When Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is invited by Doreen Briggs, one of Charleston’s most prominent hostesses, to a “Rat Tea,” she is understandably intrigued. As servers dressed in rodent costumes and wearing white gloves offer elegant finger sandwiches and fine teas, Theo learns these parties date back to early twentieth-century Charleston, where the cream of society would sponsor so-called rat teas to promote city rodent control and better public health.
But this party goes from odd to chaotic when a fire starts at one of the tables and Doreen’s entrepreneur husband suddenly goes into convulsions and drops dead. Has his favorite orange pekoe tea been poisoned? Theo smells a rat.
The distraught Doreen soon engages Theo to pursue a discreet inquiry into who might have murdered her husband. As Theo and her tea sommelier review the guest list for suspects, they soon find themselves drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse…
Genre: Cozy Mystery
My Rating: (4 stars)
After attending a rat-themed tea party and watching the host drop dead before her eyes, Theo is urged to investigate the murder by her business partner who is hoping to gain a donation from the widow to keep his charitable foundation afloat. Not sure if she can even rule out the widow, Theo’s list of suspects seems to grow exponentially as the investigation continues.
I really enjoy the main characters in this series, and Theo seems to have a better head on her shoulders than a lot of amateur sleuths. She’s logical, intelligent, and not likely to needlessly put herself or those she cares about in harm’s way. The mystery also kept me guessing – I didn’t figure out who did it before Theo did.
I haven’t read all 18 books in this series, but I have enjoyed the ones I’ve read, and this entry was no exception. Long time fans are sure to love this one. Even if you are new to the series you can jump right in and enjoy this story – it’s easy enough to pick up on the relationships between the main characters fairly quickly.
About the Author
Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she 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, enjoys travel, and has two Shar-Peis.