The English Breakfast Murder

The English Breakfast Murderis the fourth Tea Shop Mystery by Laura Childs, and though probably not my favorite in the series it’s still a good read (or reread). Theodosia and Haley are thrilled to join the Charleston Sea Turtle Protection League to help baby loggerheads make it from shell to sea. Even Drayton in his tweeds and loafers can’t deny the cuteness of the hatchlings scuttling across the sand. The fun abates when the trio spy a dark shape fifty yards out in the water. Haley’s convinced it’s a dolphin in trouble, and Theo’s getting a pretty strong vibe herself, so she swims out to take a look. (And of course she’s a certified lifeguard–there’s that Nancy Drew streak again.)

She almost wishes she hadn’t when she realizes the object is a dead body–and the body of one of Drayton’s friends, no less. Harper Fisk was a local antiques dealer and also a member with Drayton of the English Breakfast Club, a group of historians who got together every week. The official verdict is death by drowning, but to Theodosia and Detective Tidwell that seems a far-fetched about a sea dog.

Theo is able to enlist the help of her boyfriend Jory, and avid yachtsman like herself, to help track down the boat, and along the way they find plenty of motive. Harper Fisk’s antique store was extremely successful; perhaps his young assistant wanted a bigger share, or perhaps his friends and fellow store owners were getting jealous. In addition, Fisk was an amateur treasure hunter intent on locating a valuable wreck rumored to be just offshore. If his theories were valid, someone may have wanted to claim the treasure for him or herself.

Whenever I feel overwhelmed with all the work I do teaching, tutoring, and chaperoning, I just think of Theodosia. Talk about a full calendar! She’s running her own store with all that entails, helping Delaine organize a fashion show luncheon for her clothing boutique, visiting with Earl Grey is his capacity as service dog, attending functions about town, and trying to solve a mystery on the side. I have to admit, I’m a little envious of all the society events she gets to go to, especially with her connection to the Historical Society. I would love to attend art galleries, concerts, exhibits, and luncheons, but it seems like no one really dresses up and goes out at more.

Laura Childs (aka Gerry Schmitt) is a former marketing CEO just like Theodosia, and she’s put her expertise to good work in the series. So far, as a small business owner, Theo has started a website/online store front (which was a big deal in 2001 when that book first came out), expanded to outdoor seating, developed a line on T-bath products, hosted several themed teas (like a mystery tea), called on Drayton to create new tea blends each holiday season, as well as various iced teas, and given Haley free range to perfect the use of tea as a flavor when cooking. To me this aspect is just as intriguing as the actual mystery. I used to work part time in an artisan’s cooperative and was constantly around people with creative ideas for products and marketing, so perhaps that’s why this appeals to me so.

Fun tidbit #1: Theodosia and Drayton decide to start stocking Rooibos (Redbush) tea because it has been getting a lot of media buzz lately. Perhaps this is a nod to the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series?

Fun tidbit #2: In the previous book, the teaser called this volume “The Last English Breakfast.” I wonder who decided to change it, and why?

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Published in: on April 11, 2012 at 1:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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