Sara's Reviews > Death by Darjeeling

Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs
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Jun 03, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: 2011, adult-fiction, mystery

2.5 stars. Theodosia Browning is the owner of a teashop in historic Charleston who becomes embroiled in a mystery when a developer dies at a garden party because his cup of tea was poisoned. Somehow the entire city decides that the teashop must be to blame, since it was their tea that was served, and Theodosia takes it upon herself to launch an informal investigation into what really happened.

The book was a pretty quick read, but it wasn't all that entertaining. The author did a good job describing the setting of Charleston and made me able to really "feel" the city, but the mystery itself kind of plodded along without any real suspense. Theodosia's entire investigation felt staged, since there didn't seem to be any real reason for her to be involved, and there were awkward point-of-view transitions from Theodosia (the main character) to various peripheral characters - within scenes! - that made me unsure where the narration was or whose head I was supposed to be inside. Red herrings were thrown in very clumsily, too, which made it all the more awkward to read; for example, there's a short chapter from a minor character's point of view, saying that he'd noticed Theodosia's interest in the mystery and decided he should keep a close watch on her. It didn't really fit the rest of the flow and seemed thrown in for no other reason than to supposedly get the reader's interest piqued.

I enjoyed the references to teas and the fact that this teashop was the main setting in the book, but other than that and the descriptions of Charleston, this novel didn't really hold a lot of appeal for me. It's an okay read, but the mystery was sort of lackluster, the action non-existent, and the characters not fully "alive". Overall, it wasn't horrible, but it's not something I'd recommend or a series in which I'll be reading further. I'd say this was okay for an afternoon but that's about it. Perhaps readers who enjoy the "cozier" side of cozy mysteries would like this more.
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