Monday, January 16, 2012

The Jasmine Moon Murder

The Jasmine Moon Murder
Author: Laura Childs
Berkley, 2005
272 pages

Although my taste in fiction has evolved over the years toward more international crime/thrillers and historical fiction, I enjoy a good "cozy" mystery every now and then. One series I absolutely adore is the clever Tea Shop Mystery series by Laura Childs, of which The Jasmine Moon Murder is Book #5. Every time I read one of these Charleston, South Carolina-based works, I want to drink tea and demonstrate gentility. And of course, I want to visit Charleston immediately (I'm only 3 hours 47 minutes away according to Google Maps! Hmm, if I leave now . . . )

This time around, Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia and her steady crew (tea master Drayton and baker extraordinaire Haley) are catering a Ghost Tour event in a cemetery when a man collapses. When Theodosia rushes over to try to help him, she finds out it's too late. The man is dead -- and Theodosia finds a syringe nearby. Later tests will reveal the contents to be a lethal drug: it was murder!

Turns out the dead man wasn't a stranger -- he was the uncle of Theo's boyfriend, Jory. Uncle Jasper was an executive at a medical devices company that's about to release a revolutionary new product, meaning that he was probably about to make a boatload of money. He was also in the middle of a divorce from a woman who's obviously a gold digger. Suddenly there are lots of potential suspects around, including a couple of rival CEOs and a shady PR man who seems willing to do anything to promote his clients -- and himself.

By now, even Detective Burt Tidwell knows he can't stop Theo from conducting her own investigation. But when someone takes a couple of shots at Theo at the fox hunt, and throws a rock through the window of the mansion Theo is housesitting, it becomes personal. But then one of her top suspects is also murdered . . .

The Tea Shop Mystery series just keeps getting better. I'll definitely keep reading these . . . and I'll keep dreaming of a Charleston getaway. Hmm, I wonder if I could get down there for the Spoleto Festival this year? :)

Previous books in this series that I've reviewed: