I received this book for free from Berkley Prime Crime in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Devonshire Scream (A Tea Shop Mystery #17) by Laura Childs
Series: A Tea Shop Mystery #17
Published by Berkley on March 1st 2016
Number of Pages: 320
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Source: Berkley Prime Crime
Purchase: At Amazon
Catering a high-class trunk show at Heart's Desire Jewelry is a shining achievement for Theodosia and the Indigo Tea Shop. After all, a slew of jewelers, museums, and private collectors will be there to showcase their wares and sip some of Theo's best blends. But just as Theo settles in to enjoy the fruits of her labor, the party is crashed by a gang of masked muggers who rob the precious gems and jewels on display. The thieves disappear almost as quickly as they arrived, leaving shattered glass, scattered gemstones, and a dead body in their wake.
Although the last thing Theo wants is to get involved, she can't help but intercede when her dear friend Brooke, aunt of the victim and owner of Heart's Desire, begs for help in figuring out who committed the brutal burglary. Though the FBI believes this daring "smash and grab" is the work of an international gang of jewel thieves, Theo is convinced that the felon is someone much closer to home...
I haven’t read any books in this series before, but from the very first pages this one grabbed my attention. Some cozy mysteries start off slow, and you don’t get introduced to the murder or stolen thing, or whatever until you’re a few chapters in. This book waited all of 5 pages before the beginning of the actual mystery plot.
I loved getting to know all the characters. They were well-fleshed out and most had their own little quirks and personality traits. I especially liked Theo and Drayton. There were a number of funny moments when Theo was investigating, and dragged poor Drayton along for the ride.
I had a few suspicions about who the thief was, but the way it unfolded was surprising and fun! My one quibble with it, was the fact that Theo saw what could have been a tattoo during the robbery on one of the robbers. She tells the police about it, and then promptly seems to forget until the last pages. Never once does she look for the tattoo on any of her suspects, or even take a quick glance for it on the people she chats with.
Granted, had she done so, the mystery would have ended sooner. But I’m sure ways could have been found to hide the tattoo, or deflect attention. Having it pop up in the beginning, and be such a possibly important clue, and then just have no part in the plot until the very end irked me.
The book had a lot of funny moments, and I liked how twisty the plot was. It left me guessing right up until the end. I also liked the little bits of history and trivia worked into the various themed tea events. I’ll most likely read some of the earlier books in this series. If you like cozy mysteries that are fast paced (but not in the too fast sense), and can overlook plot holes, you should try this series.
Recipes Included: Drayton’s Devonshire Cream, Strawberry Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches, Cheesy Corn Chowder, Zucchini Quiche, Charleston Chocolate Brownie Tortes, Prosciutto and Fig Butter Tea Sandwiches, Cranberry Cream Scones, Drayton’s Shortbread Squares, Waldorf Tea Sandwiches, Haley’s Beef Stroganoff, Chocolate Chip Scones.