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Broken Bone China

A Tea Shop Mystery

By Laura Childs

Berkley Prime Crime Hardcover

March 5, 2019


Living dangerously is a natural part of Theodosia Browning’s life. As owner of the Indigo Tea Shop, it’s not uncommon for her to schedule a themed tea party, but the majority of the time, instead of serving her customers, a special blend of tea, she’s trying to solve a murder.

In the latest Tea Shop Mystery, Theo and her resident sommelier, Drayton, are enjoying a hot air balloon ride with the Top Flight Balloon club after hosting an afternoon tea in Hampton Park. When the skies turn dark, the peaceful scene of balloons gliding turns into a front row seat to a deadly attack when one of the balloons is struck by a drone. The deadly device claims the life of three businessmen right before their eyes.

Theo’s friend’s fiance is immediately caught in Detective Tidwell’s suspect radar. Why is simple: he owns a drone and was fired from SyncSoft. One of the men killed in the hot air balloon was Don Kingsley, the software company’s CEO. Harold doesn’t seem to be a murderer. He was fired from his job because he said they were doing something wrong that would affect a lot of people and he didn’t want to be silent about it. But, interesting enough, there’s another investigative angle. Let’s talk about the valuable Revolutionary War British flag that a number of collectors know about and would like to get their greedy little hands on. One seems to really care about preserving the past and she has the degree to prove it. Or, so she says. Then there are a number of others trying to figure out where the now-missing flag is so they can grab it and sell it for a considerable profit.

As always, Laura’s novels are a welcoming retreat from a busy real life. Though you were told what the weapon was from the beginning, figuring out who the operator was created a challenge. Let’s hope that such a device is never used this way. I liked the historical angle. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to find a military flag from that era. It reminds you how easily historical artifacts can get in the wrong hands. Also, I would like to see the “truth” not revealed so quickly. More suspense is needed. Maybe that’s just the editing process to keep the books a certain length.

What I’d like to see in future books in the series, Theo getting to spend more time with the man she’s crazy about. Maybe learn more about Theo’s family or meet a family member. Drayton doing something out of character for once. The man needs to loosen up and have at least one night of fun. Don’t remember if it was mentioned before, but I’d love for Haley to create a cookbook.

four and three-quarter drones out of five

Denise Fleischer


April 18, 2019

Next review: A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn


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