I’m thrilled to be participating in the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours introducing LAVENDER BLUE MURDER, the twenty-first book in The Tea Shop Mysteries. This newest release is another entertaining addition to an endearing series by Laura Childs. You can always count on Ms. Childs to start her stories off with a bang, and in this newest release, it is quite a literal bang! I love the descriptive settings the author evokes, from a proper English shooting party being hosted by a local plantation, to the quaint, genteel Southern city of Charleston, to the charming Indigo Tea Shop. The reader is immediately immersed into both the atmosphere and the mystery. There is non-stop action, whether protagonist, Theodosia Browning, is hosting a themed tea party at her shop, or involved in zany antics as she tries to solve the murder of the plantation owner. With plenty of clues and suspects provided, the book progressed quickly, making it difficult to set it down for any length of time
Along with a fast-paced story, Ms. Child’s creates memorable characters. While Theodosia may be a Southern genteel woman, she’s also a force of nature to be reckoned with. Her sidekick, elderly tea sommelier Drayton Conneley, provides a calming influence on her while creating the perfect tea blend for the guests who come through Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia and Drayton have a sweet relationship and I admire the respect they show for each other, no matter what kind of scrapes they find themselves in. We don’t see much of Theodosia’s detective fiancé in this book and I hope he has a greater presence in the next story.
Not only does the Indigo Tea Shop host themed tea party events, but each one has plenty of delicious dishes to match the theme. I appreciate that Ms. Childs includes recipes at the back of the book, along with numerous tea party tips to help plan your own. I practically drooled over the recipe for Ginger-Cardamom Tea Cookies and couldn’t wait to make these shortbread-style cookies infused with English Breakfast Tea! The spices provide plenty of warm flavor while the tea gives a little kick in the specks that dot the sandy-textured cookie. White chocolate chips give a burst of creamy sweetness to each bite. These are a delicious cookies to serve for a late morning tea break or at a more formal afternoon tea. I melted some white chocolate and drizzled over the tops of each cookie to “dress” them up.
Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier Drayton Conneley are guests at a bird hunt styled in the precise manner of an English shooting party. Which means elevenses (sloe gin fizzes), gun loaders, the drawing of pegs, fine looking bird dogs, and shooting costumes of tweed, herringbone, and suede.
But as gunshots explode like a riff of Black Cat firecrackers, another shot sounds too close for comfort to Theodosia and Drayton. Intrigued but worried, Theodosia wanders into the neighbor’s lavender field where she discovers their host, Reginald Doyle, bleeding to death.
His wife, Meredith, is beside herself with grief and begs Theodosia and Drayton to stay the night. But Theodosia awakens at 2:00A.M. to find smoke in her room and the house on fire. As the fire department screams in and the investigating sheriff returns, Meredith again pleads with Theodosia for help.
As Theodosia investigates, fingers are pointed, secrets are uncovered, Reginald’s daughter-in-law goes missing presumed drowned, and Meredith is determined to find answers via a séance. All the while Theodosia worries if she’s made a mistake in inviting a prime suspect to her upscale Lavender Lady Tea.
A special thanks to Laura Childs for providing two giveaway copies of LAVENDER BLUE MURDER. Contest ends March 21, 2019 at 11:59 pm PST. Please use the Rafflecopter box located below the recipe to enter. The contest is administered by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and the winner will be announced on this page as well as notified by email (so check your spam folder!)
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Leaves from 1 English Breakfast tea bag
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
In mixer, beat together butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, salt, and tea.
Add dry mixture to butter mixture and beat on low speed until blended.
Stir in white chocolate chips.
Drop tablespoon-sized balls of dough 1 inch apart, using 2 greased (or parchment-lined) cookie sheets. Flatten balls slightly with a floured glass.
Bake 15 to 18 minutes, switching cookie sheets around halfway through baking.
Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!
Yields 36 to 40 cookies.
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I was provided an advance copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.