(Tea Shop Mystery #1)

Meet Theodosia Browning, owner of Charleston's beloved Indigo Tea Shop. Patrons love her blend of delicious tea tastings and southern hospitality. And Theo enjoys the full-bodied flavor of a town steeped in history -- and mystery... — It's tea for two hundred or so at the annual historic homes garden party. And Theodosia, as event caterer, is busy serving steaming teas and blackberry scones while guests sing her praises. But the sweet smell of success turns to suspense when an esteemed guest is found dead -- his hand clutching an empty teacup. All eyes are on Theo... who is now trying desperately to save her reputation and track down the real killer. If only she can make sense of it all--before someone else takes their last sip...

I went on a shopping spree last year to the local independent used bookstore and grabbed up a lot of first books in several cozy series - tea focused (this one), coffee shop themed, bookstore themed, random themes. What a nice but expensive day that turned out to be. This one drew my eye because it focused on tea - of which I'm a fan - but I went to into aware of mixed reviews and ratings.

It turned out pretty good for an introduction into a typical cozy world. A lot of these series start out mediocre for some reason, although I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because they tend to follow tropes and formula to remain a cozy mystery genre fitter, much like traditional romances and little drama-filled harlequins. Something unique is always welcome, and I don't mean the setting or theme (like tea or bookstore), but something unique about the characters or the writing style. Unfortunately this book doesn't offer much new in that department...the characters are typical of other series and it doesn't choose to deviate too much from the basics.

Still, the mystery is strong enough and that's the main point of these. There were clues, directions, an investigation, and satisfying conclusion that makes sense. There's that potential love interest that has yet to take off, fun companion characters that add warmth to the combo, an independent protagonist who ends up in the end of trouble but handles it well.

This cozy will suit those who like Southern lit, food or drink related themes, small town feel, and of course tea enthusiasts. Unlike the book I tried in another tea series, Ghost Of A Chance, this one avoids tea bags and seems to actually know about tea. It was a delight to see the different combinations came up with, the creative names for parties and festivals, brewing tips, and familiar and unfamiliar names. That made it worth reading for tea collectors. The one recipe included was weak (tea infused eggs) compared to the delicious pastries and such the novel made me crave.

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