Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Review: Agony of the Leaves by Laura Child

First line: Elegant green tendrils of kelp swayed in graceful, undulating motions as grouper and sea bass peeked out from their leafy sanctuary.

From the back cover: In the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Scones and Bones, Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning finds herself in hot water when a body surfaces at the grand opening of Charleston's Neptune Aquarium...

The opening of the aquarium is a major Charleston event, and Theodosia has been hired to cater tea, scones, and sandwiches for the private party to honor dignitaries and big buck donors. Things are going swimmingly, until Theodosia escapes the party for a momentary rest, only to discover the body of a man entangled in a net, drowned in one of the aquarium's state-of-the-art tanks.

To make matters worse, the victim is Theodosia's former boyfriend Parker Scully. The EMTs on the scene think Parker's drowning was an accident, but when Theodosia notices what look like defensive wounds on his hands, she realizes that someone wanted Parker dead. The local police aren't keen on hearing her theory-especially because of her ties to the victim - so Theodosia knows that if she wants Parker's killer brought to justice, she'll have to jump into the deep end and start her own investigation...

My thoughts: This is the 13th book in Laura Child's Tea Shop Mystery series and I loved it. Laura Childs brings beautiful and historical Charleston to life, immersing us in the world of tea, scones, murder, mystery and mayhem. This story is fast-paced, with lots of action and some humor thrown in. I've never been to Charleston, but when reading this series, I feel as if I am right there in the middle of the action.

As usual, Theo finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation - only this time the victim is her ex-boyfriend Parker. When we last left Theo, in Scones and Bones,  she had just broken things off with Parker in order to start dating Max Scofield. I was a bit surprised to see that Parker, no longer Theo's love interest, would be offed so quickly, but it does make for an interesting story as Theo feels the need to get to the bottom of things. Feeling that the police are not taking the investigation into Parker's death seriously, she decides to do some sleuthing on her own - much to the consternation of Detective Burt Tidwell. I love the scenes when he comes into the tea shop - a big, burly man sitting down for a dainty cup of tea and a scone - what a picture!

One of my favorite parts of this series is how nuggets of tea history are woven throughout the story as well as some information on all the different blends that Drayton concocts at The Indigo Tea Shop. It always makes me want to find a tea shop near me and go for a tasting. Also interesting in this installment was the information about the honey that Theo purchases for her shop. And as usual, included at the back of the book are numerous tea time tips, such as hosting a White Tea or a Sewing Tea, along with some of the delicious recipes  mentioned in the story, such as Caprese Tea Sandwiches, Parmesan Crisps and Honeybee Scones. I might have to try some of these!

I can't wait to find out what Theo finds herself involved in next. In the meantime, I am looking forward to the release of the next books in Laura Child's other series, The Scrapbooking Mystery series and The Cackleberry Club Mystery series.

I received a copy of Agony of the Leaves to review from the publisher.

Books in this series:
  1. Death by Darjeeling                          8.  Dragonwell Dead
  2. Gunpowder Green                             9.  The Silver Needle Murder
  3. Shades of Earl Grey                         10.  Oolong Dead
  4. English Breakfast Murder              11.  The Teaberry Strangler
  5. The Jasmine Moon Murder           12.  Scones & Bones
  6. Chamomile Mourning                     13.  Agony of the Leaves
  7. Blood Orange Brewing
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