An attack on the host of a fancy tea party sends Theodosia Browning looking for answers in the latest entry in the New York Times bestselling series.
Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier, Drayton Conneley, are catering a Victorian Christmas party at a swanky mansion in downtown Charleston. Drucilla Heyward, the hostess, is one of the wealthiest women in town.
As the champagne flows and the tea steeps, Drucilla is so pleased with the reception by her partygoers that she reveals her secret plan to Theodosia. The Grande Dame has brought the cream of Charleston society together to reveal that she is planning to give her wealth away to various charitable organizations. However, before she can make the announcement, Theodosia finds her crumpled unconscious in the hallway. It looks like the excitement has gotten to the elderly woman–except that there is a syringe sticking out of her neck.
INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!
Theodosia and Drayton are back in the 23rd installment of Laura Childs’ Teashop Mystery series. At this point they really do feel like old friends and I love every opportunity to visit with them again. This time murder takes place at an elegant Christmas tea catered by Theodosia, and she and Drayton must once again track down a killer. This cozy story will keep you guessing, and will most definitely get you in the mood for the holidays.
I am thrilled to welcome Laura Childs to The Book’s the Thing today! Please read on for her post and then be sure to enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a copy of Twisted Tea Christmas.
How to Jumpstart a Mystery.
Guest Blog by Laura Childs, New York Times
Bestselling Author of Twisted Tea Christmas.
As a mystery author, I owe a tip of the hat (click of the mouse?) to a number of mystery and thriller authors who’ve revealed their tricks and techniques on how to launch a book using powerful ideas.
Mary Higgins Clark (who helped me get started) was a master at dropping ordinary women into dangerous life and death struggles. Jeffrey Deaver taught us all Forensics 101. And Janet Evanovich showed us that murder and mayhem can also be hysterically funny.
But the one author who really blows me away is Stephen King. He’s the master at jumpstarting his books with an amazing what-if.
What on earth is a what-if?
It’s an author’s jumping off point. In one of King’s earliest books, Salem’s Lot, he asked himself, “What if vampires invaded a small New England town?” In The Green Mile he posed the question, “What if a death row murderer possessed paranormal powers to do good?” In Misery, his what-if gave us a hapless, damaged mystery writer held hostage by his biggest fan.
What-ifs help an author home in on a single, compelling premise and forces them to confront the very essence of the story line. A what-if premise strips a story down to bare bones, preceding even words and internal architecture.
Before I wrote Twisted Tea Christmas, I asked myself, “What-if my tea maven, Theodosia, catered a Christmas party at a fancy mansion where the hostess got murdered?” That launched me right into a first chapter filled with non-stop action and intrigue. You see, a what-if is like blueprint for writing a novel. There’s no fussy back story, no long-winded character introductions, just action that propels you forward.
Interested? Want to know more? Then here’s a quick Cliff Notes on Twisted Tea Christmas:
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 end. 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.
Find me at wwwlaurachilds.com or on Facebook at Laura Childs Author
About the Author
Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.
Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:
The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.
The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!
The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win aprint copy of Twisted Tea Christmas by Laura Childs (US ONLY)
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