This is our time to share thoughts on the books we’ve read or received this past week. I have a book by an author I’ve been following for a number of years that I’d like to share with you.
MOURNING GLORIA by Susan Wittig Albert
Spring is in the air (or at least the calendar says so) and it’s the perfect time to pickup the latest installment in the China Bayles Mystery series, MOURNING GLORIA.
Herbalist China Bayles has her hands full between operating her herb shop, participating in the weekly Farmers’ Market, planning a psychoactive plant seminar for the local garden club, and of course, caring for her ever-growing family. This doesn’t even include the slew of usual activities going on in Pecan Springs. The last thing China needs is to get involved in something else.
On her way home one evening, China passes a burning house trailer. Remembering the trailer is vacant, China stops anyway and calls 911. She then hears a woman cry for help. As China tries to get inside the burning trailer there’s an explosion. When the fire is finally out, firemen find a body that has been shot and bound before being burned.
Learning the fire was an arson/homicide China can’t get the cries for help out of her head. Meanwhile, Jessica Nelson, a new intern reporter for the local newspaper begins covering the case. The story becomes personal to Jessica who lost her entire family to a fire and now she’s determined to find out why this killer did what he did.
When Jessica disappears after leaving a frantic message on China’s answering machine, China is compelled to find her. She fears Jessica has gotten too close to the killer for her own good.
Author Susan Wittig Albert weaves an assortment of plausible suspects into the story keeping the reader on their toes for clues as China closes in on the killer. In addition, China’s personal life is integrated in such a way readers can feel they’re in her shoes (so to speak).
MOURNING GLORIA is the 19th installment in the China Bayles Mystery series, but is a stand alone book. The author gives just enough background details so a new reader doesn’t feel lost and a returning fan doesn’t think, ‘I know all this already, get on with the story.’ The returning fans renew old friendships with lovable characters and places, while new readers get to know them.
Most of the chapters begin with a bit of information about various herbs and plants. In addition, readers are treated to a number of delicious recipes and herbal mixtures in the back of the book.
As China searches for Jessica, the killer’s reasons for his actions becomes clearer and more deadly. This is a suspenseful, fast pace mystery that will be hard to put down until you know why Jessica is MOURNING GLORIA.
Author Susan Wittig Albert’s website is www.abouthyme.com
Mourning Gloria by Susan Wittig Albert, A China Bayles Mystery series, Berkley Prime Crime, @2011, ISBN: 978-0-425-239131, Hardcover, 320 pages
FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Have you read MOURNING GLORIA or any of the other China Bayles mysteries? What did you read (or received) this past week? Tell us what you’re reading now.