July 19, 2014

Review: The Silver Needle

The Silver Needle
A Tea Shop Mystery, Bk 9
Laura Childs

Published: 2008

Berkley Prime Crime, mass market, 260 p.
ISBN: 978-0-425-22676-6

Theodosia Browning and the staff of the Indigo Tea Shop are feeling the heat, and not just because it's August.  The Charleston Film Festival has brought them a busy week of catering jobs - and first up is the opening night gala at the historic Belvedere Theatre.  But the festival starts off with a bang when famous director Jordan Cole is shot on his way to the podium and the entire audience witnesses his death silhouetted across the scrim.

When two of the judges quit, festival organizer Timothy Neville asks Theodosia to stand in.  He also wants her to help him deflect suspicion from his granddaughter, who worked with Cole.  Reluctantly, Theodosia agrees - only to get pulled into an ivestigation as perilous as any big-screen thriller...

As I can't seem to read these book in the order they were written I hope I'm not giving away too many spoilers.  Once again Theo finds herself dragged into the middle of a murder investigation that really has nothing much to do with her - but her soft heart has her delving into matters best left to the professionals - often against her own better judgement!  Emotional blackmail seems to be the running theme when it comes to roping Theo into the business of murder - and everyone around her seems to know it.

This time round the murder of the moment is committed in front of a room of people, but no one except Theo catches a glimpse of the killer.  Timothy is beside himself as not only is his gala night ruined, but suspicion soon falls on his granddaughter.  With a great selection of annoying extras to consider - Isabella Neville, Nina van Dietrich, Homer Hunt, Kassie Byrd, and C.W. Dredd - I was wondering which direction Theo (and Ms. Childs) would take.  I had my favourite picked out by page 89 { ** SPOILER - my choice of culprit listed in picture ** }

but there is always some doubt.  Turns out that I had it right.  Yeah, me! ;-D

This book had a lot of good moments, but one of my absolute favourites involves Det. Tidwell and the killer.  I don't want to give it away, but when he is backstage - and face to face with the killer - they do something to the portly grump that I've wanted to do for quite a while now.  Our resident man-eater, Delaine, is once again front and centre.  With Hollywood stars to schmooze, where else would you expect her to be?  Unfortunately, this time she has competition in the razor tongued Nina.  Just who will end up on the arm of the sleezy director?  You have to read the book to find out.

On the man front, I was half expecting Jory to be the man-de-jour in Theo's life.  However in between reading The Jasmine Moon Murder (#5) and this book, Jory has somehow been kicked to the curb and a new man is waiting in the wings.  It was odd to see Parker Scully as the brand spanking new boyfriend in this book.  I've been reading the later books first so I am used to having Max as her arm candy.  Parker is okay.  In the grand scheme of things I much prefered him to Jory, but they both seem more immature when compared to the delicously cosmopolitan Max.

A great addition to this series.  The recipes at the end of the book are just drool worthy.  I may never make 99% of them, but when Haley starts listing her daily specials it's impossible not to start salivating.  Another favourite of mine is the list of tea party ideas.  I've already had one or two in mind, however there are some that I wouldn't have even considered if Ms. Childs hadn't have included them and now they're at the top of my list.

The Silver Needle is a fun quick read.  Perfect for slipping into your bag for that much needed lunch hour break, or a solo morning tea. 


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