A Halloween visit to a haunted house leads to a challenging murder investigation.
Tea shop owner Theodosia Browning has a storied reputation throughout Charleston as an amateur sleuth. So when she and her tea sommelier, Drayton, attend a fundraiser for the Heritage Society held at a decrepit mansion the society just inherited, she’s shocked but not surprised to be asked to investigate a murder. Willow French, the grandniece of Heritage Society bigwig Timothy Neville, was using the fundraiser to promote her book on true crime and low-country legends, which seemed like a perfect match for the haunted venue until someone hanged the author from a high window. When Theodosia’s boyfriend, police detective Pete Riley, checks out Willow’s apartment, an intruder shoots him, spurring Theodosia in her investigation. The valuable yellow diamond earrings Willow was wearing have vanished. Robbery is certainly a reasonable motive for murder, but Theodosia can’t help wondering if this crime is more personal. The long list of suspects begins with Willow’s fiance, who’s just inherited the expensive house she’d recently purchased. Her book publisher gives off an odd vibe; the man whose family owned the Heritage Society's new mansion thinks it should be his; and several of the people working the fundraiser are short of funds themselves. As Pete recovers, his dire warnings don’t deter Theodosia, who continues to investigate even though she’s fully booked for holiday teas.
Historic Charleston and a gaggle of interesting helpers make this another winner in this long-running series.