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Last Updated onLaura Childs is the bestselling author of several cozy mystery series, including the Tea Shop Mysteries and the Scrapbooking Mysteries. She also writes a newer series under her real name Gerry Schmitt, titled Afton Tangler.
She is an author that everyone who enjoys reading the cozy mystery genre will have picked up at least a few of her novels. And newcomers to the genre will have to start reading them for being some of the best contemporary books of the kind.
Here are the Laura Childs books in order for her popular series.
New Laura Childs Books
Tea Shop Mystery Series
- Death by Darjeeling, 2001
- Gunpowder Green, 2002
- Shades of Earl Grey, 2003
- The English Breakfast Murder, 2003
- The Jasmine Moon Murder, 2004
- Chamomile Mourning, 2005
- Blood Orange Brewing, 2006
- Dragonwell Dead, 2007
- The Silver Needle Murder, 2008
- Oolong Dead, 2009
- The Teaberry Strangler, 2010
- Scones & Bones, 2011
- Agony of the Leaves, 2012
- Sweet Tea Revenge, 2013
- Steeped in Evil, 2014
- Ming Tea Murder, 2015
- Devonshire Scream, 2016
- Pekoe Most Poison, 2017
- Plum Tea Crazy, 2018
- Broken Bone China, 2019
Scrapbooking Mystery Series
- Keepsake Crimes, 2003
- Photo Finished, 2004
- Bound for Murder, 2004
- Motif for Murder, 2006
- Frill Kill, 2007
- Death Swatch, 2008
- Tragic Magic, 2009
- Fiber & Brimstone, 2010
- Skeleton Letters, 2011
- Postcards from the Dead, 2012
- Gilt Trip, 2013
- Gossamer Ghost, 2014
- Parchment and Old Lace, 2015 (co-authored with Terrie Farley Moran)
- Crepe Factor, 2016 (co-authored with Terrie Farley Moran)
- Glitter Bomb, 2018 (co-authored with Terrie Farley Moran)
- Mumbo Gumbo Murder, 2019 (co-authored with Terrie Farley Moran)
Cackleberry Club Mystery Series
- Eggs in Purgatory, 2008
- Eggs Benedict Arnold, 2009
- Bedeviled Eggs, 2010
- Stake & Eggs, 2012
- Eggs in a Casket, 2014
- Scorched Eggs, 2014
- Egg Drop Dead, 2016
- Eggs on Ice, 2018
Afton Tangler Series
writing under the name as Gerry Schmitt
Laura Childs Biography
Laura Childs (aka Gerry Schmitt) were raised in rural Minnesota. She always loved reading and writing. She wrote her first short story at the young age of 6 titled George the Ghost, and she didn’t stop ever since. She would read adult books even as a small child, but since she couldn’t take out crime mystery books from the library, she would ask her mom to pick them for her.
She attended the University of Minnesota, and after graduating, she began writing for Target. Later on, she became TV writer/producer for three multi-national ad agencies, following which she launched her own advertising and marketing firm, working with many international companies.
After the tech-boom, she re-launched her company under the name Mission Critical Marketing, with the sole goal of working with tech products and B2B (business-to-business) organizations. Overall, Laura Childs worked in advertising for over a quarter of a century (with twenty of them being the head of the company, as its CEO and creative director) before turning to writing books.
With the support of her husband, she was able to write her first novel, which launched her entire full-time writing career. In fact, she started writing just one year prior to Gerry selling her marketing firm to her business partner. Laura was also incredibly lucky as Penguin Random House bought her first book based only on the first three chapters and a relatively short outline for the story.
Over the years, she traveled to many far-away countries, including China, Indonesia, and Japan, and her Asian trips inspired her first bestselling series, the Tea Shop Mysteries.
When asked what genre her books are in, the author Laura Childs mentions that the Laura Childs books are thrillzy, which is a mixture of thriller and cozy. She insists that her books are not classic cozies, which she doesn’t like writing. Her researched before transitioning to writing from advertising let her learn that women were getting tired of the serial-killer thriller novels, and they wanted something softer that can be read on the beach or on their couch relaxed.
Due to her having worked with over 20 clients at a time during her time in her marketing firm, Laura Childs can easily write two, and even three, books in a year. She is used to juggling several things at a time, and writing in more series at the same time is not an issue for her.
While she uses mostly her imagination for coming up with the stories for her books and series, the author did use various settings at different times. For example, for her Cackleberry Club series, she used various little cafes that she visited in the Midwest as the series’ setting. Also, some of the places she uses for her series are cities she has visited over the years, including New Orleans and Charleston.
Again, using her knack for research, she learned that Charleston has the last remaining tea plantation in the United States, so for Laura, it was natural to set her story in Charleston and to write her stories around tea (instead of coffee, for example).
Her main characters in the various series she has written are intelligent, clever, witty, and very real women who can stand their ground.
Most Laura Childs books have been featured as New York Times bestselling novels. They involve all business women who solve crimes.
The Tea Shop Mysteries features Theodosia Browning who owns her own tea shop with the name Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is quite the savvy businesswoman who, in addition to selling tea, also likes to put her nose into police business and do a bit of amateur sleuthing. The setting for the series is the atmospheric Charleston with its rich history.
The author’s second series, A Scrapbook Mystery, is set in New Orleans and features Carmela who owns a scrapbooking shop, Memory Mine, in the French Quarter. Due to its spooky setting (after all New Orleans is known for its slightly paranormal tone), this second series is a bit spookier as well. Carmela is divorced and has a booming business not only selling supplies but also holding courses in scrapbooking, rubber stamping, and paper crafts in general.
The Cackleberry Club Mysteries is the third Laura Childs series, this time set in the Midwest in a fictional town called Kindred. As opposed to the previous two series which feature one main protagonist, The Cackleberry series centers around three women, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni, who are all in their forties. They are all co-owners of the Cackleberry Club which offers a cafe, a yarn shop, and a cozy book nook. When there is a murder in their club, the ladies vow to solve the crime.
The thrilzy books by Lauren Childs had sold 1 million copies so far, with over 40 books published to date.
In 2016, Laura Childs, writing under her real name, Gerry Schmitt this time, launched her fourth series, Afton Tangler, which is very different from her usual cozy stories. This new series is a psychological thriller focusing on Afton, a single mom, and a community liaison officer with the Minneapolis police department, who is also an avid rock climber in her spare time.
Little Gone Girl, the first book in the new Afton Tangler series, is quite creepy. It is nothing like the Laura Childs cozy series at all. The series is much darker, and it moves at a much faster pace with lots of action to keep you always busy. It is interesting that before the book title became final, Gerry Schmitt names it Finders Creepers.
Gerry Schmitt has set her new series in Minnesota, the author’s home state, and wants to keep it very local in future books as well. So far all the Gerry Schmitt books are set in Minnesota.
Laura Childs lives in Plymouth with her husband, former University of Minnesota art history professor Robert Poor.
Praise for Laura Childs
Familiar, well-drawn characters, the lovingly described Charleston setting, details about tea and running a tea shop, and a final plot twist make this cozy a nice addition to the long-running series. Certain to appeal to readers who enjoy southern settings, tea, and strong women protagonists. (Booklist)
Tea lovers, mystery lovers, [this] is for you. Just the right blend of cozy fun and clever plotting. (Susan Wittig Albert)
Childs serves dedicated cup-of-tea-and-a-cozy readers exactly what they long for. (Publishers Weekly)
Scrapbook aficionados rejoice! Ms. Childs creates a charming mystery series with lively, quirky characters and plenty of how-to…Serving up some hors d’oeuvres of murder and mystery, creativity and fashion, she has a winning formula to get even the laziest of us in a scrapbooking mood. (Fresh Fiction)
Childs excels at creating comforting settings in which to put her characters, and the Cackleberry Club is a place you’d like to visit. (St. Paul Pioneer Press)
Out of a swirling Minnesota snowstorm, a new hero trudges triumphantly off the pages of Gerry Schmitt’s new thriller (Minneapolis Star Tribune)