HAHAHA).

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    3.5 Stars. I was in the mood for a cozy and have been nosing around several series trying to find one I liked. I really enjoyed this very Miss Marple-ish but with a much younger protagonist mystery surrounding the death of a property developer reviled by the genteel long-time inhabitants of Charleston, SC (and if there’s anything I’ve learned from watching 20 seasons of Midsomer Murders, it’s that property developers threaten village traditions and usually wind up the first dead body of any epis 3.5 Stars. I was in the mood for a cozy and have been nosing around several series trying to find one I liked. I really enjoyed this very Miss Marple-ish but with a much younger protagonist mystery surrounding the death of a property developer reviled by the genteel long-time inhabitants of Charleston, SC (and if there’s anything I’ve learned from watching 20 seasons of Midsomer Murders, it’s that property developers threaten village traditions and usually wind up the first dead body of any episode). I also liked all the tea shop scenes. The writing didn’t blow me away but it wasn’t too awful either. Theodosia is a character I’d like to read more of in future books.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rachel N.

    Theodosia Browning runs a tea shop in Charleston, South Carolina. While catering an event for the Lamplighter house tour a guest is found dead with a cup of Theo's tea in hand. Theo then starts investigating the murder to clear the name of one of her store employees. There is a lot of random tea information in the book. I liked Theo and her employees and her dog Earl Grey. The author randomly skips out of Theo's thoughts and into other characters thoughts for a paragraph at a time in the middle Theodosia Browning runs a tea shop in Charleston, South Carolina. While catering an event for the Lamplighter house tour a guest is found dead with a cup of Theo's tea in hand. Theo then starts investigating the murder to clear the name of one of her store employees. There is a lot of random tea information in the book. I liked Theo and her employees and her dog Earl Grey. The author randomly skips out of Theo's thoughts and into other characters thoughts for a paragraph at a time in the middle of a chapter and then goes right back to Theo's thoughts which really annoyed me after awhile.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I wish i could find a cozy mystery series that didn’t make me cringe or roll my eyes. I really love the idea. A light mystery in a cozy setting. The mystery was solved abruptly and there was no wrap up. And the characters seemed lifeless.. Maybe they get more fleshed out through the series. I’ll give it a few more tries.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Danny Reid

    Less a murder mystery (six chapters from the end and the hero is busy doing inventory, for chrissake), this is more a languid Charleston travelogue crossed with tea porn.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joan Mueller

    Loved this tea shop mystery. It was a complex puzzle to determine who was the murderer out of the new characters who were introduced? It had just the right amount of drama

  30. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Good solid mystery, with tea information included, even recipes! Sort of a Murder She Wrote, I actually read the first three in this series in one volume. Someday I will read more of them.

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