Blog Tour – Pekoe Most Poison – REVIEW

Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents: Pekoe Most Poison by Laura Childs; March 6-March 19, 2017 - banner includes author photo and book cover photo

Today, I’m super excited to bring to you the latest stop for Pekoe Most Poison by Laura Childs! I love the Tea Shop mysteries and look forward to the newest one every spring. This one didn’t disappoint, either!

Pekoe Most Poison by Laura Childs book cover - A Tea Shop Mystery - border of daffodils - picture of a table set for tea with tarts, tea pots, flowers, fresh oranges, and quiche.

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Brief Synopsis

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…

Line of yellow & green teacups/saucers with cherries on them with a teapot (yellow & green with an apple on it) and cherry pie in the center of the line
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Review

5 out of 5 stars.

I think this is one of my favorites of the Tea Shop series so far! I really enjoyed this one. The mystery itself was great. I didn’t figure out who the killer was until very close to the end where it was revealed. Plus, this time around we had a new method and a new way of delivering that method. Sometimes having the victim shot or stabbed gets a little old, so this one was a refreshing change.

I absolutely love the characters in this series. Reading about Theodosia, Drayton, and Haley is like visiting with old friends. Their characters are so well-rounded, developed, and complex. It’s a pleasure visiting them in each book and getting to know them just that little bit more. It’s a pleasure to see how their relationships with each other and with others in the community grow and develop.

I love all the descriptions of Charleston. I’ve never been there but with as many of these books I’ve read, I feel like I have. I can easily visualize all the alleys and cemeteries and old mansions that are there. I feel like if I ever make it down there to visit, I’m going to feel right at home! It takes a skilled author to do that without boring the reader with the descriptions. Ms. Childs’ does this excellently.

The pace of these books has always been good and this one is no exception. It was never boring and kept moving along at a good clip, but yet not too fast that you couldn’t keep up.

This is a great installment in the Tea Shop Mystery series and I highly recommend it! Pick it up and enjoy! If you’ve never read the series, you don’t have to know the back story to enjoy this one, but I highly recommend the rest of the series as well!

** I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions and conclusions expressed are my own. **

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© Graphic Garden

About the Author

Photo of Laura Childs - Middle-aged woman with blond hair, no glasses, wearing a black sweater or coat

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 fund-raising 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.

Laura’s Links:

Webpage – http://www.laurachilds.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/laura.childs.31

Line of yellow & green teacups/saucers with cherries on them with a teapot (yellow & green with an apple on it) and cherry pie in the center of the line
© Graphic Garden

If you would like to be a host for a Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour, click on the banner at the bottom of the page!

Tour Participants

March 6 – Michelle’s Romantic Tangle – REVIEW

March 6 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

March 7 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW

March 7 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

March 8 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

March 8 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT

March 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

March 9 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

March 9 – My Journey Back – REVIEW  

March 10 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

March 11 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW  

March 11 – The Power of Words – REVIEW, GUEST POST

March 12 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

March 12 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

March 13 – Queen of All She Reads –  SPOTLIGHT

March 13 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

March 14 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

March 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 15 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

March 15 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

March 16 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW

March 16 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – INTERVIEW

March 17 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW, GUEST POST

March 17 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 18 – The Editing Pen – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

March 18 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW  

March 19 – 3  Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – REVIEW

March 19 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents: Pekoe Most Poison by Laura Childs - March 6-March 19, 2017 Banner with Book cover

Egg Drop Dead – REVIEW

4.5 out of 5 stars

Egg Drop Dead by Laura Childs is the 7th book in the Cackleberry Club series and in my opinion, it’s one of the best in the series. I gave it a 4.5 only because it didn’t have that little extra sparkle or punch to it that bumps it up to the 5 stars. It’s something that’s hard to explain or quantify, but I know it when I feel it!

Book cover with front of cafe with corn stalks, jack o lanterns, and a cauldron of egg drop soup

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Brief Synopsis

Maintaining good personal relationships with their suppliers is one of the secrets of the Cackleberry Club café’s success, so Suzanne doesn’t mind going out to Mike Mullen’s dairy farm to pick up some wheels of cheese. She’s looking forward to a nice visit with the mild-mannered farmer before heading back to their hectic kitchen.

But when she arrives, Mike’s nowhere to be found. The moaning of his cows leads her to look in the barn, where she discovers a blood-curdling sight—the farmer’s dead body. Apparently not everyone was as fond of Mike Mullen as the Cackleberry Club.

Churning with grief and outrage, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni vow to find the farmer’s murderer—but as they get closer to the truth, the desperate killer gets whipped into a frenzy and plans to put the squeeze on them…

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Review

I’ve always enjoyed the Cackleberry Club series. Suzanne, Toni, Petra, the Sheriff, and Suzanne’s boyfriend, Sam, make it a fun series to read. As with many series, I’ve definitely felt like the later installments have been better written and more fun to read than the first few installments.

Of course, Suzanne finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation once again, this time finding the body of one of their suppliers in his cheese-making room. While she has a vested interest in most of the cases she looks into, Suzanne’s extra invested in this one after finding the body.

This book kept me just riveted. In fact, I think I finished it in one evening on my day off! I just could not put it down. I had no idea who the villain was until Suzanne put it together at the end. In fact, this villain and the one in the book before Scorched Eggs were complete surprises to me. Those two culprits were not on my radar at all!

The single thing that I really didn’t like in this particular book was Petra’s sanctimonious attitude toward Kit. I understand that Petra is very set in her beliefs that a woman should be married before living with a man or being pregnant, but she seemed a little more “over the top” this time than usual and it started annoying me. You’re allowed to have your own beliefs. That’s fine. That’s what America is about, but she just seemed a bit too judgmental in this book.

Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed this installment of the Cackleberry Club and highly recommend it!

Photo of Laura Childs - Middle-aged woman with blond hair, no glasses, wearing a black sweater or coat

About the Author

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, The Scrapbooking Mysteries, and the 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 fund raising 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.

Laura’s Links:

Webpage – http://www.laurachilds.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/laura.childs.31

Ming Tea Murder – REVIEW

3 out of 5 stars

Ming Tea Murder by Laura Childs book cover - Chinese-style home in the background with a Chinese-style table and tea service in foreground

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© Graphic Garden

Synopsis

Normally Theodosia wouldn’t attend a black tie affair for all the tea in China. But she can hardly say no to her hunky, handsome boyfriend, Max, who directs public relations for the Gibbes Museum in Charleston. Max has organized an amazing gala opening for an exhibit of a genuine eighteenth century Chinese teahouse, and the crème de la crème of Charleston society is invited.

In the exotic garden staged in the museum’s rotunda, a Chinese dragon dances to the beat of drums as it weaves through the crowd. The guests are serenaded by a Chinese violin as they sample an assortment of tempting bites. And to give them a memento of the occasion, there’s even a photo booth. But Theodosia makes a grim discovery behind the booth’s curtains: the body of museum donor Edgar Webster.

While Theodosia prefers tea service over the service of justice, this case is difficult to ignore—especially after Max becomes a suspect. Now she must examine the life of the fallen philanthropist and find out who really wanted him to pay up…

Line of yellow & green teacups/saucers with cherries on them with a teapot (yellow & green with an apple on it) and cherry pie in the center of the line
© Graphic Garden

Review

Ming Tea Murder by Laura Childs is the 16th book in the Tea Shop Mystery series. This series is one of the first cozy mystery series I read and it introduced me to the world that is cozy mysteries. I discovered this series about 10 years ago while I was working as a bookshelver in my public library. I kept shelving these mysteries so I knew they were popular and I finally picked one up and read it. I haven’t missed one since.

This is one of my least favorite books in the series. I felt like the beginning of the book was very stilted and it almost made me say “Did someone else write this beginning?” However, it did get better as it went on.

Of course, all my favorite characters were back, Theodosia, Haley, Drayton and I was thrilled to be reunited with them. For the first time in this series, I did figure out the murderer very early on; usually Ms. Childs has me guessing until the very end.

The book beyond the first few chapters was well-written. While, I wouldn’t call this the best installment in the series by far, it was decent. I’m still looking forward to more in the series.

Line of yellow & green teacups/saucers with cherries on them with a teapot (yellow & green with an apple on it) and cherry pie in the center of the line
© Graphic Garden