Review: Agony of the Leaves by Laura Childs
In the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Scones and Bones, Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning finds herself in hot water when a body surfaces at the grand opening of Charleston’s Neptune Aquarium…
The opening of the aquarium is a major Charleston event, and Theodosia has been hired to cater tea, scones, and sandwiches for the private party to honor dignitaries and big buck donors. Things are going swimmingly, until Theodosia escapes the party for a momentary rest, only to discover the body of a man entangled in a net, drowned in one of the aquarium’s state-of-the-art tanks.
To make matters worse, the victim is Theodosia’s former boyfriend Parker Scully. The EMTs on the scene think Parker’s drowning was an accident, but when Theodosia notices what look like defense wounds on his hands, she realizes that someone wanted Parker dead. The local police aren’t keen on hearing her theory-especially because of her ties to the victim-so Theodosia knows that if she wants Parker’s killer brought to justice, she’ll have to jump into the deep end and start her own investigation…
INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!
I was first introduced to Laura Childs’ Tea Shop Mysteries when I was writing tea reviews for my college’s newspaper a few years ago. Stumbling upon this series by happenstance, I was a stranger to the world of cozy mysteries. But after reading Death by Darjeeling, the first novel in the series, I was hooked.
Over the past three years I have been following the lives of Theodosia Browning and her trusty sidekicks Drayton and Hayley. And who can forget Earl Grey, Theodosia’s trusty four-legged friend dubbed with a pedigree of “Dalabrador.”
I’ve enjoyed the mysteries and mayhem that this band of friends has endured over the years, felt the heartache of Theodosia’s break ups, and laughed at the wisecracks they’ve made throughout each novel. The world of the Indigo Tea Shop has become a haven of comfort and relaxation for me and many other readers who have become devoted to the series.
Agony of the Leaves, the thirteenth installment in the Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs, finds the staff of the Indigo Tea Shop at the Neptune Aquarium in Charleston, where they’ve been hired to cater an opening-day fundraiser. As Theodosia takes in the sights of the beautiful fish and coral, she discovers a new addition to the tank, a dead body. To make matters worse, the deceased happens to be her most recent ex-boyfriend, Parker Scully.
Everyone at the aquarium is convinced that it was simply an accidental drowning, even Detective Tidwell, Theodosia’s ally from the police department, is convinced that Parker slipped and fell into the tank before becoming entangled in a net and drowning. However, Theodosia knows better. Someone wanted Parker out of the way, but who and why? It’s up to Theodosia and her friends to discover who is behind such a sinister murder and why on earth would anyone want to kill Parker.
As a fan of this series, I have never found a single installment that has disappointed me. Yes, some of the novels are better than others, but all deliver excitement and entertainment. Agony of the Leaves is a tad bit different from its predecessors. It is this reviewer’s humble opinion that Agony of the Leaves is by far the best novel in The Tea Shop Mysteries.
Throughout the previous novels Theodosia is faced with solving the murders of people she barely knew or people that were vaguely mentioned as side characters in preceding novels. But for the first time she is faced with the murder of someone she not only knows but someone she also once loved. This simple fact takes both Theodosia and the reader through one heck of an emotional roller-coaster.
The characters are endearing, the plot original, and the setting ideal. This book includes cameos from characters that readers have come to know and love throughout the series (such as Timothy Neville, Delaine Dish, Aunt Libby, Earl Grey, and Miss Dimple) and gives the reader an in-depth look into the world of Charleston, South Carolina.
Agony of the Leaves is an intriguing read that grabs the reader at the very beginning and holds on tightly until the very last page. This book has it all: excitement, sorrow, humor, romance, and of course mystery. This novel is near impossible to put down once you start reading it and takes the reader through an emotional rollercoaster vicariously through the eyes of Theodosia Browning. Once I finished this book I was ready to read the next in the series. Unfortunately, we readers will have to wait until March of 2013 for the next addition to this magnificent series.