Texana Jones, owner of a desert trading-post near the Mexican border, is still grieving over the unsolved murder of her best friends when she finds the body of Rhea Fair: an aging, reclusive curandera--a healing woman--trusted by both Anglos and Mexicans. Were all these shootings just random, violent side-effects of the local drug wars along the border? The authorities think so. Texana doesn't--especially when Linden Fonda, a young journalist from San Antonio who was Rhea's last known visitor, disappears. So Texana travels a bit to do some low-key, credible sleuthing: tracking down Rhea's no-account sons; digging through Linden's papers (including her college thesis--a profile of Rhea Fair); and coming up with an Agatha-Christie-ish murder motive out of Rhea's distant past. There's not much suspense here, and the puzzle is thin. But this is a quietly absorbing debut nonetheless--with lean, atmospheric narration by no-nonsense Texana, a grim subplot about a rabies outbreak (Texana's husband is the region's top vet), and a persuasive portrait of bicultural life along a vibrant, violent border.