Hana's Reviews > Death by Darjeeling

Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs
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F 50x66
's review
Feb 26, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: mystery-crime
Read in January, 2011

This book was recommended to me by someone who found out that, not only did I like mystery books, but was also a tea drinker. I must admit that I enjoyed the descriptions of the tea more than the actual mystery.

Theodosia is our main sleuth. She is a thirty-something ex-corporate business workaholic-turned tea shop owner. Right off the bat, I got the sneaking suspicion that the author desperately wanted her readers to like, no, make it love, Theodosia so much that she forgot to attribute any flaws to her. Oh she may lament that she's not "thin", or that she's too "stubborn", or too "curious", but conversely those are things that the author wants you to admire about Theo. Her employees adore her, men are attracted to her, women approve of her, and even those that don't like her, respect her. Theo has an elegant look, impeccable taste, business savvy, and a heart of gold. Getting tired of her yet? There's a reason why Poirot, Holmes, and yes, even Columbo, are so beloved. We like flaws, whether it be fastidiousness, pride, arrogance, misanthropy, sloppiness, etc.

Another thing that bothered me was the female characters crying at the drop of a hat. And screaming and/or fainting at the sight of a dead body. I can understand if it was a gruesome murder, but finding an old man slumped at his table is hardly reason to go into hysterics. Maybe that's their Southern sensibilities, or maybe I'm just nitpicking.

The mystery is fun, but mediocre. The supposed highly reputable detective is hell bent on proving that the least likely suspect is guilty, which leaves Theo to go traipsing off to find the real murderer. Perhaps he reads mystery novels where it's always the least likely suspect, but in this case, it's laughable.

Ms. Childs has a tendency to switch POV mid-chapter, which can be jarring. She does provide nice descriptions of the tea, which makes me want to read more about tea than her next book. All in all, not a very gripping story. In my opinion, if a book has two dimensional characters, then the story has to be interesting. If the story is mainstream, then the characters have to be compelling. Sadly, Death by Darjeeling has neither (or both?)

If you are a hardcore mystery buff, and if you like complex and intriguing characters, this book is NOT for you. If you are a fan of tea and like a quick read, then by all means, read it. If you are a tea aficionado, I can't say whether you will like this book or not, as I can't verify the accuracy of the tea facts in this book. Cheers!
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