In Pecan Springs, Tex., football is king and Coach Tim Duffy is prince—but he may also be a sexual predator.
Fully occupied with her herb shop, tea room and catering business, China Bayles, Esq. (Dead Man’s Bones, 2005, etc.), is far from eager to investigate when the high-school principal calls her. An anonymous caller has accused Coach Duffy of sexual relationships with underage girls dating back to his days at Friendship High. So China goes to Friendship to talk to Margarita Lopez, whose daughter Angela was involved with the coach. The stakes escalate when Margarita reveals that after Angela departed for college in Pecan Springs, she was found dead, a supposed suicide. When the coach is murdered, China’s stepson and his girlfriend, marked as Duffy’s next victim, snap a picture of Margarita doing the deed. Should it all be hushed up when Margarita kills herself? Duffy’s wife is the scion of an old Pecan Springs family whose roots in local affairs run deep. But when China’s investigation reveals that Angela was murdered, the truth must be disclosed. Meantime, China’s learned that she has a half-brother, son of their father’s secretary, himself a lawyer in possession of letters indicating that their father may have been murdered. In addition, there’s a hint that her best friend Ruby’s boyfriend is not who he seems to be.
China’s followers will delight in the complicated relationships, recipes and historical flower information.