Pekoe Most Poison (Tea Shop)
by Laura Childs
Cover Artist: Stephanie Henderson
Review by Gayle Surrette
Berkley Hardcover / eBook ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425281680
Date: 07 March 2017
Doreen Briggs invites Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop, along with Drayton Conneley, the shop's tea sommelier, to her Rat Tea. Theodosia is entranced by the waiters wearing Rat heads and white gloves. Rat teas were once a staple in Charleston for raising money to fund the city's rat control efforts. Theodosia believes that this particular tea will stand out as something different.
When Doreen's husband dies of convolutions shortly after a fire broke out at his table, Theodosia believes it might be murder. Others believe it was just natural causes or an allergic reaction to the tea or one of the foods. No matter what the cause of death it certainly put an end to the festive tea.
Though it was unfortunate to be at a tea that ended in a death, Theodosia and Drayton believe that is the end of it until Doreen pays them a visit. She wants Theodosia to investigate her husband's murder and also see if she can get back the money her husband put into a bad investment. Theodosia tries to explain that the police are in charge, so she can't investigate, but she could ask a few questions. But anything she learned would have to be turned over to the police.
Theodosia has learned not to get in the way of a police investigation. She’s also learned that people will often tell her things they won’t tell the police. And then there's the fact that she learns things just from listening to the gossip of other members of the Charleston upper crust as they dish dirt on each other.
There's a lot of misdirection, confusion, and excitement in Pekoe Most Poison. Theodosia and Drayton each have a close call that indicates they are close to a truth, if they only knew what it was. And while the reader has all the same clues that Theodosia has, the ending may still surprise depending on how closely the reader gathers the clues. On the other hand, the reader may have the fun of figuring it out first. There's certainly a fair number of suspects to choose from.
Another great mystery to solve while enjoying talk of tea, food, and southern living.