China Bayles is a wife, mother, formerly practicing attorney
and current proprietor of an herb shop, Thyme and Seasons,
as well as partial owner of a few side businesses. She's a
wonderful friend and a very logical and methodical woman.
She also has a knack for solving murders. Twenty-three previous
books have detailed her exploits and followed the events of
In Blood Orange a young nurse has
suddenly disappeared from the cottage located behind Thyme
and Seasons, which she was renting from China. Kelly Kaufman
had confided in China that she was going through a difficult
divorce and needed a quiet place to stay while she dealt with
the situation. Her disappearance looks like an abduction and
China turns to the police for help. Soon, however, she hears
from Kelly who explains that she took off the way she did
because she felt that she was in danger. She had uncovered
a murder and wants to see China in private to seek her advice.
Kelly is in a terrible auto accident on her
way to China's house, and China can't help but get involved
in investigating what happened and why, and digging to find
out about the murder Kelly spoke of.
There is a lot to this book, as is usually
the case with this series. It's obvious that a lot of research,
time and plot planning went into writing it. I read it over
the course of two days, often reading for hours on end because
I was so intrigued by the story. It is the type of mystery
that is truly both a whodunit and a whydunit. I really liked
it, and highly recommend it. You don't need to have read any
of the previous books to enjoy it, but I am glad that I did
so that I was familiar with the series-regular characters.
What I didn't like: There wasn't enough of
Ruby, China's best friend and business partner. China's husband,
Mike McQuaid was out of the country for most of the book,
and his son, college-aged Brian, was hardly mentioned.
What I really disliked: That there came a
point in the book when China, whom I consider to be a strong
and smart character, put herself intentionally in a really
bad situation of the type that is often called “too
stupid to live.” I've come to expect better from China.
That said, I understand why the author did it and what the
plot point was, so in the end I made peace with it.
What I loved: That Ms. Albert continues to
write fascinating books populated by a wide variety of characters
in believable settings and situations, and that she keeps
things at the herb shop and other businesses fresh and current,
all the while teaching readers about the many uses of herbs
and how to use them safely.
When I say that I read a book for hours on
end you know it is a good one. In this multi-distracting world
devoting hours to anything is a really big deal. I recommend
that you get a copy of Blood Orange as soon as you
can and make sure to set aside a day or evening to settle
in for an engaging read. You won't be sorry!
Bayles' Book of Days (NonFiction)
of other titles in this series
of a Death #12
Mans Bones #13
Wormwood #17 [review
Come Quickly #22
The Last Chance Olive Ranch #25 [review
Anne's Lace #26
Note: Susan Wittig Albert also writes The Cottage Tales
of Beatrix Potter Mysteries and The Darling Dahlias Mysteries.