Devonshire Scream (Tea Shop)
by Laura Childs
Cover Artist: Stephanie Henderson
Review by Mel Jacob
Berkley Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425281666
Date: 01 March 2016 List Price $26.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
In Laura Childs' Devonshire Scream, Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop, is once again called upon by a close friend, owner of a local jewelry shop, to investigate the murder of her niece. A smash and grab jewel heist decimates an event at the shop featuring period jewelry from museums and owners, and leaves the niece dead. Little does Theodosia expect she too will become a target for the thieves.
Theodosia is observant and notices small things missed by others. Her colleague Drayton, her expert tea blender and connoisseur, assists her investigations. She compiles a list of possible suspects using information provided by the jewelry store owner. Some of the potential suspects are new to Charleston.
Theodosia searches the local papers and the internet for clues while also holding a series of special events at the tea shop. She pumps the local police for information, trading some of her findings with her friend Detective Tidwell. Meanwhile, the FBI joins the local police in the search for the jewelry store robbers, but they are less willing to share information. They believe the gang may have connections to Europe.
Drayton then informs Theodosia the local heritage society will display a Faberge egg worth thirty million dollars during their antiques show. It would be a prime target for jewel thieves and she fears for its safety.
Theodosia remembers hearing a powerful engine such as large motorcycle at the time of the robbery. Later, she discovers her chef, Haley, is dating a young man with motorcycle. He is also new to the area. So, Theodosia adds him as a possible suspect.
A large boat parked at the yacht club makes Theodosia wonder if it might become a getaway vehicle for the thieves. She overhears a suspicious conversation and alerts Tidwell.
Devonshire Scream is the seventeenth Tea Shop Mystery by Childs, an accomplished writer who offers both humor and a sea chase to readers. Childs has several other mystery series: Scrapbooking Mysteries and the Cackleberry Club Mysteries. The mystery provides enough suspects and red herrings to hold the reader's interest. Childs also offers recipes and ideas for themed teas. The characters are adequate, but show little depth and no development. As Gerry Schmitt, Childs is offering a new thriller Little Girl Gone out in July 2016.