Scones & Bones (A Tea Shop Mystery)
by Laura Childs
Cover Artist: Stephanie Henderson
Review by Mel Jacob
Berkley Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425238967
Date: 01 March 2011 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
For tea lovers and cozy mystery fans, Scones & Bones is Laura Child's twelfth Tea Shop Mystery featuring Theodosia Browning and her tea blender the ever proper Drayton Conneley and assorted friends fits the bill. At an exhibit of pirate memorabilia a young intern is killed and a woman assaulted when a thief steals a fabled skull cup purported to be Blackbeardís own skull.
Detective Bert Tidwell, an old friend and sometime adversary of Theodosia, suffers a semi-concussion in an accident while responding to the 911 call. He is forced to withdraw temporarily. Meanwhile, Timothy Neville, director of the Heritage Society Museum, begs Theodosia to solve the mystery. He fears for his job because of the loss of a valuable artifact. He has no faith in the police.
Theodosia runs from person to person and clue to clue gathering information. Odd characters abound including the two flamboyant sisters, Delaine Dish and Nadine, and various antique dealers with an interest in the stolen cup. An inscription on the bottom is supposed to point to Blackbeard's hoard, which causes Theodosia to focus on it too. Nadine makes trouble when she tells the newspaper she glimpsed the killer when she didn't.
Lots of complications confuse the search as Theodosia prepares for a housewarming, a Tea and Cheese Tasting event, and a possible new romantic interest. Friends and acquaintances both help and hinder her search. An exciting climax puts several lives in danger and will keep the reader entertained to the end.
Some aspects of Childs' style become almost repetitious, however the bits on pirate history and tea varieties are fascinating as are her varied characters. It is also surprising that as a resident of Charleston, South Carolina, and with an interest in history and local color, Theodosia fails to recognize Edward Teach as Blackbeard's name.
The back matter includes tasty recipes, tips on giving special tea parties, and extracts from a new novel. Childs writes several other mystery series: Scrapbook Mysteries and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. The title of the next Tea Shop Mystery is