TITLE: The Silver Needle Murder (Tea Shop Mystery #9)
AUTHOR: Laura Childs
The tea shop mysteries are a series of books that center around Theodosia Browning and her little tea shop in Charleston, SC. She’s an amateur sleuth that just happens to be somewhere that gets her involved in a mystery at any given time.
In this one, a film festival is about to be held, and she’s catering something with sandwiches and pots of hot tea when the speaker gets murdered in front of everyone and the killer knocks Theodosia out of the way to use the dumb waiter as means of escape. Thus, she’s involved. Oh, and her friend-slash-employee gets knocked out in the kerfuffle.
The book is supposed to be a cosy mystery. And it sort of is, but Laura Childs has a pretty extensive vocabulary and so the book isn’t the same easy reading as Sue Grafton’s ABCs or the Miniatures series I reviewed last year. The resulting effect is sort of, um, obnoxious. Everyone sounds pompous and a bit arrogant and as a reader, I just kept wondering when they could relax already and say something that didn’t leave them sounding like a snob. Because education and vocabulary are fine and all, but when every character sounds like an Ivy League stereotype, you’re doing it wrong.
A couple other issues I had… I know these are tea mysteries, and thus the theme is going to be in everything, but I can’t imagine that *anyone* cares this much about tea. Even Laura Childs. A high society film festival is in town, let’s brew some tea. The main detective in town (hello, it’s Charleston…there has to be more than one somewhere, but she only ever talks to the same one…) wants lunch, so he miraculously loves sipping fresh brewed tea and having finger sandwiches. I live in a household with somebody who likes tea. I can guarantee you that she’s never gone to a tea house.
Also, I know it’s nit-picky, but there are like a dozen food references and each one of them is some over-done seafood extravaganza. I don’t even like to smell seafood, so every time they started talking about what was in the meal, I started skimming and not caring. The meals in her “meager shop” were several courses and probably $15+ each and the most unappetizing drivel ever. I will spare you the bad analogy I want to use here, but it was like food porn for the author’s sake and nothing else.
If Theodosia’s shop were real, I wouldn’t step foot in it.
So the story in this particular book is a little weak.
I mean, not a lot happens, but Theodosia keeps having conversations that don’t seem all that important to me, and there’s a whole not a lot revealed until the very end where she’s suddenly smarter than the police and figures it out.
When I started reading it, I wanted to give it a better rating, but as the book progressed, I kept getting annoyed with things. So I’m going to end the review at a 3/5. Worth a read when you’re in the mood for a cozy, but a lot of room for improvement to make this an awesome story.
This book satisfies the MYSTERY
component of the reading challenge.
1 book down and 51 books to go…