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Dead Man's Bones
A China Bayles mystery, No. 13

By Susan Willig Albert

     China Bayles has taken time out from her Thyme and Seasons herb shop to landscape the Merrill Obermann Community Theater, donated by the Obermann sisters: Jane, an overbearing autocrat and her retiring sister, Florence. They made the donation with the condition that the first production was to be a play written by Jane about their father. The production is filled with problems, all created by Jane's interference, which has created many hard feelings. Outstanding is Gabe Dixon, handy man whose father had worked for the Obermanns for years. He felt they owed his father.

     China's stepson, Brian, is working at the Mistletoe Springs Cave archaeology site, supervised by Alana Montoya, member of the Central Texas State University faculty. In exploring the cave, Brian stumbles on a skeleton that proves to be from the no-so-distant past rather than from prehistoric times.

     Jane shoots and kills Gabe in what she alleges is an attempted robbery. But China feels there are too many unanswered questions behind the home invasion. A subsequent autopsy on the discovered skeleton provides evidence pointing to Obermann family secrets.

     This is another unique mystery centering on the character of China Bayles, a caring sensible woman. Her relationship with her husband, McQuaid, and his son, Brian, and with her best friend, Ruby, concerns about her love life gone awry, and her compassion for Alana Montoya, all make her a person we can relate to. The plot is well constructed. The story moves at an even yet suspenseful pace, giving the reader a feeling of participation in the suspense and the unfolding of the mystery.

     There are chapter headings with information about the herbs that are involved in the story. Also included are a number of mouth watering recipes using various herbs.

     A pleasant relaxing book with no violence, no graphic sex, and no "adult" language.

China Bayles' Book of Days (NonFiction)

Reviews of other titles in this series

Mistletoe Man #9
Dilly of a Death #12
Dead Mans Bones #13
Bleeding Hearts #14
Spanish Dagger #15
Nightshade #16
Wormwood #17 [review 1] [review 2]
Mourning Gloria #19
Cat's Claw #20
Widow's Tears #21
Death Come Quickly #22
Bittersweet #23
Blood Orange #24
The Last Chance Olive Ranch #25 [review 1] [review 2]
Queen Anne's Lace #26

The Book

Berkley Prime Crime
April 2005
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The Reviewer

Barbara Buhrer
Reviewed 2005
© 2005