Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Today I'm joining 
Berkley Mystery 
in celebrating the upcoming March 3 release of  
Book 21 in the Tea Shop Mysteries
by Laura Childs

Tea-Maven Theodosia Browning brews up trouble in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier Drayton Conneley are guests at a bird hunt styled in the precise manner of an English shooting party. Which means elevenses (sloe gin fizzes), gun loaders, the drawing of pegs, fine looking bird dogs, and shooting costumes of tweed, herringbone, and suede.

But as gunshots explode like a riff of Black Cat firecrackers, another shot sounds too close for comfort to Theodosia and Drayton. Intrigued but worried, Theodosia wanders into the neighbor's lavender field where she discovers their host, Reginald Doyle, bleeding to death.

His wife, Meredith, is beside herself with grief and begs Theodosia and Drayton to stay the night. But Theodosia awakens at 2:00A.M. to find smoke in her room and the house on fire. As the fire department screams in and the investigating sheriff returns, Meredith again pleads with Theodosia for help.

As Theodosia investigates, fingers are pointed, secrets are uncovered, Reginald's daughter-in-law goes missing presumed drowned, and Meredith is determined to find answers via a sΓ©ance. All the while Theodosia worries if she's made a mistake in inviting a prime suspect to her upscale Lavender Lady Tea.


by Laura Childs, New York Times
bestselling author of Lavender Blue Murder.

An Asian Influence.

Just before I started writing my Tea Shop Mystery series, my husband and I spent a fair amount of time traveling through Asia. And I think this is where my true passion for tea was finally realized. Not just through sipping tea and broadening my tea-tasting horizons, but experiencing a number of serendipitous tea moments.  One special memory involves traveling on the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto on Christmas Day. I was reading a book and hypnotized by the whoosh of the train, when my husband suddenly instructed me to look up. I lifted my head and there, directly out the window, was a spectacular, terraced tea garden with Mt. Fuji as the backdrop. The brilliant green of the tea shone like neon against the white snowcapped Fuji, like a color photo pushed to the max. Later, I learned there were dozens of tea gardens right outside the city of Fujinomiya, and that several of the bath houses offered tea baths. I think it would have been heavenly to bob around in a warm, bubbling brew of fresh-picked tea leaves. 

Later on our journey, we wandered the ancient, narrow streets of Kyoto, marveling at temples, gardens and tori gates, and ended up hopelessly lost. A woman from a small tea shop noticed our plight and beckoned us in to take a seat. We sat down, a little dazed and travel-worn, and were delighted when she produced cups of bright green tea and fresh-baked yams.  

Another trip took us to the oldest tea house in Shanghai – lovely Huxinting Tea House, a pagoda-like pavilion in the middle of a lake. There’s nothing like sipping tea while lounging on silk cushions and admiring three hundred year Chinese bonsai, known as Pen-jing.

In Hong Kong, we visited the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware. My husband, a professor of Chinese and Japanese art history, was head over heels for the collection. I adored the tea they served.

On a trip to Bali, I sipped a small bowl of hot tea after thirty-five hours of air travel. Standing on my hotel balcony at four in the morning, looking out at a live, steaming volcano with the South China Sea stretching dark blue in the background, I sipped Java’s own Agung black tea and thought about how lucky I was.

But I was even luckier when I returned from Bali and found that Penguin Random House had offered me a three-book contract to write my Tea Shop Mysteries! Twisting tea lore into full-blown murder mysteries seemed daunting at first, but after twenty-one Tea Shop Mysteries I’m more than up to the challenge.

Oh, and what’s this twenty-first book about, you ask? Here’s a quick synopsis of Lavender Blue Murder:

 On a Sunday afternoon in autumn, tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier Drayton Conneley are guests at Reginald Doyle’s Creekmore Plantation. Because Doyle and his wife Meredith are rabid anglophiles, they’re treating their dozen or so guests to a bird hunt styled in the precise manner of an English shooting party.

But as gunshots explode like Black Cat firecrackers, another shot sounds too close for comfort. It’s a sharp pop, like the distinctive sound of a handgun. Worried now, Theodosia wanders into the neighbor’s lavender field where she discovers Reginald Doyle bleeding to death. Help is summoned, first responders arrive, but it’s too late for Reginald.

Doyle’s wife Meredith is beside herself with grief and begs Theodosia and Drayton to stay the night. But Theodosia awakens at 2:00A.M. to find smoke in her room and the plantation house on fire. As the fire department screams in and the investigating sheriff returns, Theodosia wonders who wanted Reginald dead and out of the way, and maybe even torched the house to destroy evidence? Could it be the surly caretaker Jack Grimes, Reginald’s business partner Guy Thorne, neighboring land owner Carl Clewis, the so-called “lavender lady” Susan Monday, or even Reginald’s son Alex or even his wife Meredith?

With all this craziness going on in the book, I still manage to include descriptions and menus for three different tea parties as well as easy recipes for cream scones with pear butter, prosciutto puff babies, buttermilk biscuits, London fog lattes, and lots more! So . . . enjoy!


Laura Childs



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For me, it’s a no brainer when a new book from author Laura Childs is released. I get the book. They have become “go to” reads. So I was excited to finally read LAVENDER BLUE MURDER.

As with the rest of the Tea Shop Mystery series, this was a well written (author Laura Childs doesn’t know how to do it any other way) tale that was so vivid, I could see the images, hear the sounds, and smell the delightful food. From one scene to the next, there was a mixture of fun, drama, and excitement. The mystery aspect of the story was wonderfully plotted, leading me down many wrong paths before the surprising reveal.

As would have been with Theo’s aunt Libby, the theme of this one, a bird hunt styled English shooting party, didn’t excite me. I deplore hunting. That being said, I read the book and certainly enjoyed it. I did want to stop reading at one point, but instead skimmed past it. This view is my personal opinion. It’s not meant to deter you away from the book.

The Tea Shop Mysteries are like a good, strong cup of tea. The longer you let it steep, the stronger it becomes. At book twenty-one in the series, LAVENDAR BLUE MURDER is the strongest brewed to date. 


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  1. Thanks, Lisa. Such a beautiful cover but incorporating a bird hunt into the story throws me off. Happy Wednesday, to you.

  2. Thank you for all the fabulous info on "LAVENDER BLUE MURDER" by Laura Childs. Enjoyed reading Laura's post. Can't wait for the opportunity to read this book. LOVE the cover! It has all my favorites - color purple, hydrangea, blueberries and pretty dishes.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  3. This Cover takes my Breath awayπŸŒ·πŸ’ I NEED it in a framed picture
    It is like when my beloved Gran & I had Silver tea ☕ every few days. Good China,flowers πŸ’ from the yard, hand made French treats from fruits on our land & cream puffs. Gorgeousness 🌷 The lavender I can almost smell πŸ˜‰ we relocated to The South East and mine is not enjoying the soil &incredible heat😣.

    The Book sounds WONDERFUL I must read it or frame it READ it
    first maybe I NEED 2 πŸ˜‚πŸ˜… you see I am clearly in need of your
    Book. I did all the raffle copter things - I enjoyed going to those placesπŸŒ·πŸ’
    Sending blessings to Lisa your reviews are always wonderful :-)
    you bring us new and ink books with intelligent reviews.
    Blessings to you Lisa for continued success with all you do with
    your blog & FB siteπŸ’πŸŒ·.
    Laura - thank you for your interview & giving your time to us to
    get to know you & your new book.
    Blessings to you Lisa for much success on your new BOOK πŸŒ·πŸ’

  4. Great Series and one I w3ould love to read. I bought a couple of the first ones and would like to catch up...thank you for the chance...