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Book Club - 2nd Steep "Death by Darjeeling" by Laura Childs

50 Replies
Cattibrie said

That is my complaint Wifey_Woman. I have now bought books 2 and 3 but that is where is stops on my Kobo. I think I can buy the newest one but not the middle ones. Hopefully I can find them somewhere to buy for it since I really enjoyed book 1 also.

I can get 2, 3 and 8 for my nook….anyone else see something wrong with that? I might just get the others in paperback….sigh.

Uniquity said

Could try the library if you don’t want to buy a bunch more books..not that there’s ever anything wrong with buying a bunch more books : )

True, I find it hard to get to the library most of the time. Maybe I’ll give them a call. I must say buy books and tea are the two things I buy the most of. Most women I know it’s shoes or make-up products….not for me!

Uniquity said

My main expenses tend to be books and tea as well…though I adore the library as a means of supplementing my reading. I order all my library books online now and only go in when something I asked for is ready to be picked up…though that’s probably just my laziness showing. : )

My library doesn’t have them….drat!

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Has everyone finished reading this yet? I REALLY want to talk about it! :)

teawing said

Done.

Done here, too.

Uniquity said

Done! : )

Cattibrie said

Done and halfway through the second book. :)

I’m on to the second book too. My husband told me to pick up a few when we were at the bookstore last night! Such a great guy. :)

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Done as well. I definitely want to talk about it! Let’s go! Here are a couple questions I thought of. Feel free to add your own questions with your comments!

1) We discussed it briefly, but let’s go into more depth. Do you think the writer did enough research into tea companies, historic preservation (just for you teawing) and other aspects of running a business? Why or why not?

2) What did you think of the mystery? Was it compelling enough to keep you reading? Or did you keep reading for the tea aspect? ;)

3) Laura Childs writes in a distinct style. Discuss how her style relates to other genre writers – mystery, etc.

4) Would you recommend this book (and/or series) to a friend? Why or why not?

5) I’m a bit picky when it comes to “true-to-life” crimes; comes from my background and a natural interest in criminal psychology. Did you “guess” the murderer? Would you have handled the crime scene any differently?

OK guys…and…GO! :)

teawing said

1. It appeared to me she either had some experience in the realm of historic preservation, or she did some serious research. Either way, she got many of the issues right. This added credibility with me in the areas I was not as familiar with, (Charleston, tea, female opera attire ) ((grin)) As a historian, I am hard on fictional works, if they have connections to the past or present. It is important to me as a reader for the author to get the things that are truth based correct. There is a trust involved there.
I may be way over critical for a little fiction story like this, but if I am going to invest the time, I have some personal expectations.
Laura Childs met them as far as I am concerned.
2. I admit, I was fooled, I did not suspect the murderer until the heroine raised the question herself. This was a good job to me of hiding some details in plain site. So, the mystery was there for me all the way, and I enjoyed it.
3. Stylewise, I guess you mean writing from the heroine’s perspective, first person most of the way? We were in the mind of Theo practically all the time. That can be a nice place as in this book as opposed to being in the mind of say, Hannibal Lector, not a nice place in contrast. I think it makes for easy reading and less overthought on the readers part.
As for the genre, I don’t read many mysteries, so I am not sure how it measures up to others.
4. I would and enjoyed it. It was light, engaging, and fun. It made me crave scones among other things…
5. I will admit, I did not see that murderer coming, I was working on a “death by committee” theory where all the benefactors of the murder played a part. If not a commitee, maybe a partnership…
I know, the author had me, as I thought there were plenty of valid suspects. :)

I was totally craving scones, too! :) Too bad that wasn’t the recipe at the end instead of (ack) eggs.

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1) I think she did her research. She really seemed to know the inner workings of both the retail tea business and the ad agency world. Then again I know very little about running my own place at the moment. SO she could be pulling my leg on what she knows.

2) I thought the mystery really kept me reading and wanting more. I hated to have to stop for those pesky things like sleep and work! I liked all the different aspects of her story from the tea talk to the mystery itself. I was very entertained.

3) Her style reminded me a little of the Sherlock Holmes series of novels and short stories in the way she brought in the reader. Miss Childs also made me really want to know more about the staff of the Indigo Tea Shop, and not just about the murder they are trying to solve.

4) I have suggested this book to some of my tea loving friends. I think it’s a fun read and a nice escape from reality even if only for a little while!

5) I actually didn’t guess who the real murderer was till the very end. I can usually tell right away who the “bad guy” is. But the way the suspects were presented lead me to think it could be any one of the suspects named, but never the actual killer until the end. I’m not sure if I’d have handled things differently or not.

I will say this I am already on to ‘Gunpowder Green’ and really enjoying it so far.

Sherlock Holmes, yes. Very much so. In fact, when I read this question, I couldn’t put my finger on an answer. Then, I saw what you wrote and it just clicked. It’s very, very reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes. Agatha Christie also came to mind, except that I think the style of this novel came off a bit more formally than A.C. does.

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Uniquity said

I’ve just got a few minutes but I wanted to tackle #5 – I read this 2 or 3 weekends ago and honestly, I don’t even remember who the murderer was. I remember being surprised and I definitely didn’t guess right (plus the stalker thing threw me for a loop). I really enjoyed the book as I was reading it and I certainly zipped through it very quickly but the murder aspect of the story wasn’t memorable for me at all. It’s sort of like when I read the Charlaine Harris books. I enjoyed a quick thoughtless read and promptly forgot almost everything about it. The most captivating part of the story for me was the tea talk. I found her tone regarding tea a little annoying and condescending occasionally, but I can see how the information is required for potential non-tea drinking readers. Then again, a murder mystery series revolving around a teashop seems pretty specialized to target the tea drinking crowd. I never even realized there was a tea drinking market, in books at least! : )

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1) We discussed it briefly, but let’s go into more depth. Do you think the writer did enough research into tea companies, historic preservation (just for you teawing) and other aspects of running a business? Why or why not?

I don’t know. It seemed to me that the one area that this book was lacking was in the way Theo handled her business. Watching my husband run his business and visualizing the way she handled hers are two very different things. The whole idea that she was potentially facing difficult times and that she had an outlet through the website yet she was stuck on aesthetics? Really? Anyone in their right mind would turn to someone they trust and ask for help, but not procrastinate a huge decision because you can’t figure out a proper color scheme. That turned me off quite a bit and made the main character less believable. Coupled with her lofty vocabulary and arrogance, I didn’t much like Theo. I preferred the others who worked in the shop with her.

2) What did you think of the mystery? Was it compelling enough to keep you reading? Or did you keep reading for the tea aspect? ;)

The mystery part was just okay. I was somewhat frustrated with it, considering nearly the entire book was spent developing the two main male suspects, only to find out that the murderer was a secondary character that received just a rudimentary glossing over. It seems almost like a cop out to not sacrifice one of the other characters. At the time that the murderer was revealed, I didn’t even remember who she was.

4) Would you recommend this book (and/or series) to a friend? Why or why not?

I agree with Uniquity on this one. It’s fun while it lasts, but it’s totally forgettable. I can barely remember much about it, but I know I didn’t despise it as I was reading it. I think that I’ll read a couple more and then make a decision about the series. This author has several series going. She has to have something that clicks with readers. I’m hoping to find it. (I also love the Sookie books, Uniquity, and don’t remember a thing about them when I’m done. I have the newest one sitting on my nightstand and am wondering why I bother to spend the money on them. Then I read it and fall in love with the characters all over again. I do remember that I loved the last one, but I don’t remember why.) :D

5) I’m a bit picky when it comes to “true-to-life” crimes; comes from my background and a natural interest in criminal psychology. Did you “guess” the murderer? Would you have handled the crime scene any differently?

I mentioned this earlier. I didn’t like the author’s choice of murderer. Well, not so much that, but that character was barely mentioned throughout the story. She should have been more present in the storyline. That’s just plain frustrating and kind of a letdown. I love when authors can balance multiple suspects and keep me guessing. That doesn’t happen too often. I was guessing between the two men, but was disappointed that it turned out to be someone who wasn’t even suspected throughout the novel.

teawing said

You make some good points to consider. I mostly glossed over the business aspects of the story, guess I should have looked a little deeper.
I agree, I wanted to know more about Theo’s supporting cast in the shop, but we were left to wonder…
I felt the same way when the murderer was revealed, I had to go back and re-read her connections to the victim.
Yes, for me too it was a read and dump, but it has reinforced my previous desire to spend some time in Charleston someday soon.
Good stuff QG!

Uniquity said

I really enjoyed the Master Blender…whose name I have forgotten. Dalton? The girl who was temporarily helping out drove me quite batty (I think she was Bethany). The baker seemed like a spunky woman, and I would have liked to know a bit more about her. While the characters were very interesting, I felt their development was very superficial.

Drayton was the Master Blender and he was awesome. I’ve read the second book and the author does delve into the sub characters a little more.

I totally agree that the book made me want to add Charleston to my travel agenda. (Well, if I actually HAD a travel agenda, that is.) You’re right, teawing, she had to have researched quite a bit. I did learn a lot about it.

@LMB – I’m glad to hear that we get to find out more about Drayton and the others. It was sad to leave a book not having learned as much as I’d like about the characters inside. I also have Gunpowder Green and will probably read it someday soonish.

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Cattibrie said

1) We discussed it briefly, but let’s go into more depth. Do you think the writer did enough research into tea companies, historic preservation (just for you teawing) and other aspects of running a business? Why or why not?

I think she did great research in to the business of tea if not of running a tea business. Although I wasn’t reading for the tea shop itself so it was nice to get some insight into some teas. The historic preservation aspect seemed ok but I don’t have a lot of knowledge of that myself.

2) What did you think of the mystery? Was it compelling enough to keep you reading? Or did you keep reading for the tea aspect? ;)

I think it was defiantely compelling enough to keep me reading. But there are very few books that aren’t so it may not be a fair question for me. I enjoyed the book but also felt they didn’t flesh out the supporting characters enough. I have read the second book and am part way through the third and it is nice to see her flesh them out some and give them some dimension. I can actually see Drayton working on his tea mixes now. And see Haley coming out of the back with some of her pastries.

3) Laura Childs writes in a distinct style. Discuss how her style relates to other genre writers – mystery, etc.

I read a lot of mysteries and her style is a little different. I don’t like how sometimes she jumps to a different person to do the narrative but that is not something that is distinctive to her style (ie not in her scrapbooking mysteries) so I am going to assume it was something she was trying with this book since I didn’t notice it as much in the second book. I prefer to have one person doing the narrative unless it is consistent to the whole book not just thrown in once or twice like it was. I did guess the murderer as I said but that may say more about the fact that I read lots of mysteries and not about her style. Also she did have me wondering if I was wrong a couple of times until near the end when Theo went to the murderers house.

4) Would you recommend this book (and/or series) to a friend? Why or why not?

I have recommended this author before based on the scrapbooking series and will this one as well. However I really think the person I recommend it too needs to be a mystery lover or tea lover. Not just your average reader. There needs to be an interest in the subject matter.

5) I’m a bit picky when it comes to “true-to-life” crimes; comes from my background and a natural interest in criminal psychology. Did you “guess” the murderer? Would you have handled the crime scene any differently?

I guessed the murderer when she fainted across the room. As I said already I think that is more about me as a reader than her as an author. Someone who wasn’t on a current mystery kick may not be looking outside the obvious for the murderer. I think the crime scene was handled well.

I did really enjoy this book as evidenced by the fact that I have bought 2 more and will be looking to find the middle ones as real books since I can’t find them for my ereader until the newest few. I really hate that the ereader books do that. I get into a series for the first 2 or 3 books and then can’t get any until the 7th or 8th books.

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