Sunday, August 14, 2022

A Tea Shop Mystery #24 A Dark and Stormy Tea

A Dark and Stormy Tea is the 24th Tea Shop shopfront cozy mystery by Laura Childs. Released 9th Aug 2022 by Penguin Random House on their Berkley imprint, it's 320 pages and is available in hardcover and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. 

The author is experienced and prolific, with several ongoing cozy series, this one set in a tea shop. There's a Victorian London vibe about the modern version of long ago serial killers, attributed to a shadowy Springheel Jack copycat the media are calling Fogheel Jack. The premise is fairly outrageous from the start, and readers shouldn't expect realism in this read. The secondary characters also felt a bit two dimensional at times and I felt that some were simply written in to provide plot points and move the scenes along.

The plot resolution was a little heavily foreshadowed, but all in all the denouement was well constructed and written. The language is fairly clean (PG rated) and there's no on-page blood or gore. I would recommend it to fans of amateur sleuth small town cozies. There were a few plot twists which challenged my suspension of disbelief, but all in all, it's an engaging and fun book. The next (25th!) book in the series is due out first quarter 2023. 

This would make a good choice for a vacation binge read, especially for fans of shopfront cozies with a surprising number of recipes in the back. The author has also included a generous resources and links list of tea suppliers and informational pages as well as a teaser for the next book in the series, Lemon Curd Killer.

Three and a half stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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