|Berkley Prime Crime, 2011|
While attending the grand opening of the Pirates and Plunder Show at the Charleston Heritage Society where the skull mug and other pirate treasures are displayed, Theodosia and her master tea blender, Drayton, are on the scene when a Heritage Society intern is stabbed to death as a pirate-crazed thief steals the grotesque mug. The police seem stymied in the search for the murderer so the Director of the Heritage Society, Timothy Neville, begs his friends, Theodosia and Drayton, to poke around to see if they can learn anything about the murder that might help the police.
There seems to be no lack of people in Charleston who collect pirate artifacts, so Theodosia baits a trap for the killer and almost loses two of her friends in the process. Truthfully, the action associated with identifying and capturing the murderer isn't that captivating. Even at the end of the book, mystery continues to shroud the skull mug as it disappears into the Charleston Heritage Society vaults to be kept hidden for another few decades.
Reading about the scones and dessert offerings at the Indigo Tea Shop (the tea shop that the main character Theodosia operates with the help of a master tea blender and a chef), as well as the eastern shore treats served at the Charleston parties Theodosia attends, make this a mystery during which I spent as much time resisting the urge to raid the refrigerator as wondering who killed the poor intern. I want Haley, the Indigo Tea Shop chef, to come live at my house!
One can see the other creative side of Author Laura Childs who is a former CLIO award winning marketing CEO as she includes recipes and ideas for hosting various kinds of tea parties at the end of this book. See below:
Letter Writing Tea
Aren't you tired of texting and e-mail? Wouldn't it be fun to compose an old-fashioned letter? Round up some quill pens, ink and fancy stationery, and invite your friends in to letter-writing tea. Put on some relaxing music and let everyone jot a letter or a few thoughts while enjoying an afternoon of tea. Oolong is a thoughtful blend that goes nicely with quiche, citrus salad, and lemon scones. If you want to give your guests favors, think pretty pens and tiny notebooks in net bags.
Haley's Proprietary Lemon Scones
3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 Tbsp. baking power
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp. water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the lemon zest and sugar, using a spoon to firmly grind it all together. Add the sugar to the flour mixture and mix well. Cut the butter into the mixture until you get an even, cumbly consistency. Mix in the nuts, if using. Pour in the buttermilk and stir thoroughly until the mixture forms a dense dough. Take a good-sized lump of dough and gently form it into a triangular scone shape. Place the scone on a baking sheet lined with parchment, then continue forming scones until the mixture is used up. Whisk the egg with the water to form an egg wash, then brush the egg wash on top of each scone. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
This book counts toward my "Pastry Chef" status in the Foodies Read 2 Reading Challenge!