Chamomile Mourning

After a brief hiatus I’m back in Charleston with Laura Childs’ sixth Tea Shop Mystery. I love the small town feel of this series. There are lots of little shops and restaurants, and everyone in this sphere of society seems to know everyone else. I’m not sure how realistic it is, but it does make me want to visit historic Charleston!

chamomile mourningIn Chamomile Mourning, the Poet’s Tea at annual Spoleto festival is forced to move indoors due to rain. Worse still is when an auction house owner plummets to his death from the balcony. When the main suspect turns out to be Gracie Venable, a friend of Haley’s from business school who is getting ready for the grand opening of her hat shop, Theo is tapped to help with the investigation. As usual, there are many secret motives lurking beneath the surface–a dispute over a lease, an affair, or even something related to the art world.

Childs still followed her format for choosing the killer, but this climax was probably Theodosia’s most harrowing crime-fighting experience yet, landing her in the hospital. I wasn’t paying as much attention to the mystery plot, though, because relationship bombshell!! Theo’s boyfriend Jory proposes to her, on the grounds that she move with him to NYC for his new position at the law firm, and either go back into advertising or open a new branch of the Indigo Tea Shop. Does he not get how much her shop and her friends mean to her? It just seemed really, really out of character for Jory, who had been fairly complacent and Ned Nickerson-like up until this point. One of the things I liked about this series was the lack of relationship drama. Long story short, Jory goes off to New York without Theo and she takes up with young restauranteur Parker Scully. As blond and charming as he may be, I just can’t like him because of the way this all came out of the blue.

On a more positive note, at one point, while hosting an afternoon tea, Theo puts in a new CD–Lark Ascending, by Ralph Vaughn Williams. I have that CD! His Fantasia on Greensleeves is one of my favorite classical pieces. This reference made up for Parker just a bit.

Fun tidbit: While flipping through this one for the review, I noticed that a very minor character is the wife of the man who is murdered in the next book. She comes across as more annoying here.

Published in: on June 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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