This is the fifth novel of the Tea Shop Mysteries series and as I had never read any of the other novels before, I feel like I just discovered a treasure. It tells the story of Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop and amateur detective and her friends and coworkers; baker extraordinaire, Haley and tea specialist Drayton. When an influential doctor is killed during a Ghost Crawl at Charleston's historic Jasmine Cemetery, Theodosia and her friends from the Tea Shop investigate the murder.
The Agatha Christy style mystery is excellently written; each chapter reveals a new clue and each realistically drawn new character introduced, presents a new suspect. When I first started to read it, I thought that it would be difficult to find the characters familiar as I have never been to Charleston, but they are very well developed and real. Indeed I feel like I know them and that I share Theo's love for tea and dogs.
Obviously, as this is a Tea Shop Mystery there are a lot of tea trivia; information about various blends of tea, different flavors including chocolate (this must be an American thing!), ways to serve tea, and ideas for tea parties, all these weaved into the story. Also there are very detailed descriptions of the foods served at the Tea Shop and there are recipes at the end of the book for some of these great dishes. Sadly we are not provided with recipes for all the dishes mentioned; I know this is a mystery novel and not a cookbook, but just a few more recipes wouldn't hurt. In addition to the recipes, there are interesting and useful tea time tips from Laura Childs.
Every time I finish a great novel I feel sad, like I lost a good friend, so I already ordered the next novel in the series Chamomile Mourning (Tea Shop Mysteries)
and until it gets here I console myself with a cup of tea, some Ham and Apricot Preserve Tea Sandwiches and some mouthwatering Chocolate Sour Cream Muffins, from the recipes at the end of the book. The other favorite recipes from the Indigo Tea Shop include the "Disappearing Buttermilk Scones", "Tea-Smoked Chicken", "Haley's Chocolate Zucchini Tea Bread", "Poached Pears with Chocolate", "Jasmine Tea Truffles", "Jory's Favorite Chicken Bog", "Haley's Heartwarming Carrot Bisque", "Drayton's Crabby Apple Salad", "Sweet Potato Comfort Pie", and "Drayton's Green Tea Tippler".
In total, this is a page turner mystery with very likable characters, great tea information and to top all that, delicious recipes.