This mystery is cluttered with the accoutrements of tea shops, which can be charming or irksome, depending on the reader. Historic Charleston tea house owner Theodosia Browning has even named her dog Earl Grey!

But when Theodosia's significant other, Jory, asks her to help find the murderer of his Uncle Jasper, she sets aside her tea business. Her first task is to discern whether Jasper's death had anything to do with the cutting-edge surgical laser he was developing. She's also interested in Jasper's ex-wife, who inherited his fortune.

Childs' gossipy, confiding tone is compelling, but unrealistic dialogue is at times a thinly disguised reason for sketching character or moving plot. Some delicious tea recipes, including tea truffles, tea bread and tea-smoked chicken, end the book on a pleasing note. (Sep., 240 pp., $19.95)
Reviewed by: 
Cindy Harrison