Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs

Cover Death by Darjeeling by Laura ChildsTea can be deadly, and so can amateur sleuthing.

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

Local developer gets murdered. Tea shop owner Theodosia Browning feels obliged to investigate.

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Yes, sort of, but I had some misgivings. 

For people who: like cozy mysteries, tea, nosy amateur sleuths


My thoughts: 

At the start I thought I would love this book. I posted its beginning last week and the whole atmosphere of Charleston, the tea shop, the people, it spoke to me.

However, after a while, I started to seriously dislike our heroine (from now on I call her TB, her name is just too long). Frankly, she is a nosy bitch with preconceived opinions who lies through her teeth to find out things. Not that those things help her much, mind, at the end she is as clueless as she was in the beginning, just that her snooping almost kills her.

Just a few examples what I didn’t like about the whole story/character:

  • One of TB’s employees, Bethany, is a suspect and is being questioned by the police. Nothing wrong about that. Nothing in the book indicates that the police is unfair, they do not abuse her, they are only doing their job. However, at a meeting with the detective TB says to him: “The more you continue to harass her, the more you look like a rank amateur.” No wonder the guy is flabbergasted, the police did nothing of the sort.
  • At the funeral TB gives the impression to the deceased’s sister that she was “very close” to him. She actually says that to her when the sister asks her whether she knew her brother. Just on the next page, however, TB muses that the sister “had obviously mistaken her for a female friend of Hugh Barron”. Um, no, she has not mistaken her, TB has TOLD her that she was a “very close” female friend.
  • Bethany was sacked from the Heritage Society after the murder, a fact that was never properly explained. In fact it is treated in the book as if the president was this unfair old man who fired her unfairly. Well, let me tell you, if I was the board president and I got into an argument with a new board member (who later gets killed), the last thing I’d expect was an INTERN to interfere and give her two cents. And, what is more, to see her address the new board member later and apologize for the unfair treatment by the rest of the board.
  • TB lies to about everyone to get information. She goes as far as going to the local morgue and acting as an undertaker who comes to pick up the corpse! Needless to say the morgue employee hands out freely all info about the lab results of a murder case to an undertaker who is unknown to him and who comes from a funeral home he has never heard of before. Standard procedure, that!
  • TB finds out that another suspect (of hers) has worked in the jungle and knows about frogs whose poison  is used for arrows. From that little nugget she presumes that the man “knows all about toxins”. Of course, if you have ever heard of a rattlesnake it makes you an expert on poisons of all kinds and at the same time a potential suspect in ANY poison case ever.

So, as far as the investigation goes, I was thoroughly disappointed. The assumptions and conclusions were just too weird and illogical to make any sense to me. On top of that the reader was misled on purpose by some strange internal thoughts from one of the suspects that were put in a way to make him sound extremely odd, stalker-ish and suspicious, when in fact he is only a harmless man smitten with TB. No doubt this was done to obfuscate the whole story and I did not appreciate that.

That being said, I liked it for the atmosphere and general feeling which was just right for a cozy mystery. We will see what the other book in the series that I have will be like.

Location: Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Broad Street, CharlestonCharleston

Images from wikipedia.

Product info and buy link :

Title Death by Darjeeling
Author Laura Childs
Publisher Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN 9780425179451
I got this book from Birgit from The Book Garden
Buy link Buy Death by Darjeeling

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, and here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

6 Comments Write a comment

  1. I must admit, I like the Coffeeshop mysteries better than this series, but just like you, I mightn’t have enjoyed the story itself yet I did like the setting and atmosphere, plus there is something wonderfully quaint in the writing style which made it worthwhile after all.
    Birgit’s last post ..Last Days of Freedom Giveaway Hop Winner


    • I also prefer the coffeehouse ones, but I will read the second book I got from you to see whether I like that one better. Just the atmosphere is so nice that I might continue in spite of the annoying heroine, :).


    • MAybe that is the reason we read cozies after all, the atmosphere, not the actual sleuthing. From that point of view this one was excellent.


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