Monday, April 17, 2017

"Pekoe Most Poison" by Laura Childs

In this, her eighteenth tea shop mystery, writer Laura Childs takes a bit of a different turn. I found the characters and the plot both a little edgier this time, and this may be one of my favorite tea shop books of recent years. The story begins with Theodosia and Drayton attending a type of tea I initially thought might be rather off-putting: a rat tea. Instead, I found myself thoroughly intrigued. As Drayton explains it to Theo, "Seventy-five years ago, rat teas were all the rage in Charleston. You see, at the advent of World War Two, our fair city underwent a tremendous population explosion as war workers arrived at the navy shipyard in droves." Drayton goes on to tell her that this growth resulted in super busy downtown merchants, who tossed their trash on the sidewalks, drawing rats. Public health officials led a campaign to get rid of the rats, and society ladies even had "rat teas" to help promote the effort. So Theo and Drayton are guests at a modern-day rat tea complete with wait staff in rat costumes. Alas, the tea hostess's husband meets his ghastly demise at the tea, and so our story begins.

If you've read the tea shop mysteries all along, as many of us have, you've probably noticed by now that Theodosia's personality has shifted and changed over the years. It's a transformation I have particularly enjoyed watching. Today's Theo is stronger and more self-assured than the early Theo, and her skills as both a businesswoman and an amateur sleuth seem to have grown by leaps and bounds.

There's a possible new romantic interest for our heroine as well, and I will keep my fingers crossed that Theo finally gets a steady gentleman caller in the next book. One of our regular players is out of town and thus absent from the tale (no spoilers since some of you may not have read this book yet), and I was surprised to find how much I missed this character.

My only complaint about the tea shop mysteries is that they don't arrive nearly as frequently as I would like, but considering that Laura Childs (aka Gerry Schmitt) has three other series going as well, I guess I can't complain. And to satisfy my thirst for more of her books, I have just added two more of her other cozy mysteries to my reading queue. If you have read Pekoe Most Poison, I'd love to hear whether you enjoyed the book as much as I did! Did you find it a little different from the others?

5 comments:

  1. Rat costumes? I don't think that would be conducive to a delightful tea at all.

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  2. But I'll still read the book!

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  3. I just finished this book over the long weekend. I also noticed that Theodosia and the gang were snarkier in this latest mystery.

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  4. I too enjoy Laura Childs as an author!

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