Blood Orange Brewing by Laura Childs

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: #7 in the Tea Shop series
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 277
Challenges: What’s In a Name 3 #4 (Food), Support Your Local Library #13
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Seventh in a cozy mystery series set in and around Charleston, SC with a tea shop owner as the amateur sleuth means lots of tea info and yummy sounding food. Fortunately recipes are included at the end because this installment was disappointing.

Why I Read It:
When searching for books with a food in the title for the What’s in a Name challenge I started with my next books in series list. This series has been in the enjoyable diversion category for me and it had been a while since I read the last book.

The Book:
Theodosia Browning runs a successful tea shop in the historic district of Charleston, SC. Her co-workers and friends include a stuffy tea expert and a talented chef who is using her cooking skills to put herself through business school. The book opens with them catering a candlelight concert fundraiser organized by another historic district business owner, Delaine Dish (one of my favorite character names ever). Just as the concert is over and the door opened to the room with refreshments, a grisly murder is discovered.

Theodosia, of course becomes involved in investigating the murder. She sees it as helping her friends and perhaps even helping Detective Tidwell of the Charleston Police. Pretty soon the plot twists are coming as fast as the tea references and by the end there are multiple mysteries resolved, but also several loose ends and wild coincidences left hanging.

My Thoughts:
I have read all of the previous books in this series in order (of course!), but I was rather disappointed in this one. I felt that the plot was thin and complicated with a resolution that came out of left field and was not well set up at all. Why Detective Tidwell doesn’t haul Theodosia in for interfering with the investigation is beyond me. The tea information even seemed somewhat awkward in this one. Rather than descriptions that made me want to try a new tea it was repetitive mentions of tea names with one or 2 word descriptions. There were simply too many tea names and not enough about them to make the mentions useful.

At this point I’m likely to drop this series from my active list. Has anyone read the later books and can tell me whether this one was an anomaly or the beginning of a downward spiral?

Rating 2/5