China Bayles Mystery, No 17
by Susan Wittig Albert
The China Bayles mystery series never fails to live up to expectations.
Each book surpasses the last as readers learn to care about the
characters and their relationships. New characters are always brought
in to keep things lively and ever changing. Yet China and her husband,
McQuaid, and their circle of friends remain consistent with their
strong morals and sense of justice, and of course, family and fun.
In Wormwood China leaves behind home and hearth to take a much needed break from the
recent stresses of her life, including the death of her brother. She knows she can leave her
herb store in the capable hands of her co-workers, so she heads to the historic Shaker village of
Mt. Zion with her friend Martha Edmond, who is a member of the Board of Directors and suspects
there is trouble afoot.
Interestingly, Ms. Albert has managed to break new ground, by writing the story in two eras at
once: the present time, and circa 1912, both set at Mt Zion. The parallels are intriguing: the
elements of theft of money, of arson fires in a barn, and plans to commercialize the village are
told in such a well thought out manner that one cannot help but feel that the book comes full circle,
and all the ends are tied prettily together in a knot at the conclusion of the story.
Wormwood is a really good mystery, full of interesting facts
about herbs and about Shaker communities. I enjoyed reading it
very much, and am pleased that I was able to learn so many new things.
The shift in time between chapters kept the book lively and the
pace is executed perfectly. I highly recommend this book to mystery
lovers, people with an interest in herbal lore and those who want
to find out more about Shakers while reading a truly good story.
Reviews of other titles in this series
Mistletoe Man, No 9
of a Death, No 12
Dagger, No 15
Wormwood, 17 [review
Gloria, No 19
Claw, No 20
April 7, 2009|
Hardcover from ARC|
Mystery / Amateur Sleuth|
More at Amazon.com|
NOTE: Deaf Characters: small reference to one elderly, deaf Shaker woman (minor character).|
Reviewer Laura Hinds is an experienced freelance writer whose
first novel, Are You Gonna Eat That Banana, just came
out in 2009.