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Haunted Hibiscus (A Tea Shop Mystery)
by Laura Childs

Published: 2021-03-02T00:0
Hardcover : 336 pages
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Tea Shop Mysteries named to “25 of the Absolute Best Cozy Mystery Series.”-- Book Riot

“This series just keeps getting better and better.”--Suspense Magazine

It’s the week before Halloween and tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier, Drayton, are ghosting ...

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Introduction

Tea Shop Mysteries named to “25 of the Absolute Best Cozy Mystery Series.”-- Book Riot

“This series just keeps getting better and better.”--Suspense Magazine

It’s the week before Halloween and tea maven Theodosia Browning 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 opening of their literary and historical themed haunted house.

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

But amid a cast 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’s shot and wounded by a shadowy intruder.

Timothy begs Theodosia to investigate, and shaken by Riley’s assault, she readily agrees. Curators at the Heritage Society, a man who claims the mansion is his inheritance, Willow’s book publisher, and Willow’s fiancé, all come under suspicion as Theodosia snoops, juggles tea shop duties, hosts a Sherlock Holmes tea, and gets into trouble.

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Excerpt

Sybil ignored Theodosia’s words. Instead of answering, she turned on the radio. Immediately, a blast of music filled the van, something with incoherent lyrics and a thumpity-thump beat that rattled Theodosia’s teeth and made her aching head pound that much more. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

What was most exciting about the opening of Haunted Hibiscus? Did the murder mystery get off to a good fast start? Did the description of murder prickle the hairs on the back of your neck?

Does the author create enough of a “sense of place” that you could picture the haunted Gray Ghost mansion, Willow’s hanging, and Detective Riley getting shot? How about later on at the Indigo Tea Shop with Haley and Drayton?

Did you feel there were enough twists and turns in the mystery? What were your favorites?

Did you enjoy reading about all the different varieties of tea that were mentioned? How about the Chai Cupcakes, Southern Peach Crisp, and Charleston Apple Pudding? Since the author includes the recipes, would you try making them?

Do you think the city of Charleston serves as a sort of character in the story?
Did you like the descriptions of the harbor, narrow lanes, and stately homes?

Did you enjoy the fact that the author combined mystery with humor?

Do you think Theodosia is able to balance her career with her personal life as well as being an amateur detective? Do you think most working women are able to achieve a good sense of balance? In not, why not?

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