Charleston, South Carolina, tea shop owner Theodosia Browning is late to her friend Delaine Dish's wedding, but that turns out not to be a problem. You see, the groom is stone cold dead in his room at the wedding venue, the Ravencrest Inn. A killer has crashed Delaine's nuptials before the "Wedding March" ever had a chance to start. Now Theodosia has to sort the suspects (Bride or Groom?) in an attempt to find the killer before the killer plans a reception for her.
I began reading Laura Childs' Tea Shop mysteries when she first began writing them. I loved the Charleston setting and the quirky, edgy characters were fun. Unfortunately that was several books ago in this--so far-- fourteen-book series. When I dove headfirst into this latest book, Charleston was as I remembered it, but the delightful characters seem to have lost a bit of their edge, and the mystery was rather perfunctory.
I think one of the things that surprised me most was the fact that one of the shallowest characters in this series-- Delaine Dish-- has graduated to being one of Theodosia's "dear friends." For me, Delaine is much too unlikable to focus a mystery upon. Frankly, my dear, I don't much care how upset she gets or which poor soul she's led into marriage. (Bless my heart, aren't I the cold-hearted reader!)
Theodosia has a new beau, Max, and she's evidently devoted to him, but he's scarcely seen or heard throughout the entire book. In fact, I'm wondering if-- with the inclusion of a new man showing lots of interest in the main character-- if Theodosia might have a few man troubles in a future book? That might certainly spice things up!
Besides the fact that the book is focused on a very shallow character, the mystery seems a bit thin on the ground, with fewer than normal twists, turns, and red herrings. Sweet Tea Revenge is a light, quick, enjoyable read, but it doesn't quite stand up with the earlier books in the series. It will be interesting to see what happens next.
Sweet Tea Revenge by Laura Childs
Berkley Prime Crime © 2013
Hardcover, 336 pages
Cozy Mystery, #14 Tea Shop Mystery
Source: the author