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10 Reviews
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love Earl Grey...
Laura Childs has a great series going with her "Tea Mysteries." I especially enjoyed this one as it features the dog, "Earl Grey" a little more.
I enjoyed the characters so much and I felt that the plots/subplots had some depth to them.
As usual, the recipes are really great as well!
Published on March 17 2004 by K. A. Stevenson

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3.0 out of 5 stars A mild offering in an uneven series
Again, I loved all of the atmosphere of Charleston -- I can't wait to visit! The plotting was a little better than in her second offering, but it's not the strong point here. This is more a book of Charleston than a mystery. It's an entertaining evening, nothing more.
Published on Jan. 15 2004 by Annag Chandler


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1.0 out of 5 stars Criminal waste of a good premise, Jan. 4 2007
By 
Laineshots (St. Louis, MO USA) - See all my reviews
I am bitterly disappointed in Laura Childs. She had a lovely idea here: A Charleston tea shop owner turned sleuth. It had tons of potential--and she completely wasted it by filling her books with improbable plots, illogical thinking, and flat, overly-dramatic, impossibly-perfect characters. To read these books requires too much willingness to suspend disbelief, for too little in return.

One of the first rules of writing is to write about something you know. Ms. Childs knows almost nothing about tea. The tea information she gives is at best elementary, and in most cases partially or entirely inaccurate. Even her recipes are not always accurate, and to follow them is to risk disappointment.

This was the last book in this series that I have read. I was willing to give her a chance to improve, for the sake of the appealing premise, but I give up. I read for pleasure, not for annoyance, and there are innumerable better choices.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love Earl Grey..., March 17 2004
Laura Childs has a great series going with her "Tea Mysteries." I especially enjoyed this one as it features the dog, "Earl Grey" a little more.
I enjoyed the characters so much and I felt that the plots/subplots had some depth to them.
As usual, the recipes are really great as well!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Atmosphere and a Stronger Mystery, Feb. 9 2004
By 
Mark Baker (Santa Clarita, CA United States) - See all my reviews
Theodosia is enjoying herself at an engagement party hosted by her friend and fellow business woman Delaine Dish. Delaine can't stop talking about the wedding ring her niece will be wearing soon, but a sudden crash from the next room alerts then to bad news. There is a huge hole in the glass ceiling, the groom is dead, and the valuable ring is missing. When a guard is attacked during another robbery at the historic society a few days later, Theo is convinced that there is a cat burglar loose in the area. Is she right? Will the police listen to her if she is? Or will one of her friends take the blame for the robberies?
This series is strongest in atmosphere. The historic district of Charlestown comes to life and the cozy setting of the tea shop and characters of Theo and her friends make for a fun read. This book has one of the better mysteries of the series, with red herrings all over the place. I was confused and constantly kept shifting who I thought had done it.
This series will appeal best to the die hard cozy crowd. I enjoy them when I'm looking for something light and entertaining.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A mild offering in an uneven series, Jan. 15 2004
By 
Annag Chandler "Crane & Dragon" (Austin, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Again, I loved all of the atmosphere of Charleston -- I can't wait to visit! The plotting was a little better than in her second offering, but it's not the strong point here. This is more a book of Charleston than a mystery. It's an entertaining evening, nothing more.
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1.0 out of 5 stars yet another waste of paper, July 21 2003
By A Customer
Unfortunately, this woman knows very, very little about tea but persists in writing about it. Her editor seems to know very little about good writing - these books with flat characters and poor plots keep getting published.
Spend your money on a packet of good tea instead of this book and you will be far happier in the long run.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good tea-lovers mystery, March 16 2003
By A Customer
This was an enjoyable read. Laura Childs delivers yet again a wonderful cosy setting with descriptions of different teas and desserts to make your mouth water. The characters are great and everything is so lighthearted that it makes me happy to read her books.
The only drawback is the mystery itself. I was able to guess the identity of the cat burglar long before the ending and the plot is slow throughout the book. Then again this is not meant to be a thriller. The beautiful setting, the teashop atmostphere and the delightful characters more than make up for the flat mystery.
If you love cosy mysteries, Laura Childs Tea Shop Mystery Series is a MUST READ.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not Engrossing, March 5 2003
I didn't actively dislike this book, but I came close. As another reviewer noted, the characters all seemed one-dimensional and silly, and the mystery, such as it was, wasn't all that puzzling.
What made this a less than average mystery was the way Theo went about unraveling the mystery. She puts forth ideas that at best could be called unlikely (and at worst ridiculous), and no one calls her on it. Everyone she talks to seems to agree with her, even when she's putting forth something that is at base a physical impossibility.
I really enjoyed the first two in this series and had high expectations for this one. I was disappointed.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best in the series..., Feb. 3 2003
I have thoroughly enjoyed Laura Childs' Tea Shop Mysteries from the first. However, *Shades of Earl Grey* is not quite up to par with the previous two.
Sure, the setting is still just as cozy, and the little pieces of tea knowledge just as interesting, but the story is lacking. The characters, for some reason, seem too breezy this time round. There is little depth to any of them. To be honest, they come across as almost silly. They are constantly going around spouting "poor him," "poor her," "poor baby." The repetition of the word poor is bad enough, but the rest of the dialogue is also rather unrealistic. And there really is no mystery. There are crimes and suspects, but the investigation in no way reveals any true talent on the part of Theo Browning and it's basically pure luck that catches the thief.
*Shades of Earl Grey* is a very, very light mystery. It's enjoyable, but by no means engrossing or even particularly satisfying. It's a nice little book that would be great for killing some time. But even though this particular title in the series wasn't the best, I'd have to say that I'll still read the ones that follow.
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5.0 out of 5 stars delicious cozy, Jan. 17 2003
By 
In Charleston's historic district, the Indigo Tea Shop is doing so well that they have added lunch and delectable pastries to the menu. The owner Theodosia Browning has also catered many society events including those held at The Lady Goodwood Inn. Now she is taking a holiday and is a guest at the engagement party of Camilla Cantroux and Marine Captain Corey Buchanan at the inn. The roof of the room where dinner is to be served caves in.
The groom dies and the $70,000 wedding ring disappears. When Theo and her friends go looking for it, it is nowhere to be found so the tea shop entrepreneur thinks cat burglar. She is sure that the events are linked. When more items disappear, Theo and her friends set a trap for the stealthy felon, one that could lead to new flavor of tea named for a intrepid perhaps foolish amateur sleuth served at a funeral.
Readers should not read this book when they are hungry or thirsty because the mouth watering recipes will just aggravate the condition. The heroine is a likable person who goes out of her way to get involved with a criminal investigation and though it may seem odd, that's Theo. Her need to see justice done and enjoin in the process as a participant is just one the reasons that she endears herself to the audience. There is a surplus of suspects with means and opportunity so readers will want to finish the book in one sitting to see who the perpetrator is in this delicious cozy.
Harriet Klausner
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5.0 out of 5 stars Grab a cup of tea and enjoy this cozy, atmospheric mystery!, Jan. 16 2003
By 
I love this mystery series. Why? It's not gory, for one thing. If you're hoping for the next Stephen King, this isn't for you. And also, it's set in gorgeous, historic Charleston, SC. Theodosia and friends draw you into their cozy, warm circle and compel you to linger. The characters are warm and charming, though not always truly believable. Theodosia's pals are almost too devoted to believe. But, if you take this for what it is - a cute little cozy mystery, you won't be disappointed. I read this book straight through in one sitting because I got so comfortable with the characters and the their little world. Well worth your time if you are a fan of light-hearted mysteries.
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Shades of Earl Grey
Shades of Earl Grey by Laura Childs (Paperback - July 2003)
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