Tuesday, March 3, 2009
"Oolong Dead" by Laura Childs
Can you believe Laura Childs has now given us 10 of her lovely tea shop mysteries starring Theodosia Browning and the famous Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston? I'll never forget how I discovered them way back in 2001. I was in Scott's Bookstore on the square, waiting to interview a local author who had a huge line of folks waiting to have their books autographed. Never much of a mystery reader, I had landed in a spot next to a rotating rack of paperbacks when I saw the title "Death by Darjeeling" and, at the top, "A Tea Shop Mystery." Now this was a mystery series I might actually enjoy!
And enjoy them I did. From "Death by Darjeeling" on to "Gunpowder Green," "Shades of Earl Grey" and all the rest, I have greatly enjoyed befriending these characters, which is interesting for someone who never read much fiction. So much "tea talk" is woven into these stories, how could a tea lover not like them? After I got hooked on the Laura Childs series, I began reading Jan Karon's Mitford books and Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilts books. It's so nice when an author respects you enough to know you don't need profanity or gratuitous sex and violence in order to be entertained. So I could read a new tea shop mystery about once a month if Laura Childs could turn them out that fast!
And the latest, "Oolong Dead," is one of her best ever. Why? 1) I loved the backdrop social occasion being a Venetian Masked Ball. 2) I totally did not anticipate who the killer was, and I'd been smugly reading along assuming I knew the killer's identity early on. 3) Theodosia has some very good fortune in this book which already has me dying to read the next book in the series. 4) This book seems to include more recipes than usual. I particularly want to try the Green Tea Granita and the Honey Mustard Egg Salad. And in light of the fact Theo's 10th tale has now been told, don't you think it's time her publisher gives us an Indigo Tea Shop Cookbook? I'd sure enjoy having all these recipes in one handy volume!