Plum Tea Crazy

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Apr 2018

Member Reviews

“Plum Tea Crazy” earns 5+/5 Plum-infused Tea…Deliciously Entertaining!

Theodosia Browning is back, and I'm channeling my inner Sherlock with Laura Childs’s nineteenth book in her Tea Shop Mystery series. I have read several of her books, so I am aware of background and character connections, but newbies need not shy way even though the peripheral storylines and character development are well established. There are enough references to keep a budding fan totally engaged. “Plum Tea Crazy” begins with the Gaslights and Galleons Parade amazing residents of Charleston with a cavalcade of tall ships, and Theo, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop, and her friend/tea sommelier Dayton Conneley are enjoying a bird’s eye view atop of Timothy Neville’s building. It was unexpected to be subjected to a barrage of cannon fire from two of the tall ships, but it was even more unexpected to hear a scream and witness one of the guest falling over the ledge and becoming empaled on the wrought-iron fence below. A local banker is dead, and with Theo’s proven sleuthing skill she has been implored by Neville to uncover the truth. From high society fashion shows and a Plum Crazy Tea event to a Japanese art gallery and a black-tie charity ball, Theo has a lot on her plate, and adding a murder investigation we have fun…Laura Childs’ style!

Come for the mystery…I continue to be a big fan of Laura Childs’ Tea Shop Mystery. Her writing style with a third-person narrative is engaging gluing the reader immediately to every word—Oh, her description of the victim falling actually made me cringe with ever twist, bump, and splat!—and illustrating the settings (I think I know every inch of Charleston, by now.), personal appearances, and presentation of clues. She also pens entertaining banter between characters that serve to illustrate tones, emotions, and personality. Even after soooo many books, Laura can still create a new murder mystery: method, list of viable suspects with interesting motives, the investigation, and a solution that often I didn't figure out myself. Although she has Theo methodical in her investigation, she uses friends and law enforcement/budding romance help, but always finds some personal peril, sometimes more than once, to put Theo in and keep the action interesting. 

Stay for the tea…My two favorite words, no not “it’s murder”, but “recipes included,” and Laura has included nine easy-to-follow Favorite Recipes from the Indigo Tea Shop including the very appropriate Haley’s “Plum Crazy” Plum Crisp with Cinnamon Whipped Cream. Along with information referenced in the story, she also is unique in sharing her own Tea Time Tips including my favorite “French Tea,” and Tea Resources listing magazines, website and blogs, and information on American Tea Plantations perfect for the true tea aficionado. 

Come for the mystery, stay for the tea, and enjoy the best Laura Childs can offer. Don't forget her writing talent extends to two other series just as engaging, entertaining, and fun: the fifteen-book Scrapbooking Mysteries and the eight-book Cackleberry Club series.
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A light and fun read but nothing too memorable. Thank you NetGalley for the chance to try out this author.
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To see the nineteenth book in a series published … what a credit to the creative writing of Laura Childs! I came late to the tea shop mysteries, having only read the last two or three, but became an instant fan. This is my favorite series of all that Childs writes and each book can stand alone, but it is so great to visit with old friends Theodosia, Haley, and Drayton in Plum Tea Crazy. And kudos to the design team for creating such an attractive cover!

I love all things southern, so the Charleston setting that Childs conveys so well is one of my favorite parts. This story is filled with delightful charm and gentle humor – along with the sights, sounds and tastes of the city. Theodosia is a warm, caring lead character who solves some great murder mysteries.

Secondary characters add lots of interest. In fact, Timothy Neville is the catalyst for getting Theodosia involved, and he’s quite a character himself … “the octogenarian director of the Heritage Society, a multimillionaire, and old guard Charlestonite.” And Delaine is back in full force, a little rough around the edges, to say the least. According to Drayton, “she was one of those women that most men – and some women, too – considered difficult. Which, of course, was code for crazy as a loon.”

Theodosia’s method is different from many protagonists who solve the murder by slowly gathering evidence as they chat with characters, listening and observing. But Theodosia kind of runs from one character or social event to another, making wrong assumptions and keeping readers totally off track, which is what makes this story unique and enjoyable. I didn’t really try to figure out the murderer’s identity and just enjoyed going along for the fun ride. 

I thoroughly enjoyed Plum Tea Crazy and hope this series keeps on going. Recommended to all cozy mystery fans.

I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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From the lovely cover to the yummy sounding recipes, Plum Tea Crazy is a delight!

In the 19th Tea Shop mystery, Theodesia is at a party when she witnesses the terrible death of a man everyone believes has fallen from the roof.  One close look tells her that it was no accident, and when her friend the party host asks her to investigate, she obliges.

I always enjoy Theodesia’s adventures. She’s a clever sleuth and the tea shop setting is just wonderful. The tea info and food descriptions make me wish I could visit the Indigo Tea Shop in person, rather than just read about it. I hope there will be many more Tea Shop Mysteries!
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Another great addition to the wonderful cozy series starring Theodosia Browning and cohorts!  Theo really does try her best to stay out of trouble, but it always finds it way back to her!  This time it literally falls right out of the sky, or from the balcony, that is.  I really enjoyed trying to figure out just who the killer was.  Usually I can pick them out, but this one took me by surprise!  If you love tea, then there are great recipes included at the end of this book, which is a very nice touch.  If your'e looking for a great cozy or just a scrumptious mystery, I recommend you try this one.
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It's so hard to believe that this is book 19 in the Tea Shop Mystery series.  Theodosia and Drayton are serving up tea to the folks of Charleston and in this story they witness the murder of a local banker while attending a tall ship review.  As always there are a large number of suspects and the clues are well placed to help you solve the crime.  The recipes are an added bonus to this book. Somehow Laura Childs keeps the series fresh and interesting.  An enjoyable read for all ages.
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A great example of a cozy mystery! This book was so much fun to read. The characters are entertaining and the setting was grand: A tea shop in the lovely city of Charleston.  The plot kept me guessing until the very end.  This was my first book to read in this series and I’m now looking forward to following these characters in the other books. A clean story with no bad language or embarrassing scenes.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to give a positive review. This is my honest opinion about this book.
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In a book I read recently, someone's "rules for writing and life" are cited – one of which was "don't use more than two similes per page".  Laura Childs probably doesn't actually exceed that … but her writing made me realize anew that it's not the quantity of simile but the quality that counts. For example, Robin McKinley uses lots and lots of similes, and they almost invariably elicit a reaction – they make me smile, or put a lump in my throat, or make me laugh out loud, or make me feel that little click that comes when you see exactly what the author wanted you to see. They're an art. The similes in this book are … not. They're different, I'll give them that (except when they're clichéd), and they're colorful (there are lots of monkeys, and even some castanets), but …  

The writing just grated now and then. The ninth or tenth time the author resorted to Batman-style sound effects – all caps, exclamation points – and one character (included to be obnoxious) did something outrageously obnoxious (even for him), I closed the book and deleted it. I was at 87% - and a good part of what remained was recipes and an excerpt from the next book. A day or so later I went back to it; I hadn't DNF'd a book yet this year, and I was close enough to finishing that I figured I might as well. But I didn't enjoy it.


I mean – who stops in the middle of a supposedly frantic moment to describe the scenery? A man falls off a roof; intrepid amateur detective races down the stairs to check it out; the narrative pauses in the middle of her sprint to dwell on the décor in the garden. 


Cardinal sin of the cozy: when the main character tells bald-faced lies about what is obviously a hobby (or else there wouldn't be a series of books) – 

 “Haley, we don’t ['chase all over Charleston trying to solve the latest murder'],” Theodosia said. “And we certainly won’t get tangled up in this one.”

Pants on fire.


Another cardinal sin of the cozy: Remarkably slipshod running of a small business. 
“'Who’s minding the store?' Drayton asked. 
"Haley flapped a hand. 'I was. But don’t worry, everything’s cool.'"

No, it's not cool if you left the shop completely unattended. 

BOOM! (Or, as the camera, er, says, "boom, boom, boom".)

The characters are more caricatures than anything else. Two of them go from antipathy at first sight to practically weeping in each other's arms, in the pace of a week. The young man is the very picture of a cliched young man. The gallery owner is the Platonic ideal of the gallery owner. The aforementioned obnoxious journalist fits the mold perfectly. There are few surprises.


As usual, there are lots and lots of nits I could pick. Like … "'Delicious,' he said. Only it came out dulishush because his mouth was full." Isn't that pretty much how "delicious" is pronounced? Seriously. "[dih-lish-uh s]". Say it a couple of times. Seriously. Oh, and like … why does Our Heroine's sidekick have such a hard time saying the word "murder" when talking about the murder? And – like … Really? You expect me to swallow (no pun intended) the idea that someone not steeped (pun intended) in a world like this shop might consider a party ruined because you picked a funky tea? And … really? How do you not go directly to the police immediately on receiving a threatening note? (And how could you possibly confuse the smells of cooked onions and cooked potatoes? Have I been doing something wrong?)


In addition to the comic book sound effects – actual examples of which are scattered throughout this review (sorry) – there's also this:
"Holy Hannah"
“Holy crap”
“Holy cats"
“Holy smokes"
“Holy butter beans"
“Holy buckets"
“Holy sweet potatoes”
“Sweet Fanny Adams"

Holy euphemisms, Batman. 

One more Cozy Cardinal Sin: When any character puts on their Captain Obvious hat to remind the audience why a bad cozy mystery is a bad cozy mystery:  
“The best thing Theo can do is let her boyfriend, Detective Riley, figure it out. That’s what the City of Charleston pays him for. That’s the smartest thing, the safest thing, to do at this point.”


The usual disclaimer: I received this book via Netgalley for review.
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This is the first book by Laura’s that I have read and it definitely won’t be the last.   I laughed till I cried with the antidotes of her characters.   Than you NetGalley
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Plum Tea Crazy
A Tea Shop Mystery #19
Laura Childs
Berkley Prime Crime, March 2018
ISBN 978-0-451-48960-9

From the publisher—

While viewing the harbor’s Gaslights and Galleons Parade from the widow’s walk of Timothy Neville’s Charleston mansion, local banker Carson Lanier seemingly tumbles over a narrow railing, then plunges three stories to his death. But a tragic accident becomes something much more sinister when it’s discovered that the victim was first shot with a bolt from a crossbow.

At the request of the mansion owner, Theodosia investigates the tragedy and is soon neck deep in suspects. An almost ex-wife, a coworker, a real estate partner–all had motives for killing the luckless banker, but one resorted to murder to settle accounts.

The prolific Laura Childs is back with another of her cozies I find so appealing, this one in the Tea Shop series. I think this is my favorite of her series…or at least I think so until a Scrapbooking or Cackleberry book comes out and then all bets are off. What I *do* know, with absolute certainty, is that I always welcome a new Laura Childs book.

The Indigo Tea Shop has to be one of the best settings for any reader who loves tea. Can’t you just imagine walking in and being surrounded by all those delightful tea aromas and colors not to mention all the scrumptious food that goes with a proper tea? Unfortunately, that peaceful ambience doesn’t extend to the Gaslights and Galleons Parade when Theodosia and her partner, Drayton, watch a man fall to his death from the very mansion where they’re viewing the festivities. When a small crowd reaches him, it’s Theodosia who discovers that Carson Lanier was shot, apparently with an arrow and, impetuously, Theodosia and Drayton race next door where she thought she saw a figure watching. Chasing the figure, Theodosia runs right into Detective Burt Tidwell.

Naturally, all is in good hands with the detective and life goes on in the tea shop, very briefly, until Timothy Neville, owner of the mansion where the dead man met his demise, comes by with a list of his guests and asks Theodosia to do her own investigating because, as he puts it, “she brings a different perspective to things”. Equally naturally, Theodosia and Drayton can’t resist, despite Tidwell’s somewhat disgusted reaction…but he recognizes that Theodosia has a certain affinity with one of his best detectives, Pete Riley, so Tidwell’s rejection of her involvement has an effect for no more than a few minutes.

Theodosia and Drayton are soon in the thick of things (as well as keeping up with all the neighborhood shopkeepers) and in hot pursuit of a likely suspect. Jud Harker. Will the killer turn out to be Jud or someone else with an entirely different motive?

As always, I was charmed by this entry in the Tea Shop series and had great fun following the clues along with these so-called amateur sleuths plus my mouth is watering over all the recipes. Book #20, Broken Bone China, can’t come fast enough 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, April 2018.
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For a much lighter mystery (it is Spring Break after all), readers could try PLUM TEA CRAZY by New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs. This "cozy"delivers on its name with plenty of references to a variety of teas and some crazy events - like death by crossbow for banker Carson Lanier.  Set in charming Charleston, this mystery revolves around the sleuthing efforts of tea shop proprietor Theodosia Browning and her tea expert, Drayton Conneley plus their chef, Haley Parker.  Try a sample on amazon to see if the latest in this long running mystery series is to your taste.
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This is number 19 in Childs's Tea Shop Mysteries. Theodosia is back to solving a murder. This time it is at the Heritage Society. The cast of characters and the attention to detail help to make fans of cozy mysteries keep coming back for more.
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Exciting installment in this charming cozy mystery series. which highlights the charm of historic Charleston, a tea house /catering business, and an intrepid female sleuth. Throw in some zany characters brimming with local color and a startling murder - by crossbow, no less - and settle in for a fun read.
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Theodosia “Theo” Browning, along with her sidekick and employee, Drayton Connelly is enjoying the Gaslights and Galleons Parade at Timothy Neville’s Charleston mansion. Suddenly a body shockingly falls over the railing to his death. The victim is Carson Lanier, a local banker and this is not looking like an accident at all. Timothy pleads with Theo to use her investigative skills to find out who could have done such a thing.

Theo and Drayton are immediately on the case. They dig through Carson’s life and begin to uncover his involvement in some mysterious things. There’s a soon-to-be ex-wife who seems to have a lust for money, a secret business partner and a secret mistress. There is no end to the suspect list, but Theo is determined she will uncover the true culprit.

This is the 19th book in Laura Childs’ “Tea Shop Mystery” series. I haven’t read the previous ones and I was hesitant to jump in this late in the game, but I loved every minute of it. I’m a fan of Laura Childs’ “Scrapbooking Mystery” series and I’ve been wanting to try her other cozy mystery series. So, when I had an opportunity to read this one, I grabbed it. My only complaint is that I didn’t start this series sooner.

I had no problem getting to know the characters right from the start. I didn’t feel as if I was coming into the middle of a movie. I felt a part of the story rght away. The mystery begins and ends with this book. There isn’t a cliffhanger or any kind of mystery which needs to be read in order. At least I didn’t feel as if there were any.

There’s a romance brewing for Theo with the local detective. I’d be interested to see where that leads.

The storyline moved at a fast pace and kept me guessing almost to the end. It’s very well-written. I can see me getting involved in this series from book #1. The characters and the tea shop setting are perfect for a cozy mystery. The word “charming” fits this series perfectly. I had a very enjoyable visit to Charleston, South Carolina and I plan to visit more often. 

FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Not my favorite outing in this series, but overall a decent outing for the tea shop gang. Plenty of action, yummy treats and memorable characters.
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This newest installment in the Tea Shop Mystery series from Laura Childs is just as wonderful as the others have been!

I love the cast of characters in this series. Honestly, if I didn't, I wouldn't still be reading the series. Characters are far more important to me than the plot line. I can put up with pretty abysmal plot lines (which this is NOT one of those books - this plot line was excellent) if the characters are awesome. I've always enjoyed Theodosia, Drayton, Haley, Detective Tidwell and the rest. It's fun to come back each spring to another visit into their world! These are well-rounded, complex, developed characters and they're delightful.

The plot line in this one was excellent. There were enough suspects that it was hard to know who was the true villain. I did guess correctly, but it would have been very easy for me to be side-tracked by one of the other options. There was just something about the villain character that seemed "off" about them. That's all I'm going to say so I don't give anything away though!

If you haven't read the series before, you could certainly start with this one as each mystery is its own story, but I would recommend starting at the beginning of the series with Death by Darjeeling. There are backstory things that will make more sense if you start the series at the beginning.

Either way, pick up Plum Tea Crazy and enjoy the newest installment in this great series!
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I attempted to read this a few times but unfortunately it wasn't for me,  Thank you for the opportunity..
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Another Hit for Laura Childs and another delicious 

Tea Shop mystery for her fans!

About the Book...

While viewing the harbor's Gaslights and Galleons Parade from the widow's walk of Timothy Neville's Charleston mansion, local banker Carson Lanier seemingly tumbles over a narrow railing, then plunges three stories to his death. But a tragic accident becomes something much more sinister when it's discovered that the victim was first shot with a bolt from a crossbow. 

At the request of the mansion owner, Theodosia investigates the tragedy and is soon neck deep in suspects. An almost ex-wife, a coworker, a real estate partner--all had motives for killing the luckless banker, but one resorted to murder to settle accounts.

My Thoughts....

New York Times best selling author Laura Childs delivers, once again in this cozy tea shop mystery.  She has a lively cast of characters all laid out like the fine china in Theodosia's lovely tea shop.  

Time and again the real killer leads us on a chase through dark alleys and dilapidated old neighborhoods.  I was intrigued by the red herrings that stole the limelight for a while until each lead ran to nowhere.  The glamorous persona of the ladies of the story  sharply contrasts to their behavior when confronted with ugly truth and suspicions about the deceased.  The victim's soon-to-be ex-wife seemed a likely suspect but so did his purported paramour. Then there was the shady developer...the list just went on and on until finally the pieces fit together like the perennial puzzle. It took me a while to solve this one and for that, I applaud the author.  

I have read several of the Tea Shop Mystery books, each one a creative story that provokes one to put on the teakettle, grab a tasty morsel and settle in for an afternoon of fun.  The tea pairings offered by Drayton lends such an air of class to the charming menus, yet contrasts with the danger lurking just outside the confines of the door.  The variety of characters in this story takes away any doubt that a tea shop is just for garden club members or those tourists seeking a bit of distraction before the tour bus loads up for the next stop.  This book is for the reader who enjoys a cozy mystery with the added bonus of tasty recipes the author included.
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As always the author delivers a scrumptious story filled with murder, mystery and a  wonderful assortment of teas to try out.  The characters are classy and intriguing. It's not long into the story until a murder occurs which sets in motion an adventure that is like a cat and mouse game. I simply adore Theodosia. She is charming and has a knack for finding out information very cleverly. I would love to sit with her at her shop and sip tea and eat scones . I could visualize the beautiful and delicate tea cups and setting that is calming and inviting. 

The victim is a surprise to some in the town, but his enemies start to line up in this fast paced story.  The author captures the untimely death with a very unexpected fall and ends with a painful injury that was vividly described. Someone sure wanted to make sure our victim was dead. I really like the theme in cozy mysteries where there is a detective dating or married to the person who eventually figures out who the killer is. Riley is a very smart detective who happens to be dating none other than Theodosia. I liked how he at times seemed to be exasperated by Theodosia's interference in the investigation.I had to laugh when she continued to bombard him with questions that he knew he shouldn't answer. 

If you have ever witnessed a physical fight between two women, you know it can be funny at times. The scene that the author writes between the wife and mistress of the deceased is nothing short of hysterical and over the top entertaining. It is probably not a great idea to invite them both to an event unless you are prepared for fireworks to go off. The fight has tongues wagging as it becomes front page news. Theodosia can add two more suspects to her ever growing list after this escapade.

The more Theodosia delves into the mystery, the more her life is in danger along with her friends and associates. Someone is not happy that Theodosia is involved in the investigation and is pulling out all the stops to encourage her to not play detective. The story is very well written and had me on the edge of my chair till the end. I loved the twists and turns and suspense as the author leaves a trail of subtle hints to the killer's identity. I love the way the author is able to give such precise details of weapons and the history behind some of them. 

The more I read the book, I realized how talented the author is. She can weave a tale of mystery that captures your attention right away, while enticing you with witty sayings like, "Sweet Fanny Adams," or "You're like a danger magnet."  I love that she can make you laugh while still adding intense drama to the story. The ending is one you don't want to miss as it reaches a level of  high danger for Theodosia. Don't miss this wonderful addition to A Tea Shop Mystery Series that is Laura Childs at her best. 

I received a copy of this book from The Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. The review is my own opinion.
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Plum Tea Crazy by Laura Childs is the nineteenth story in A Tea Shop Mystery series.  Theodosia “Theo” Browning owns the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, South Carlson.  Theo is aided by her tea sommelier, Drayton Conneley and chef, Haley Parker.  Drayton and Theo are enjoying the Gaslights and Galleons Parade from the widow’s walk of Timothy Neville’s Archdale Street mansion.  When the cannon volleys begin a scream rings out, and Carson Lanier slides down the roof to his death atop a fleur-de-lis fence finial.  Upon inspection of Carson’s body, it is discovered he was shot by a quarrel (type of arrow used in a crossbow) which caused him to tumble over the railing of the widow’s walk.  Timothy requests that Theo use her skills to investigate Carson’s murder.  It turns out that there are several viable suspects that include a protestor of the upcoming antique firearms display at the Heritage Society, Carson’s estranged wife, a co-worker, and the manager of a local bed-and-breakfast.  Who shot Carson and why?  Theo works in her sleuthing in between working at the tea shop, handling catering gigs, taking care of Earl Grey, and specialty tea events they have scheduled at the Indigo Tea Shop.  The killer, though, does not appreciate Theo’s snooping and attempts to dissuade her (the person evidently does not know Theo).  Will Theo be able to expose the guilty party before she ends up the next victim?

Plum Tea Crazy may be the 19th book in the series, but it can be read alone.  I do, though, highly recommend reading each book in this charming cozy mystery series.  A Tea Shop Mystery series is one of the first cozy mystery series I discovered.  I found the books in my local bookstore (before e-books) and quickly devoured Death by Darjeeling.  I then returned to the store and purchased the other books in the series that were out at the time.  I look forward to a new book in this series each year.  Plum Tea Crazy is well-written, has a steady pace and engaging.  I love when I am drawn into the books world as I was with Plum Tea Crazy.   The book contains delightful characters that are well established, and they continue to grow as the series progresses.  Theo is an intelligent woman who is warm, thoughtful and has a big heart.  I like the interactions between Theo, Haley, Drayton and Earl Grey is just adorable. The only character that I dislike is Delaine Dish.  She is overbearing, pushy, annoying and seemed a little off balance (she grates on my nerves) in this book.  Delaine is one of those people that can only be taken in small doses.  The setting of Savannah, South Carolina sounds just lovely.  Laura Childs provides beautiful descriptions of the area, homes, the featured stores and the Indigo Tea Shop.  The mystery is complex, and it will perplex readers.  There is a clue to the killer’s identity, but you will need a keen eye to spot it.  The book contains delectable food and tea descriptions. I especially enjoyed the cozy moments in Plum Tea Crazy.  I did feel that Plum Tea Crazy needed an epilogue to tie up all the loose threads (details seemed to be lacking).  There are recipes and tea tips at the end of the book as well as a preview of Glitter Bomb.  Plum Tea Crazy is an engaging, light hearted cozy mystery that will delight fans of Laura Childs.
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