A day in the life by Theodosia Browning by Laura Childs

pekoe-most-poisonAs a tea shop owner, I get invited to a lot of special event teas. But the craziest one I’ve even attended was a “rat tea” held at a very fancy mansion in Charleston’s ultra luxe historic district. Yes, that’s right, a rat tea. I’m talking about proper waiters costumed in velvet waistcoats and white gloves while wearing fuzzy white rat heads – all while they’re serving tea.

You see, a rat tea hearkens back to eighty years ago when Charleston had a rather large rodent problem. Measures were taken, of course, and the fine ladies who lived in the large manor homes did their part in promoting this by holding fancy rat teas.

So that’s what crazy Doreen Briggs did the other day, she held a rat tea for the crème de la crème of Charleston society. Only somewhere along the line everything slid off the rails. First her husband Beau Briggs started choking on his cup of Pekoe tea. Then the candelabra fell over and ignited the main centerpiece. And then, with smoke and bits of charred silk flowers floating through the air, her gasping husband collapsed into my arms. We did everything we could, but were unable to revive him.

All the society guests freaked out, of course, and were highly suspicious about the tea. And once the police were called in, poor desperate Doreen begged me to intercede. She asked me to conduct a sort of shadow investigation alongside the one the police were running. So now I’m buzzing around my tea shop – The Indigo Tea Shop – serving scones, trying to keep my customers happy, all the while trying to get a handle on a number of certifiably crazy suspects.

There’s Big Reggie, Beau Briggs’s cigar-smoking, sports car-driving business partner. And their snarky PR lady who always seems to dress in skin-tight leather outfits. And a Bernie Madoff-type hedge fund owner who has pocketed seven hundred thousand dollars of Doreen’s money and – please say it ain’t so – is looking to buy a house right next to the one I own. And then there’s a strangely silent waiter who may or may not have seen some nefarious goings-on in the kitchen.

Ah yes, the kitchen. When I dropped by Doreen’s home to speak with her, she was swirling a glass of brandy and looking awfully shaky. I took the glass away from her and went into the kitchen to fix her a nice cup of hot tea instead. But imagine my shock when I poked through the pantry and found a box of Pekoe tea sitting right next to a box of X-terminate Rat Poison! Deciding that particular pairing might be a little too close for comfort, I contacted the Charleston Police. And what a nice young detective they sent over! I’ve been dealing with Detective Tidwell all these years, but he’s awfully cranky and stubborn. Not one to let a girl intrude on a murder investigation.

But Detective Pete Riley seems to be a breath of fresh air. He’s young, efficient, and oh so good looking. In fact, he makes a girl’s heart kind of flutter when he’s around. But now I find myself walking a very thin, precarious line. I want to continue investigating Beau’s murder and I need to figure out just how serious Detective Riley is when he tells me he’d like to get to know me better. Hmm. This is a very tricky case, indeed.

Want to know how all this turns out? Pekoe Most Poison is a thriller-cozy (okay, it’s a thrillzy!) sprinkled with humor and packed with twists and turns you’ll never see coming! In fact, it’s the 17th book in the much-beloved Tea Shop Mystery series.

And as a bonus, here’s one of my favorite recipes from the Indigo Tea Shop:

Apple Nut Squares

2 eggs
apple nut square1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 cups apples, chopped
½ cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine eggs, sugar, and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and combine. Stir in apples and nuts. Spread mixture into a greased and floured 8” x 12” pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool and then cut into squares. Yields about 12 squares.

You can read more about Theo in Pekoe Most Poison the 17th book in the “Tea Shop” mystery series.

In the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs, Theodosia Browning attends a “Rat Tea,” where the mice will play. . .at murder.

When Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is invited by Doreen Briggs, one of Charleston’s most prominent hostesses, to a “Rat Tea,” she is understandably intrigued. As servers dressed in rodent costumes and wearing white gloves offer elegant finger sandwiches and fine teas, Theo learns these parties date back to early twentieth-century Charleston, where the cream of society would sponsor so-called rat teas to promote city rodent control and better public health.

But this party goes from odd to chaotic when a fire starts at one of the tables and Doreen’s entrepreneur husband suddenly goes into convulsions and drops dead. Has his favorite orange pekoe tea been poisoned? Theo smells a rat.

The distraught Doreen soon engages Theo to pursue a discreet inquiry into who might have murdered her husband. As Theo and her tea sommelier review the guest list for suspects, they soon find themselves drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. . .

Includes recipes and tea time tips

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About the author
Laura Childs is the USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Gerry SShop Mysteries, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO of her own marketing firm, authored several screenplays, and produced two reality TV shows. She is married to Dr. Bob, a professor of Chinese art history, enjoys travel, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs. Connect with Laura at laurachilds.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Pekoe Most Poison. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends March 10, 2017. Good luck everyone!

Pekoe Most Poison is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.

46 responses to “A day in the life by Theodosia Browning by Laura Childs

  1. Pauline Barlow

    I just know that “Pekoe Most Poison” will be a good read as it is by Laura Childs and located in Charleston. I am anxious to start it. Thanks for putting it out there.

  2. Beverly Guy

    This is a new author for me and sounds like a super duper awesome new book! And the exciting thing is that I see since this is the 17th book in the series, I will have so much fun reading the other 16 books as well. The recipe for Apple Nut Squares sounds so yummy! I love, love, love tea and look forward to reading this book! Thank you so much dearest Dru Ann and Laura Childs for introducing me to this new series for me anyway and for the chance to win!!!! God bless you girls!!!!

  3. Linda Herold

    Please enter me in this giveaway! I’d love to win!!

  4. Valerie Consoer

    Can’t wait to read the newest Theodosia book!!

  5. One of my favorite series!!!
    Thank you for the giveaway…..

  6. Reading it now. Love it! It makes my stay in rehab a lot brighter. A favorite series.

  7. I enjoy this series but am waaaay behind. Thanks

  8. Super series and I need to catch up! Thanks, Dru!

  9. Would love to win this one! Thank you for the review and the chance to win a copy.

  10. On a tight budget. I need to win this. I simply cannot miss a tearoom mystery.

  11. aliciafarage

    I hope this isn’t a duplicate…. but I love this series and the chance to win. Thank you!

  12. Kathy Gonzales

    Woo hoo! This series is a recent discovery for me , and I am really liking it ! Thank you for a chance to win !

  13. Brian Frauenknecht

    I absolutely love this series. I can’t wait to read this latest installment. I sincerely hope this series never ends, I love spending time with Theodosia and everyone. Thank you for the chance to win Dru!!!

  14. Love this series and tea is my favorite drink all year round. Only hot tea.

  15. Great series, I love the characters. Feels like visiting friends with each new book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  16. Who knew a tea show could be so full of activity? That recipe sounds good, too.

  17. Mary Jane H.

    Love how this story is written. Tea on a shelf next to rat poison? Hmmmm.

  18. Ooh! I would love to win this book! I’ve loved this series since I read the first book. Thanks for the opportunity!

  19. Sounds great, I can’t wait to read it. I love the cover.

  20. How dare someone spoil a lovely cup of tea with poison!

  21. Can’t wait to see what Theodosia gets herself into this rime. The Tea Shop series is my favorite. All of the characters are wonderful in there own way. Laura Childs is a wonderful author.

  22. This series is the second cozy series I ever started reading (Laura’s Scrapbook series being the first!) and it remains one of my very favorites to this day! Thanks for the chance to win!

  23. Love Laura’s books they are fun and hope to win the chance to read the newest book about “tea murders”. thanks for the chance. embam1969@comcast.net

  24. Doward Wilson

    One of my favorite authors & series. Thanks for the chance to win.

  25. Can’t wait to see what Theodosia gets herself into this time. Laura Childs is my favorite author and the Teashop Series is my favorite.

  26. This is a great series and I can’t wait to read. I love that it is set in Charleston SC and features a historic mansion and a rat tea. Sounds like an interesting storyline.

  27. This is an awesome series–Theodosia and all the other Tea Sop characters are so much fun! I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

  28. Carol Brown

    The tea shop is my favorite of your series, but the two others are great, too! I finished reading Egg Drop Dead (Cackleberry series) about an hour ago!

  29. MaryAnn Forbes

    Thank you for sharing the recipe; looking forward to trying it. I’m not familiar with this series, yet my interest is definitely piqued.

  30. Amanda Wilcox

    My grandma and I love to share this series back and forth! Thanks for the chance to win and the recipe too!

  31. Karen Terry

    Food and murder count me in.

  32. Anita Orsino

    I am so looking forward to this latest entry in a wonderful series. I visited Charleston last summer and would have loved a real Indigo Tea shop to visit.

  33. Looking forward to reading the latest Tea Shop mystery.

  34. Mmmmm. The recipe looks delicious!

  35. Vicki Highley

    A Rat Tea and murder what a way to start a book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  36. Joanne Kocourek

    I love this series.. Hoping to win a copy as the price increase is making it a challenge for me to obtain the newer books.. Our library system has a 6-12 month delay for most cozy mysteries.

  37. I love this series! Theodosia is my favorite. Thanks for the chance.

  38. That cover looks delicious, once again we’re looking forward to Laura’s new book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  39. love this author….everything she has written!!

  40. This is one of my favorite series. I love Theo and Dayton.

  41. I mean Drayton.

  42. The cover is very charming, and the book sounds like great fun!

  43. Loved the post. Seems Theo has her work cut out for her. I will be looking forward to those tea tips. And those recipes. That apple nut squares looks great. Read Egg Drop Dead. It was great. So I am really looking forward to this one. Hope to read it sooner. Rather than later

  44. I’ve read every book in this series and loved each one–the setting, the food, the parties–they’re all great and make me want to move south

  45. Ruthann McCoy

    Love Laura Child’s, and all 3 of her series’

  46. **** WINNER ****
    of Pekoe Most Poison is Amy Gill