Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The Last Chance Olive Ranch
China Bayles Mystery #25
Susan Wittig Albert

Berkley
April 4, 2017/ ISBN 978-0-425-28003-4
Mystery / Amateur Sleuth

Reviewed by Laura Hinds  

 

China Bayles is preparing for a weekend away at the Last Chance Olive Ranch where she and her best friend Ruby will teach a workshop about herbs. Yet when it comes time to go, China does not go willingly. You see, her husband McQuaid, a former cop, is being hunted by an escaped convict who blames McQuaid for his imprisonment.

As the killer, Max Mantel ruthlessly kills everyone involved in his stint on death row at Huntsville Prison. McQuaid decides to go rogue in his role as a PI and use himself as bait. Mantel has other plans though, and things take a most unexpected twist, leaving McQuaid second guessing himself not only as to what is going down now but as to why he didn’t take out Mantel with one shot when he had the chance years ago.

China, meanwhile, is finding all sorts of intrigue at the ranch. The will of the late matriarch, Eliza Butler, is being contested by her nephew who has gone so far as to suggest marriage to Maddie Haskell to whom Eliza has left the ranch and the olive oil business. Will China be the one to get to the heart of the matter and help Maddie, or will she end up in almost as much danger as McQuaid?

The China Bayles mysteries are like a good chocolate to me. I can devour one in a day and find myself wanting more immediately. The stories are so well-plotted and I love reading about the main characters as they develop from book to book, and yet there are always newcomers, especially when China heads out of town, to add new blood to the series.

The details and dimensions of any Susan Wittig Albert book are a joy to avid readers who can count on a book that they will fall right into while riding the twists and turns of the written winding roads.

While I could see how the various storylines might dovetail, there were precise angles, which kept China’s story and McQuaid’s story on their separate paths. All in all, this was a most satisfying read, which I highly recommend to mystery lovers everywhere.

Reviewed 2017
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