Lavender Blue Murder

Berkley. (Tea Shop, Bk. 21). Mar. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9780451489661. $26. M
Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier, Drayton Conneley, are guests at a hunting party at the Creekmore Plantation. Gunshots are firing fast as firecrackers around them when Theodosia is alarmed by a sound that is suspiciously closer than it should be. She finds plantation owner Reginald Doyle lying gravely injured in a neighbor’s lavender field. Doyle succumbs to his injuries, leaving behind his wife, Meredith. She begs Theodosia and Drayton to stay the night and help solve the murder. Both agree only to awaken in the wee hours of the morning to the smell of smoke—the plantation house is burning around them. Theodosia doesn’t think the events are coincidental, so she agrees to investigate, only to end up with numerous suspects and secrets.
VERDICT Newcomers should find this a great entry point to Child’s established series (after Broken Bone China) and enjoy the charming Charleston, SC, setting, while longtime fans will relish the return of the sassy characters they love. [See Prepub Alert, 8/19/19.]
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