LAVENDER LIES by Susan Wittig Albert

LAVENDER LIES

KIRKUS REVIEW

As her marriage to Pecan Springs (Texas) Acting Police Chief Michael McQuaid looms, lawyer-turned-herbalist China Bayles wrestles with floral arrangements, musical selections, and her eighth murder case (Chile Death, 1998, etc.). Someone has put paid to Edgar Coleman’s nefarious real-estate schemes, and the big questions are (1) who wanted him dead badly enough to push to the head of a very long line of suspects, and (2) which of those suspects—ranging from the wife he was cheating on to the seven city councillors he was blackmailing—could not have been the “Jean” a neighbor heard Letty Coleman casting aspersions on before the widow’s own fatal tumble down her stone steps? (One of the city councillors is beautician Billie Jean Jones; another is bookseller Darla Jean McDaniels; even a little South Texas town like Pecan Springs presumably has room for still more.) Albert does a deft job of balancing China’s investigations, designed to rescue her bridegroom for his honeymoon, with dense small-town detail, but long before the final chapter, which describes the wedding after the mystery’s been safely wrapped up, there’s never any doubt that romance comes first in her heart, followed by her loving evocation of an entrepreneurial Shangri-la of endless independent shopkeepers, whether or not they’re named Jean. Though the murderer is easily spotted in advance, the motive will surprise you. If you really burn with suspense about the wedding, though, you’ll have to wait till that last chapter. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 1999
ISBN: 0-425-17032-2
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Berkley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1999




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