2 January 2020

Review: BROKEN BONE CHINA, Laura Childs

  • this edition (large print) published in 2019 by Gale
  • ISBN-13 978-1-4328-5914-5
  • 435 pages
  • #20 in the Tea Shop Mystery series
  • source: my local library
Synopsis (Amazon)

It is Sunday afternoon, and Theodosia and Drayton are catering a formal tea at a hot-air balloon rally. The view aloft is not only stunning, they are also surrounded by a dozen other colorful hot-air balloons. But as the sky turns gray and the clouds start to boil up, a strange object zooms out of nowhere. It is a drone, and it appears to be buzzing around the balloons, checking them out. As Theodosia and Drayton watch, the drone, hovering like some angry, mechanized insect, deliberately crashes into the balloon next to them.

An enormous, fiery explosion erupts, and everyone watches in horror as the balloon plummets to the earth, killing all three of its passengers. Sirens scream, first responders arrive, and Theodosia is interviewed by the police. During the interview she learns that one of the downed occupants was Don Kingsley, the CEO of a local software company, SyncSoft. Not only do the police suspect Kingsley as the primary target, they learn that he possessed a rare Revolutionary War Union Jack flag that several people were rabidly bidding on.

Intrigued, Theodosia begins her own investigation. Was it the CEO's soon-to-be ex-wife, who is restoring an enormous mansion at no expense? The CEO's personal assistant, who also functioned as curator of his prized collection of Americana? Two rival antiques' dealers known for dirty dealing? Or was the killer the fiancee of one of Theodosia's dear friends, who turns out to be an employee-and whistle-blower-at SyncSoft? INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!

My take

An easy gentle read to start the new year with, but probably just a bit too cozy for my tastes, although there is plenty of action and plenty of mystery.

This is the most recent in a long series related to tea and mystery with a well established sleuth. I was fascinated by the linking to modern technologies: mobile phones and email are in frequent use, the "murder weapon" is a drone, and there are references to local terrorism.

My rating: 4.3

About the author

Author Laura Childs is a New York Times bestselling [prolific] author known for penning down the famous mystery series’ including the Cackleberry Club Mysteries, the Scrapbook Mysteries and the Tea Shop Mysteries. The name Laura Childs is actually a pseudonym used by author Gerry Schmitt for writing her novels.... The first series written by her, the “Tea Shop Mysteries” is set in the district of Charleston [Virginia], which has a historical background. The series is based on the life of the main character Theodosia Browning, who is the owner of a tea shop named Indigo Tea Shop.
....Laura has described Theodosia as a savvy businesswoman and the care taker of her dog Earl Gray. She is also an amateur sleuth and likes to solve several crimes based on her intelligence without relying on the insufficient police work or coincidences. The series goes on to show various historical and mysterious aspects of the district of Charleston in a highly atmospheric, rife and charming manner.

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