A Day in the Life of Theodosia Browning by Laura Childs

Devonshire ScreamI stared in awe at the glittering butterfly brooch crusted with emeralds, diamonds, rubies, and amethysts. It was spectacular, just one of the myriad pieces at the Jewelry Extravaganza that my friend Brooke Carter Crocket had arranged. She’d begged and borrowed from the finest museums and jewelers – Tiffany, Cartier, Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels – to stage this special black tie presentation. And everyone from the hoi-poloi of Charleston, South Carolina was here tonight to drink champagne and gasp at these magnificent antique and collectible gems.

Of course, I’d have to sell about a million scones and serve another million cups of Darjeeling tea at my Indigo Tea Shop to even begin to afford one of these pricey baubles. Still, a girl could dream.

But as champagne corks popped and bone china teacups clinked, there was a sudden earsplitting crack. What on earth, I wondered? Glancing around, I feared some hapless guest had fallen headlong into a glass case. Instead, what I saw stunned me. Like a knife slicing through butter, the shiny chrome grill of a black SUV shoved its way right through the showroom’s front window.

Shards of glass flew everywhere, nicking and slashing the guests. Surprised cries turned to terrified screams as everyone lurched and fought to get out of the way. Even more frightening, the enormous black truck relentlessly powered its way into the shop, all cylinders firing, its engine roaring like a runaway locomotive.

Like special effects in an action flick, two more panels of glass exploded inward like a hail of bullets. Everyone shrieked in terror again and I felt the sting of glass and plaster as it rained down upon the back of my neck.

Scrambling on hands and knees now, I ducked behind the sales counter, figuring it might offer better protection than an all-glass display case.

Still, the situation was horrible. People were injured and screaming for help. Careful, fearful of what I might see, I peered around the end of the counter.

The jewelry shop was pure chaos, a war zone. The black SUV was all the way inside the shop, its throaty engine still rumbling. Slivers of glass lay everywhere while guests crouched on their hands and knees, cut and bleeding. My first thought was, “Who’s hurt?” and “How can I help?” Then my gaze shifted and I found myself staring directly into the blazing eyes of a red demon!

But no, the more rational part of my brain told her it was someone, a person, wearing a hideous demon mask. A terrorist? Here in little old Charleston?

Quick as a snapping turtle’s bite, two more demons tumbled out of the black truck, all dressed head to toe in black clothing and looking like hellish clowns in some bizarre circus act.

“Down! Down! Everybody down!” one of the demons screamed.

I was pretty sure the screamer carried a snub-nosed pistol in his right hand, so I ducked behind the case again. A split-second later, a surge of adrenaline kicked in and I realized I was probably smack dab in the middle of a highly orchestrated, smash and grab robbery. It was the kind of bold robbery I’d only heard about – the kind that took place in Paris or Monaco where daring vandals slammed vehicles directly through storefronts and made off with millions of dollars worth of diamond jewelry or Chanel handbags.

I snuck another look just as one of the demon invaders pulled a silver canister from his jacket pocket.

“Go!” the demon shouted to his companions.

Now all three robbers pulled gas masks over their demon faces. The leader twisted the lid, there was a loud pop, and black smoke billowed from the canister. A smoke bomb!

The vandals, all wearing rubber gas masks that made them look like high tech versions of the Elephant Man, went straight to work like practiced professionals. Brandishing crowbars and shiny hammers, they methodically smashed every showcase, grabbing pearls, diamonds, and gold jewelry from their black velvet nests. Every precious piece of jewelry was snatched up and all I could do was watch, scrunch down, and dial 9-1-1 on my cell phone.

It seemed like forever before I heard the blaring sirens of the police cruisers and ambulances arriving on the scene. By that time, the jewelry was gone and so were the robbers. Dear lord, what a way to end the day!

Devonshire Scream is the 17th book in the Tea Shop mystery series published by Berkley Prime Crime, March 2016.

In this cozy-thriller, tea shop maven Theodosia Browning tries to track down a gang of jewel thieves who stage a daring “smash and grab” raid during a fancy soiree at Heart’s Desire Fine Jewelry in Charleston. Could it be the wealthy yacht broker, transplanted European, motorcycle-riding tough guy, or mild-mannered professor? The FBI thinks international jewel thieves are at work, but when the Heritage Society decides to put a priceless Faberge Egg on display, Theodosia takes matters into her own hands and investigates. From New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs, Devonshire Scream delivers a gripping, realistic murder that also includes tea tips and recipes for Cranberry Cream Scones, Shortbread Squares, and Waldorf Tea Sandwiches.

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About the author
Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty-eight mysteries, Gerry Sincluding the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. Little Girl Gone, the first book in her new Afton Tangler Thriller Series, hits bookstores July 5. Laura is the former CEO of her own marketing firm, has won dozens of TV and radio awards, written three screenplays, and produced two reality TV shows. She and her college professor husband enjoy travel and their two Shar-Pei dogs. Visit Laura at www.laurachilds.com and Facebook

Giveaway: Laura is giving away a hardcover copy of Devonshire Scream to one lucky winner. Leave comment below for your chance to win. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end March 22, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

48 responses to “A Day in the Life of Theodosia Browning by Laura Childs

  1. I Love Cozy Books This one looks really exciting Thanks so much for the chance to win a copy iamabho (at) gmail.com

  2. Marilyn Denler

    I love Laura Childs’ tea shop mysteries! All were excellent reads, and this sounds like it’s another winner! Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  3. Doward Wilson

    I love all of Laura’s series but this is my favorite. Great post and review. Thank you for the chance to win.

  4. Nancy Roessner

    That was exciting!

  5. Devonshire Scream sounds like an exciting read! Thank you for the chance to win.

  6. Laura Childs is one of my favorite authors–I love her both scrapbooking series and her tea shop series. Looking forward to her next book!

  7. I am looking forward to catching up with Theodosia, Drayton, et al! Thanks for the chance to win!

  8. Laura is on of my favorite cozy authors. I am enjoying the tea shop series. Thank you for the chance to win.

  9. I always enjoy books by Laura Childs. Thanks for a chance to enter.

  10. I love all of,her books. I enjoy reading them over because I there are so many you can go back and read them again with the same enjoyment. I can’t wait to get a hard copy of this one .

  11. How much better can it get with tea and scones and a good mystery. Sounds like a wonderful way to pass the day. Sounds like one I’d love to read.

  12. Kathy Gonzales

    I adore this series , I can’t wait to read the newest installment ! kathambre@yahoo.com

  13. I enjoy all of Laura Childs books. Fine mystery writing at its best! Can’t wait to read this new addition! Thank you for the chance.

  14. I’m fond of the tea shop mysteries and would love to win.

  15. This is one of my favorite series, and I cannot wait to read it. Thank you so much for the chance to win.

  16. Laura Childs always provides her readers with a great book to enjoy. Her tea series is one of many that I love. robeader53@yahoo.com

  17. Linda Cundiff

    Really like the Tearoom Series. Charlestown, tea rooms, romance-what not to like?

  18. I’ve read everyone of these and have loved seeing Theodosia and her staff grow as characters. I’m really looking forward to this.

  19. WOW. talk about a GRAB and GO read!! fabulous. Great series, too.

  20. I love her writing and own 11 of her books from all of her series’. I’d do a happy dance to win this hard cover edition of Devonshire Scream.

  21. I love this series and believe I have read them all so I would very much like a copy of the latest. Thanks for the offer.

  22. Love this authors work! Would love to win one I haven’t read.

  23. Great series, can’t wait to read this new book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  24. I love this series and will enjoy reading Devonshire Scream. In July I will be looking for the start of your thriller series.

  25. elainehroberson

    I love this series. Thanks for a chance to win a copy of the latest.

  26. Wow! That get your adrenaline going!

  27. Celia Fowler

    Wow – what an excerpt! I would love to read this book ~ (love the cover, too!) Thanks for the giveaway!

  28. Sounds like a great read.

  29. Susan Slovinsky

    Sounds like another great one in this series. Looking forward to reading it.

  30. Absolutely love this series!

  31. A wonderful feature and giveaway and great author and series. Thanks.

  32. A new book in my favorite of Laura’s series? Fabulous! If the rest of the book is a great as the excerpt, I may just have a new favorite in this series. So looking forward to reading Devonshire Scream. Thank you very much for the chance to win.

  33. I have been looking forward to the next book in this series! I first started reading cozies about ten-ish years ago when a friend’s mom introduced me to Laura Child’s scrapbook mysteries, which then got my mom all excited and she introduced me to the tea shop mysteries. To this day, the tea shop series remains one of my very favorite cozy series. I always find myself eating plenty of scones when reading them! grin. Thanks for the chance to win!

  34. This is one of my favorite series! What could be better than a story set in Charleston SC, a tea shop and beautiful jewels. I am so looking forward to reading this book. Great giveaway, thanks.

  35. Mary Jane H.

    Wow, Laura Childs just keeps giving! Love this series!

  36. Looking forward to reading the newest Tea Shop mystery.

  37. Vicki Highley

    One of my favorite authors. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Devonshire Scream.

  38. It would please me greatly to win a hard copy of Devonshire Scream. I love all things Laura Childs.

  39. A tea shop mystery with jewel thieves—how exciting!! I’m anxious to read this—I’m sure Laura Childs will not disappoint me.

  40. Sounds great…I love tea shops and mysteries so this has to be good.
    Thanks for the contest.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

  41. This is one of my favorite series.

  42. I have loved this series from the very beginning. Can’t wait to return to the tea shop!

  43. MaryAnn Forbes

    Devonshire Scream sounds like a great book, thanks for the opportunity to win it.

  44. wendynewcomb

    Would love to add this to my Laura Child’s ‘collection’, thank you for the chance to win a copy of this book.

    wfnren at aol dot com

  45. kayekillgore

    I love this series, the characters, the recipes…..

  46. Each bookcover in this series is a work of art…..LOVE LOVE them….
    The books aren’t bad either!!! LOL!!!!!
    Thank you for the giveaway….

  47. I love this series also the Cackleberry one.

  48. Della Williamson

    From what I’ve just read this book is going to be a doozy Beautiful cover. Am most interested in seeing how this turns out. Thanks for the chance to get it sooner.