Monday, March 8, 2021

Haunted Hibiscus - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Haunted Hibiscus (Teashop Mystery #22) by Laura Childs

Rating: Liked It
Source: Publisher

Description:  It is the week before Halloween and Theodosia Browning, proprietor of the Indigo Tea Shop, 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 grand opening of their literary and historical themed haunted house.

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

But amid a parade 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 is shot and wounded by a shadowy intruder.

Timothy begs Theodosia to investigate, and shaken by Riley's assault, she readily agrees. Now, she questions members of the Heritage Society and a man who claims the mansion is rightfully his, as well as Willow's book publisher and her fiancé, all while hosting a Sherlock Holmes tea and catering several others.

But the Gray Ghost holds many secrets, as do several other key suspects, while this murder mystery plays out on the eve of Halloween.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  This is a series that I usually enjoy so of course I had to pick this Halloween-y book up.

My Impression:  This is a fun series but I must admit this wasn't my favorite one.  There are a lot of positives about the book though.  As usual Charleston is almost a character.  There's all kinds of ghostly Halloween feels along with a literary haunted house.  Throw in a murder for unknown motives and the mystery was seriously interesting.  I always enjoy time in the teashop and would love to try the yummy treats and different teas described.  I love the side characters and the general feel of the book.

My main issue is with Theodosia, the main character.   The amateur sleuth element of a cozy can always be a bit tricky but Theodosia's belief that she has the right to investigate and her level of outrage when the police (including her boyfriend) don't officially sanction her investigation got a bit annoying. I get that she was emotionally invested in this one but her attitude set my teeth on edge a bit.  

Despite my issues with this book I did enjoy it.  The atmosphere is fantastic and I always love my time at the Indigo tea shop with Drayton and Hayley.  This would be great for a Halloween cozy read. 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would.  Even though this wasn't a favorite I do always enjoy books by this author.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would definitely recommend this series to cozy readers and while I do think you can jump in anywhere in the series I wouldn't recommend starting with this one.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. Sorry this wasn't a favorite, but the series is on my list.

  2. Sorry this didn't click with you. I love the title though. 📚

  3. I've read some of the earlier books in the series. She has changed boyfriends quite a bit. I do enjoy the tea parts and Charleston. Wonderful review!

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  4. They can't all be good, but sounds like you didn't really regret reading it and it only had some flaws.

  5. This sounds like a good series overall, even if this one didn't quite live up to past books.

  6. This is a series I'd want to continue. I love how it's full of tea.