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Review 🔍 Haunted Hibiscus by Laura Childs

March 4, 2021


It is the week before Halloween and Theodosia Browning, proprietor of the Indigo Tea Shop, and her tea sommelier, Drayton, are ghosting through the dusk of a cool Charleston evening on their way to the old Bouchard Mansion. Known as the Gray Ghost, this dilapidated place was recently bequeathed to the Heritage Society, and tonight heralds the grand opening of their literary and historical themed haunted house.

Though Timothy Neville, the patriarch of the Heritage Society, is not thrilled with the fund-raising idea, it is the perfect venue for his grandniece, Willow French, to sign copies of her new book, Carolina Crimes & Creepers.

But amid a parade of characters dressed as Edgar Allan Poe, Lady Macbeth, and the Headless Horseman, Willow’s body is suddenly tossed from the third-floor tower room and left to dangle at the end of a rope. Police come screaming in and Theodosia’s boyfriend, Detective Pete Riley, is sent to Willow’s apartment to investigate. But minutes later, he is shot and wounded by a shadowy intruder.

Timothy begs Theodosia to investigate, and shaken by Riley’s assault, she readily agrees. Now, she questions members of the Heritage Society and a man who claims the mansion is rightfully his, as well as Willow’s book publisher and her fiancé, all while hosting a Sherlock Holmes tea and catering several others.

But the Gray Ghost holds many secrets, as do several other key suspects, while this murder mystery plays out on the eve of Halloween.


Release Date:
Mar 2, 2021
Series: A Tea Shop Mystery
Book: 22
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley
Price: $13.99


The tragic murder of a young woman leads investigators and amateur detective, Theodosia Browning on multiple promising leads and a secondary murder.  Ghosts, spirits, folklore and tea parties, drive this mystery in this bustling cozy by Laura Childs. This is the twenty-second book in the Laura Childs, A Tea Shop Mystery series. 

Days before Halloween Theodosia “Theo” Browning, is excited to attend a haunted house party, planned by The Heritage Society, which includes a book signing by the up-and-coming author, Willow French.  The setting couldn’t have been more perfect, hosting it in a crumbling old mansion, just added to the appeal of the theme.  But then, things suddenly take a turn for the disturbing as the after math of a murder is witnessed by those attending the event.  Suspects abound in this detailed murder-mystery, that will have you guessing till the very end. (literally)

Theodosia, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop, is living her childhood dream, planning the most amazing themed tea parties for her shop.  After the disaster of the haunted house, the least she expected was to be asked to get involved in conducting an investigation of her own.  Happy to help and having a reputation of getting involved, Theo surprises even the most secretive with her investigative skills. 

I loved the vast array of characters casted in this book.  Theo, first of all, is amazing, strong, assertive, discreet and polite and her friend Drayton is charming and always supportive.  Her tea shop cook, Haley is awesome, and both are loyal, truthful and favorably minded friends to Theo.  I did not particularly care for the boyfriend, Detective, Pete Riley.  This is the 22nd book in this series and the first of this series that I’ve read, so I am not sure how long they’ve been together, but I’m sensing some kind of possible love triangle between them and hunky, protective Detective Burt Tidwell. Definitely, something to look forward to. 

The story was a bit detailed, but enjoyable.  I loved the discussions of the day-to-day set-up for the tea shop and their conversations of the menu details.  The characters emphasis Charleston and its many charms and traditions, ghosts and mysteries and it sounds like an amazing character in itself.  I loved the way the mystery flowed, unraveling among the tea parties and conversations.  There were some questions that lingered and went unanswered as the mystery wrapped up, but otherwise, this was a very good mystery and an excellent solved murder. 

Bonus: Delicious recipes served at the Indigo Tea shop are included at the end of the book.

~ Patricia

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