Violent crime and long-buried intrigue disrupt the peace of Pecan Springs, Tex., home of herb shop owner China Bayles, in the piquant 16th entry in Albert's southwestern cozy series (after 2006's Bleeding Hearts). China's pleasant routines are first disrupted by the travails of her business partner, Ruby, who's apparently been stood up by her unreliable boyfriend, an ex-narc. Then China's recently discovered half brother, Miles Danforth, an attorney, insists on reopening the ice-cold case of their father's death in a car accident 16 years earlier. Miles has uncovered correspondence that their father feared for his life before he died, and recruits the help of China's husband, Mike McQuaid, a former Houston homicide detective turned PI. But China faces a much warmer corpse when she and her friend Carole discover a bloody body by the railroad tracks where they go to gather yucca. Albert's fans will savor recipes such as Texas tarragon vinegar and lemon-mint tea concentrate, plus botanical trivia. (Apr.)
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China Bayles and her business partner, Ruby, have their hands full in the latest installment in Albert's long-running series. The herb shop, tearoom, and catering business keep them busy enough, but China wants to add papermaking to her skill set, and on top of the that, they're awash in family troubles. Ruby's mother is caught shoplifting, and her ex-boyfriend stands her up again. China's recently discovered half brother is sure that their father did not die accidentally. He wants to investigate, and China's husband, a private investigator in need of a case, goes to work on it. Meanwhile, China sets out to gather yucca plants for the papermaking class and finds a dead body. Pecan Springs, Texas, seems like a peaceful small town, but that's never the case in a cozy mystery, and when China starts snooping, she finds several closets full of the kind of secrets that produce corpses. Albert combines a fast-moving plot with the botanical lore and recipes that her readers have come to expect. Solid entertainment well within cozy fans' comfort zone. Barbara Bibel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.