29. Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs
Publication: Berkley; Reissue edition (May 8, 2001), Paperback, 256pp / ISBN 0425179451
Summary from Amazon:
When a man is poisoned by tea, Theo is the prime suspect. Now she has to prove her innocence and track down the real killer-before someone else takes their last sip.
Now, y’all have probably realized by now how much I like tea. And you know I like cozies, though I’ve had some problems with them earlier this year. So! A cozy mystery where the victim is killed by a poisoned cup of tea, where the amatuer detective owns a tea shop, and ever other paragraph has something related to tea in it? That cozy mystery is pretty near a perfect fit for me.
I especially like Death by Darjeeling because all the elements of a cozy are in it, but they’re put together in such a way that it’s not annoying. I mean, Theo is a middle-aged single woman, BUT she doesn’t have a cat (she has a dog instead!), she doesn’t fall the potential murderer, she actually does now how to run a business and does it rather successfully, and she’s nosy without being over-the-top about it. I really liked her, actually.
The setting, Charleston, was vibrant without being overly described, and the people were Southern without being caricatures. It felt like a really friendly town, with interesting stuff in it. I liked it. And the mystery was pretty good, too. I never figured out who did it until the reveal at the end, and that’s a pretty difficult thing to accomplish with me (I’m always on the look out for red herrings and clues, etc).
The only thing I didn’t like was how overly emotional everyone was. I don’t know if it’s a Southern thing or what, but at least two of the character were in tears more than half the time they were onscreen, and even Theo teared up once or twice. It was a little bit annoying, yeah.
All in all, however, Death by Darjeeling was a fantastic cozy mystery that I really enjoyed reading. I’m definitely going to try to read the other books in the series, and I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants something fun to read.