Susan Wittig Albert’s exciting mysteries have been praised as “unique” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) and “fascinating” (Booklist). Now, a dead man’s bones are uncovered—and Texas ex-lawyer and herbalist China Bayles must dig into a pair of murders separated by time but connected by motive...
When China’s teenage son finds some skeletal remains during a local cave dig—remains that show a not-so-accidental death—it’s a disturbing development. But China doesn’t let it distract her from the opening of the new community theater donated by the elderly Obermann sisters. Unfortunately, the haughty, bullying Jane Obermann—and her frail, frightened younger sister—made the donation with a condition: that the first production be a play written by Jane about their aristocratic family history.
The premiere party ends with a bang when a ne’er-do-well local handyman is shot dead by Jane while breaking into the Obermann estate. It seems like a clear-cut case of self-defense. But China senses something else going on behind the scenes. Now, the key to catching a killer might be the mysterious bones in the cave—a clue from the past that could help China solve a mystery in the present...
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Susan Wittig Albert grew up on a farm in Illinois and earned her Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley. A former professor of English and a university administrator and vice president, she is the author of the China Bayles Mysteries, the Darling Dahlias Mysteries, and the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. Some of her recent titles include Widow’s Tears, Cat’s Claw, The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose, and The Tale of Castle Cottage. She and her husband, Bill, coauthor a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries under the name Robin Paige, which includes such titles as Death at Glamis Castle and Death at Whitechapel.From Publishers Weekly:
In Albert's assured 14th outing for China Bayles (after 2004's A Dilly of a Death), the herbalist and ex-lawyer is worried about the effect of the poor tourist trade on her Pecan Springs, Tex., herb shop, tea room and New Age store owned jointly with her best friend, Ruby Wilcox, when her 14-year-old stepson, Brian, announces a disturbing discovery: while on an archeological dig in a cave, he found a skeleton with its skull bashed in. Analysis later shows that the bones are about 30 years old. After a leading citizen shoots dead an apparent intruder in self-defense, China begins to suspect there's a link between this incident and the past murder. In her own quiet way, China pursues the truth. China's warmth and sensitivity toward Ruby's new boyfriend, the new professor at the local university and others will endear her to readers, while her investigative skills make her a leader among female sleuths. Fascinating information about herbs and tempting recipes round out this leisurely cozy with a Southwestern flair. (Apr. 5)
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