Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Teabury Strangler-Laura Childs

The Teabury Strangler
Laura Childs
Berkley, Mar 2010, $24.95
ISBN: 9780425232453

In the back alley behind Church St. in Charleston, South Carolina, shopkeepers host a Dickensian evening wearing period pieces and selling bargains to enthralled visitors. The idea and deployment were that of Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning who serves a lot of Darjeeling and sandwiches.

After the gala ends, she is walking the alley glowing with success when she sees her friend Daria Shand owner of the Antiquarian Map Shop fighting with someone. She rushes to her friend’s assistance, but by the time she gets there, Daria is dead and her killer gone. The store is a mess as someone, probably the killer, tore up the valuable merchandise. Theo is outraged by the homicide and the vandalism, but vows to stay out of the investigation until her Aunt Libby, a close friend of Daria’s grieving mother, pleads with her to do otherwise. Theo snoops finding plenty of viable suspects, but dislikes CPD Detective Tidwell's theory that the intended victim might not be Daria, bur instead a proprietor of tea.

Laura Childs presents another spectacular whodunit set in an upscale shopping district of Charleston with specialty shoppes. Figuring out who the culprit is proves difficult as Daria had apparent enemies wanting to buy her store and the police theory that Theo saw the murder and might identify the killer too. Fans will enjoy sipping tea with Theo as she works the case in which she may have been the planned victim.

Harriet Klausner