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The Big Thrill Recommends: MURDER IN THE TEA LEAVES by Laura Childs

Recommendation by Susan Santangelo

Book Cover Image: Murder in the Tea LeavesTheodosia Browning—Theo to her friends and proprietor of the Indigo Tea Room—has a catering job on the set of Dark Fortunes, a movie currently in production in her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. Along with her trusty tea sommelier, Drayton, Theo’s excited to watch an actual Hollywood movie being filmed. The production takes a shocking turn—literally—when the movie’s director, Josh Morro, is electrocuted in front of the horrified cast, crew, Theo, and Drayton just as the actors begin the first scene. Is this a terrible accident or a deliberate, grisly murder?

Theo is no stranger to Charleston murder scenes. And she’s no slouch at solving murders, either, especially when she’s an eyewitness, like she is this time. The fact that she’s dating Pete Riley, a Charleston police detective, frequently comes in handy when she’s fishing for inside information on a case, even though he tries his best to discourage her sleuthing. Don’t get the wrong idea—Theo doesn’t go looking for trouble. It’s just that, sometimes, trouble goes looking for her.

After a preliminary investigation, the police conclude the electrocution could not have been an accident and put Josh Morro’s local girlfriend, Delaine Dish (one of Theo’s friends), high on their suspect list. Delaine has a dandy motive: revenge. When Josh was wooing her, he was already engaged to someone else. Thankfully, Delaine’s not alone on the police suspect list. The screenwriter, leading lady, and none of the movie’s crew members have anything good to say about the recently deceased director, either.

Local investors in the movie and members of the Charleston Film Board convince the authorities to allow the production to continue, and a new director, Joe Adler, is quickly hired. Adler’s known to do anything necessary to get a job he wants. Does “anything” include committing murder? Theo can’t resist nosing around, accompanied by her reluctant accomplice, Drayton, who tags along to keep her out of trouble and ends up getting in trouble himself.

MURDER IN THE TEA LEAVES is a delicious addition to this always enjoyable series. Highly recommended.



Susan Santangelo