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4.0 out of 5 starsGreat little mystery, with a lot of spice.
Reviewed in the United States on January 23, 2017
I enjoy reading Susan Wittig Albert's books, not just because all of her characters come to life (portrayed very well), but because the setting takes place in Pecan Springs, TX. I love the herbal recipes and love that China and Ruby have an herbal shop, a tea room, etc. Even though this book is fiction, some of the places that "China" mentions are very much REAL. Being a Texas resident, living in Montgomery County, I am familiar with them all. I would have given this a 5-star rating, but the chapters after the conclusion of the book were just an "add-on", in my opinion, and appeared to be an "afterthought" on the author's part--with a lot of unnecessary information. I had just finished the book, and I guess that I was just ready to move on to another one of her books, "Spanish Dagger"! Thanks.
This is the 11th book in the China Bayles series. China and Ruby travel to the small town of Indigo to work with Allison on a natural dye workshop and participate in an arts and crafts festival. They find out that Allison's uncle is going to sell the mining rights to the town and surrounding lands which is devastating to the community that has just started reviving the town as an arts and cultural center. When the uncle announces his plans at a community meeting, he becomes public enemy number one and when he is later shot in what appears to be one of his own booby traps, there are few tears shed in the community. China's husband McQuaid offers to assist with the investigation and when it is hampered at all sides, it appears that this may be murder with a whole town of suspects. In addition to the murder, there is a complication of the ward of the uncle, who may not be as mentally incompetent as his family has claimed and was abused by the uncle, a boyfriend of the woman who wanted to take her away, a strained relationship between Allison and her long time boyfriend, and to complicate China and McQuaid's life, possible abuse of their son by his mother's new boyfriend/soon to be husband. China and McQuaid have a lot to figure out and the story plays out well. This was a good addition to the series. In addition to being a good mystery, I learned a lot about natural dyes and about strip mining.
I like these mysteries, filled with herbal info and recipes for food and crafts. China and her friends are real-life folks, the kind of fictional characters you wish were your own friends. The mysteries are creative and intriguing and will, more often than not, keep the reader guessing.
This writer is new to me. I had just finished her most excellent books on the Beatrix Potter murders and jumped into this book. It's like switching from one pallet to another without a swish of water. My mind was expecting the same experience as the Potter books and it got another kind of reading experience - took a few pages to get into this book. It's a series of mysteries surrounding facts about herbs and plants - which I dearly love. It took a few chapters and then the book became interesting, although the receipes and herb facts are wonderful. I will read the rest of the series - and SO SHOULD EVERY OTHER READER. Good Book!
I do love the books of Susan Wittig Albert!! She has a fantastic style of writing. Even though I've read some of her books, I decided to read them in the order she wrote them. They are great individually, but there are references to other story lines. But that's no big deal. Try her books!! You just might love her too.
Endlich findet die Autorin zu ihrer alten Form zurück und präsentiert uns einen weiteren spannenden Krimi um China und Ruby. Ausserdem werden wir in die Kunst des Stoffe Färbens mit Pflanzenfarbstoffen eingeführt, was sehr spannend ist. Im Krimi selber finden wir die Hinweise auf den Täter grosszügig verstreut, auch wenn man dieses Mal nicht so leicht auf ihn kommt. Ein vergnügliches, intelligentes Buch.