It is the week before Halloween and Theodosia Browning, proprietor of the Indigo Tea Shop, and her tea sommelier, Drayton, are ghosting through the dusk of a cool Charleston evening on their way to the old Bouchard Mansion. Known as the Gray Ghost, this dilapidated place was recently bequeathed to the Heritage Society, and tonight heralds the grand opening of their literary and historical themed haunted house.
Though Timothy Neville, the patriarch of the Heritage Society, is not thrilled with the fund-raising idea, it is the perfect venue for his grandniece, Willow French, to sign copies of her new book, Carolina Crimes & Creepers.
But amid a parade of characters dressed as Edgar Allan Poe, Lady Macbeth, and the Headless Horseman, Willow's body is suddenly tossed from the third-floor tower room and left to dangle at the end of a rope. Police come screaming in and Theodosia's boyfriend, Detective Pete Riley, is sent to Willow's apartment to investigate. But minutes later, he is shot and wounded by a shadowy intruder.
Timothy begs Theodosia to investigate, and shaken by Riley's assault, she readily agrees. Now, she questions members of the Heritage Society and a man who claims the mansion is rightfully his, as well as Willow's book publisher and her fiancé, all while hosting a Sherlock Holmes tea and catering several others.
But the Gray Ghost holds many secrets, as do several other key suspects, while this murder mystery plays out on the eve of Halloween.
INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!
HAUNTED HIBSCUS was the book I needed to read, just at the right time. With summer looming (Yes, looming. I don’t like summer), getting to read a cozy set during Halloween returned me to cool autumn days, and the promise of frost. But, onto the review.
Author Laura Childs is cozy mystery royalty. All of her series are followed by adoring readers who just can’t get enough of her remarkable prose. HAUNTED HIBCUS is the perfect example of why.
This 22nd installment to Laura Childs’ Teashop Mysteries held me enthralled. From the excitement of a Halloween party, the heartbreakingly tragic death of a young women filled with promise of a wonderful life to come, and a killer who just plain torked me off until the satisfying reveal, HAUNTED HIBSCUS was a one sitting read for me. I simply couldn’t put it down.
With the exception of poor, shot Riley, our favorite Teashop Mystery characters are stronger than ever as the investigations heats up in the death of Willow French, the unfortunate author who will never know just have many copies her book would sell, and the afore mentioned poor, shot Riley. Who is the killer and what is he/she hiding that it’s worth killing for? The author doesn’t make it easy for us to guess.
I suggest that you keep yourselves seatbelted in until the twists and turns of HAUNTED HISICUS come to an end. It’s totally worth the roiling ride!
Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:
The Tea Shop Mysteries - set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She's also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn't rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.
The Scrapbooking Mysteries - a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans' spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!
The Cackleberry Club Mysteries - set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe's undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.