9780425281666Book Review – Devonshire Scream

By Laura Childs

A Tea Shop Mystery

Berkley Prime Crime

Hardcover, US $26.00

279 pages with resources and recipes

setting: Charleston, South Carolina


A dazzling event hosted by Brooke Carter Crockett, owner of Heart’s Desire Fine Jewelry, tragically ends in a Hollywood-style smash and grab. The problem is this isn’t a movie and Brooke’s 29-year-old niece, Kaitlin, isn’t a stunt actor pretending to be dead. She is dead.

Theodosia Browning isn’t a detective, but she’s darn good at fishing for clues and solving mysteries even while operating a popular tea house in town. Theo was also a witness at the heist as she was catering the event.

Before Brooke can even grieve the loss of her niece she asks Theo to find Kaitlin’s killer. Theo will do anything to help a friend, even if it leads to the path of danger. Guided by intuition, she follows her internal compass and dives right into the investigation. International jewel thieves are at the center of this mystery, but who are they? Could it be Lionel Rinicker, a new resident in town who quickly worked his way onto the board of the Heritage Society and into Grace Dawson’s home and heart? Could it be the owners of Gold Coast Yachts who know a thing or two about their client’s wealth and material assets? Or Haley’s new boyfriend who just happens to ride a motorcycle. It was a motorcycle that led the thieves away from the crime scene.

A second community event is planned and there’s no backing out. This one will be hosted by the Heritage Society and will feature an original Faberge egg. All are worried about its safety considering the recent jewelry store theft.

Laura Childs continues to write one entertaining book after another. I have to admit that secondary character Drayton is my favorite and I’m buying more tea because of this series. What do I love about this book? The beautiful book covers, the hardworking characters, the themed parties, the unpredictable plots, the tea resources and more. What bugs me? That the book ends and waiting for the next in the series.

As for the plot, the storyline moves along at a quick pace. Theo and her staff are always preparing for a party or she’s investigating day or night. Theo will get a strong hunch and you can be sure she’s ringing someone’s doorbell looking for answers. The genre is cozy and the audience would be anyone who enjoys reading about small businesses, mysteries set in the south and amateur sleuths. The style is informal, to the point, filled with curiosity. It’s hard to measure character growth unless you start from the beginning of the series.

Another interesting character is Detective Burt Tidwell. He loves scones, but also devours what info Theo’s uncovered. Like most detectives, he doesn’t want her involved, but he’s glad she is. There’s also the challenge he has trying to beat the FBI from solving the case.

Devonshire Scream, which is a play on words for Devonshire Cream, is another keeper. I loved it from the unfolding of the crime to the “I got you now” moment.

Four samovars out of five


Denise Fleischer

July 16, 2016