With titles like Death by Darjeeling, Chamomile Mourning, and Oolong Dead, are Laura Childs’ Tea Shop Mysteries giving tea drinking a bad name? Theodosia Browning, the series’ protagonist and proprietress of the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston’s Historic District, appoints herself the town’s civilian sleuth whenever circumstance warrants it. In The English Breakfast Murder, Theodosia’s obsession with the case should not be pathologized, as she herself retrieves the dead body from the ocean during a Sea Turtle Protection League volunteer session. Sidekicks consist mainly of tea shop employees Haley Parker, the young chef, and Drayton Conneley, a tea-blending specialist.
In addition to her sleuthing, Theodosia’s daily life is filled with ceaseless social events and meddlesome town folks. I have only read The English Breakfast Murder, but I can assure tea lovers that tea is never the culprit. Among the various teas served in The English Breakfast Murder, Chinese Hyson and Chun Mee remind me that I should re-examine my predilection for Japanese green teas.
The English Breakfast Murder is an easy, entertaining read, but I wish the stories of the Indigo Tea Shop and the murder were more intertwined. Unlike some of my friends, I prefer mystery dramatization to mystery books and have been a fan of television series such as Foyle’s War for many years. So how did I come across the Tea Shop Mysteries? Though not fond of Japanese manga, I watch anime from time to time. A few weeks ago, I caught a two-part episode of Case Closed on television, and while searching for the ending installment online, I stumbled upon the provocatively entitled Forbidden Lemon Tea in manga format, which then led me to The English Breakfast Murder. If time permits, why not browse through “File No.9” to see how lemon tea becomes the object of attention in an imagined world?