Welcome! Today I’m hosting a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Plum Tea Crazy, a Tea Shop Mystery by Laura Childs. I love this series so I was excited to be able to read and review this newest installment.
Before we get to my review, I’m happy to say that we have a guest post from Laura Childs herself to enjoy! Thank you to Ms. Childs for being willing to write a guest post for my blog!
Guest Post from Laura Childs
A Q&A with Laura Childs, New York Times Bestselling Author of Plum Tea Crazy.
When you write, Laura, do you normally have an idea several months ahead of time or do stories just come to you as you’re writing?
The answer to both those questions is yes. I usually have three or four plot ideas pin-balling around in my head, so I start to work them up and then pick the one I like best. The other ideas are always kept in reserve so I can circle back to them at a later date and flesh them out for the next few books. Since I spent 20 years heading my own advertising agency, I’m lucky that I developed a knack for being “creative on demand,” with ideas coming fairly easy to me.
As you decide on characters, is there something that calls out to you?
Characters in my mysteries are either protagonists or antagonists. That is, they are either the hero or a suspected villain. That means my stories need to include a roster of suspicious characters that keep my readers guessing and turning the pages fairly quickly. I also strive to create suspects that are flamboyant and fairly dysfunctional. In Plum Tea Crazy, for example, I’ve got a snarky banker, goofball handyman, shopaholic ex-wife, and a slicko stalker attorney. There are a few other crazies tossed in for good measure, too.
Are your mysteries based on real life surroundings?
Since the Tea Shop Mysteries all take place in Charleston, SC, I try to create a very careful sense of place right down to the last cobblestone. Do you feel that damp fog as it rolls in off the Atlantic? Can you hear the mournful toot from the lighthouse over on Patriot’s Point? Is someone sneaking up behind you in Dueler’s Alley? Charleston is one of those cities that is eccentric and highly atmospheric – old mansions, live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, fog-shrouded bayous. Those are all very real elements and I try my best to sprinkle them throughout my mysteries.
For Plum Tea Crazy was there something you really wanted readers to come away with . . . as in a different outlook on life?
I always try to make the point that my main character, Theodosia, is extremely independent and entrepreneurial. When I was in marketing, I ran into dozens of women who longed for more focus and control in their work lives. These were smart women – ad managers, product managers, administrators, etc. – who wanted to flee corporate life to open a tea shop, needle craft store, or antique shop. I think most women are natural born entrepreneurs. They don’t always want to build a Fortune 500 company but they do want an environment that is nourishing and rewarding.
Tell us a little bit about Plum Tea Crazy.
As tea shop owner Theodosia views Charleston Harbor’s Gaslights and Galleons Parade from the widow’s walk of a nearby mansion, a local banker tumbles over the narrow railing and plunges to his death. But when Theodosia discovers that the victim was actually shot with a crossbow, this tragic accident turns sinister. With pacing that moves like a thriller, and any number of quirky suspects, it’s one of the reasons Book Riot named my Tea Shop Mysteries to their list of “25 of the All Time Best Cozy Mystery Series.”
Thanks for spending time with us.
Thank you and hugs to everyone!
Thank you again to Ms. Childs for writing a guest post for today!
About the Book
While viewing the harbor’s Gaslights and Galleons Parade from the widow’s walk of Timothy Neville’s Charleston mansion, local banker Carson Lanier seemingly tumbles over a narrow railing, then plunges three stories to his death. But a tragic accident becomes something much more sinister when it’s discovered that the victim was first shot with a bolt from a crossbow.
At the request of the mansion owner, Theodosia investigates the tragedy and is soon neck deep in suspects. An almost ex-wife, a coworker, a real estate partner–all had motives for killing the luckless banker, but one resorted to murder to settle accounts.
INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!
Review – 4 out of 5 stars
This newest installment in the Tea Shop Mystery series from Laura Childs is just as wonderful as the others have been!
I love the cast of characters in this series. Honestly, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t still be reading the series. Characters are far more important to me than the plot line. I can put up with pretty abysmal plot lines (which this is NOT one of those books – this plot line was excellent) if the characters are awesome. I’ve always enjoyed Theodosia, Drayton, Haley, Detective Tidwell and the rest. It’s fun to come back each spring to another visit into their world! These are well-rounded, complex, developed characters and they’re delightful.
The plot line in this one was excellent. There were enough suspects that it was hard to know who was the true villain. I did guess correctly, but it would have been very easy for me to be side-tracked by one of the other options. There was just something about the villain character that seemed “off” about them. That’s all I’m going to say so I don’t give anything away though!
If you haven’t read the series before, you could certainly start with this one as each mystery is its own story, but I would recommend starting at the beginning of the series with Death by Darjeeling. There are backstory things that will make more sense if you start the series at the beginning.
Either way, pick up Plum Tea Crazy and enjoy the newest installment in this great series!
Thank you for joining me today! If you wish to visit other sites on the tour, please click on the banner below. It will take you to the main tour page where there is a list of tour participants.