|Laura Childs: The English Breakfast Murder|
Berkley (Paperback), ISBN: 0-425-19129-X
While volunteering with the Sea Turtle Protection League one night, Theodosia "Theo" Browning spots something floating out in the ocean. She swims out to it and makes a grisly discovery. Instead of the injured dolphin Thea expects to find, the floater proves to be the dead body of local antique dealer Harper Fisk.
Though her social calendar seems full -- running her own business (the Indigo Tea Shop), dating, reviewing some grant applications, filming a few TV spots for the local station, preparing for an upcoming fund-raiser fashion show with the show's overbearing organizer and her kleptomaniac sister -- Theo still manages to find a bit of time to investigate Fisk's death.
Suspicion falls immediately on the English Breakfast Club (three older gentlemen friends of Fisk's) as well as Fisk's business partner, a young woman named Summer. All could gain from Fisk's estate, but who might kill for that gain? The investigation gets more complicated when someone takes a potshot at one of the English Breakfast Club members. Then Fisk's computer mysteriously contracts a virus -- or something -- that causes it lock up.
Laura Child's characters come across as extremely flat and one-dimensional, especially considering she spends very little time describing them. The plot seems rather weak. The whole method for Theo finding the body comes across as outright stupid. Who'd go swimming in the ocean in the dark to purposely investigate a bunch of floating debris? Even though Theo appears to be a strong swimmer, anyone with half a brain should know better.
In addition, the narrative reads more like a typical week in Theo's life. She spends very little time investigating, it seems, and all her time on the shop and the fashion show and other social events. Then all of a sudden, SURPRISE! She figures it out. A boring and bland entry in Childs' Tea Shop Mystery Series, the recipes at the back of the book for items served in the tea shop stand out as the best part.
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