The latest interruption in the lives of China Bayles, Esq., her best bud Ruby Wilcox, her husband, college teacher/private eye Mike McQuaid, and his son Brian, 14, is . . . Brian’s discovery of skeletal remains at an archaeological site.
More complications await the friends of China’s herb shop, tearoom and catering business. Ruby, the queen of bad relationships, falls for newcomer Colin Fowler. China’s friends Sheriff Blackie Blackwell and Chief of Police fiancée Sheila Dawson, aka “Smart Cookie,” break up. And forensic specialist Alana Montoya starts hitting the bottle. The gravest consequences attend the grand opening of the new Merrill Obermann Community Theater, financed by the Misses Obermann. Jane, who’s written the opening play in her father’s honor, is an autocrat tolerated for the sake of her charitable donations. Her sister Florence lives quietly in Jane’s shadow. On the night of the grand opening, Jane kills local carpenter Hank Dixon, who’d allegedly broken into her house and threatened the sisters with a knife. When Florence dies, apparently poisoned, China has to pull together the threads that connect the shooting, the poisoning and that skeleton.
Devotees of China’s adventures (Indigo Dying, 2003, etc.) will enjoy more quality time with the denizens of Pecan Springs. Even newcomers who don’t get into the Texas Hill Country spirit will pick up some recipes and a lot of herbal lore.