My review of cozy mystery Twisted Tea Christmas by Laura Childs
It’s the week before Christmas as tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier, Drayton, cater a fancy Victorian Christmas party for Miss Drucilla Heyward, one of Charleston’s wealthy doyennes. But smack dab in the middle of the Fa-la-la’s, Miss Drucilla is murdered, her gold rings stolen off her fingers, and a genuine Renoir snatched off the wall.
The police come screaming in while Theodosia peers speculatively at the guests and wonders – whodunit? Urged on by Miss Drucilla’s personal assistant, Theodosia runs a shadow investigation on suspects that include wealthy neighbors, a handyman named Smokey, an unscrupulous art dealer, and the executive directors of two local charities who were in line for donations.
As Theodosia continually finds herself in hot water, she also hosts numerous holiday tea parties, stumbles upon a second dead body, and shelters a cadre of homeless dogs who come to her rescue in the surprise ending. This Tea Shop Mystery is written with pacing, plot twists, and action reminiscent of a thriller and is liberally sprinkled with the magic of Christmas.
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Excerpt from Twisted Tea Christmas
“This is an absolute nightmare,” Drayton continued. “Miss Drucilla was so happy and carefree only a short while ago when she showed us her rings. Five gold rings is how she phrased it. You know, like from that song The Twelve Days of Christmas. But now . . . one can barely comprehend that some monster crept into her party and killed her! Made off with every one of her diamond rings.” He shook his head, unable to process such senseless cruelty and violence.
Theodosia, who’d been eyeing the wall directly behind Drayton, suddenly spoke up. “I’m afraid Miss Drucilla’s collection of rings isn’t the only thing that’s missing.” She lifted a hand and pointed to a conspicuous blank space. “So is the painting that was hanging right there.”
“What!” Drayton cried as he spun around. Others had overheard Theodosia’s words and were staring at the wall as well.
Detective Tidwell’s mouth worked furiously for a few moments as he digested this new revelation. He took a step forward and said, “A painting?” His eyes swept the gallery of paintings that were clustered like large, colorful postage stamps on the wall. He seemed to be confirming the fact that a blank space did indeed exist.
“I swear!” A man’s voice rose in stunned shock. “I think the painting that hung there . . . it was a Renoir!”
My Review of Twisted Tea Christmas
Lots of holiday spirit in this quirky and cute mystery. I really enjoyed the tea room and the various themes of afternoon tea. I read this coming into the holiday season, so it was a nice way of easing toward snow (which some is falling as I write this) and wintery things.
The characters were fun, and the mystery kept me curious throughout. The only thing that pulled me from the reading experience was remembering when this was set. It had a historical vibe, but it was set in modern-day. But then the characters used expressions that were popular fifteen or twenty years ago, so I’d get startled when someone looked something up on their phone.
All in all, worth a read, especially for hardcore cozy fans. And it looks like it’s part of a pretty long series, so if you end up falling in love, there’s plenty more where this came from.
About Laura Childs
Laura Childs is the author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. All have been on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestseller lists. Recently, Book Riot named her mysteries to their list of “25 of the All Time Best Cozy Mystery Series.” In her previous life Laura was CEO of her own marketing firm, authored several screenplays, and produced a reality TV show. She is married to Dr. Bob, a professor of Chinese art history, and has a Chinese Shar-Pei named Lotus.
Find her online:
Laura Childs will be awarding a “Tea Party in a Box,” – a special kit with a tea assortment, English shortbread, chocolates, Laura Childs’ books, and a few more goodies to a randomly drawn winner (USA ONLY) via rafflecopter during the tour.
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