A New Tea Shop Mystery
Laura Childs’ 26th tea mystery novel, “Honey Drop Dead,” was just released. This latest tea party features honey in the catered goodies provided by the Indigo Tea Room and takes place with actual beehives on site. The dynamic redhead, Theodosia Browning, and her beguiling sidekick, Drayton Conneley, suffer another tea party indignity by having one of their guests murdered as they serve Honey Child tea blend and Glory Bee Scones.
And once again, the lovely and athletic tea shop owner risks her life chasing the murderer from the scene of the crime. Setting down her teapot, she instantly bolts from the tea table across the field, chasing the shooter, who is disguised in a beekeeper outfit.
The Tea Shop Mystery Series is comfortable in the genre of Cozy Mystery Novels. With the comfort of sipping a hot cup while curled up with one of these books, a lot of actual tea information can be had. Child infuses all her stories with fascinating tea education. Having Drayton cast as a Tea Sommelier generates some great fact-sharing for the tea-curious reader.
Additional Special Tea Treats
Childs has some traditional extras that she’s included in each of her 26 tea mystery novels. In “Honey Drop Dead”, she provides ten wonderful tea party recipes, from simple English Biscuits to an elegant Smoked Trout Tea Sandwich. There are also a dozen variations on the basic scone recipe – from sweet to savory. But she highlights one of her special talents by suggesting creative tips for seven different themed tea parties.
Finally, in the “extras” section, she offers four pages of resources for the tea lover and tea party planner. So, even a novice tea lover can impress family and friends with an event that would make Theodosia proud.
Creative New Themed Tea Party
In “Honey Drop Dead,” Childs provided an innovative new party theme in the Indigo Tea Room. Glam Girls Afternoon Tea. Makeover stations that include everything from wigs to eyelashes to makeup. And the menu offers gingerbread scones, almond-orange scones, crab salad tea sandwiches, gouda cheese on potato bead and cucumber cream cheese on rye. Festooned in his starched white shirt and tweed jacket, Drayton pours bottomless teapots of their special Glam Girl Ginger tea and another called Precious Plum.
“Death By Darjeeling”
“Death by Darjeeling,” published in 2001, was Childs’ first Tea Shop Mystery with this description of her heroine;
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.
And it is unlikely that anyone at that time imagined such a long-lived and robust publishing history in this series. But devotees of afternoon tea as a tradition, an event, but also encouraging readers to explore tea drinking as a meaningful lifestyle.
Her books, while comforting and entertaining, are also inspiring to those who have not been previously exposed to artisan, loose-leaf teas or to the fun of themed tea parties. With the new trend to recognize the ways in which new media content influences people to make new and different choices in their lives, it’s important to appreciate how the old-world media landscape continues to play a dynamic role in influencing tea drinkers. Whether it’s to try a new blend or to venture from teabags to loose-leaf tea with Drayton’s elegant prompting, tea can be a lifelong adventure. And a tasty mystery!
And There Will Be More . . .
“Honey Drop Dead” ends with a teaser for Laura Childs’ 27th Tea Shop Mystery – “Murder In The Tea Leaves.” Our spoiler alert is that Theodosia and Drayton find themselves serving tea and treats on a film set that becomes a murder set.
Tea Shop Mystery Series
2. Gunpowder Green ’02
10. Oolong Dead ’09
14.Sweet Tea Revenge ’13
15. Steeped in Evil ’14