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Queen Anne's Lace
China Bayles Mystery #26
Susan Wittig Albert

April 3, 2018/ ISBN 978-0-425-28005-8

Reviewed by Laura Hinds 

China Bayles who owns the Thyme and Seasons herbal shop in Pecan Springs, Texas is about to encounter a mystery of a different kind than the usual murder and violent crimes she's faced in the past. This time she finds a box of handmade lace and some photographs that were tucked in the storeroom of the shop. They prove to be relevant to the first family to live there, at 304 Crockett when it was a home instead of a business.

China reluctantly accepts that there is a ghost of a woman making herself known to China and the mystery for China is finding out what the ghost wants from her and how to help her. Who is this ghost and why the urgency for China to understand what she wants?

China's husband and daughter, as well as her step-son and his girlfriend and China's business partner and close friends, do make appearances in this book. Some more than others. There are chapters set in the present day and then chapters set back in the late 1880's providing glimpses of the past and how it may have affected the future, that is, China's present.

Susan Wittig Albert has done a brilliant job of weaving the storylines together. I was fascinated to learn about Pecan Springs in the 1880's, and she even described the businesses that were there then, and the ones in their place now. It takes a lot for an author to dare to tackle this and to step out of her comfort zone by providing a mystery that doesn't include an actual present-day murder, putting the emphasis on the past. The question remains as the story progresses - was there a murder or wasn't there? An accident perhaps? There were certainly many skeletons in some closets!

I can't recommend this book highly enough! The China Bayles mysteries are always entertaining and informative. I love learning about the uses of different herbs. Don't wait - order your copy today. Once you get your book, set aside enough time to sit down and read until your eyes-cross – because you won't want to put it down!

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

Reviewers Notes: Author writes several other series, including the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Mysteries.

Reviewed 2018