You may recall in October I told you about the fabulous Susan Wittig Albert and her Darling Dahlias series. I am back to clue you in on another long lived and much loved series. Bittersweet (China Bayles #23) by Susan Wittig Albert landed on my desk much to my delight and I think you will love it as well.
From the back of the book:
New from the author of Death Come Quickly and Widow's Tears. This Thanksgiving, be grateful for China Bayles—who teams up with an old friend to solve a complex case of theft and murder in a South Texas ranching community…
It’s Thanksgiving in Pecan Springs, and China is planning to visit her mother, Leatha, and her mother’s husband, Sam, who are enthusiastically embarking on a new enterprise—turning their former game ranch into a vacation retreat for birders. She’s also looking forward to catching up with her friend, game warden Mackenzie “Mack” Chambers, who was recently transferred to the area. But Leatha calls with bad news: Sam has had a heart attack.
How will Leatha manage if Sam can’t carry his share? She does have a helper, Sue Ellen Krause. But China discovers that Sue Ellen, who is in the process of leaving her marriage to the assistant foreman at a large trophy game ranch, is in some serious trouble. Before Sue Ellen can tell China the full story, her car veers off a deserted road and she is killed.
Meanwhile, when a local veterinarian is shot in what appears to be a burglary at his clinic, Mack Chambers believes his murder could be related to fawns stolen from a nearby ranch. As Mack follows the trail, China begins to wonder if Sue Ellen’s death may not have been an accident, and if there’s a connection to the stolen animals. But their search for the truth may put their own lives in danger.
This is a beloved series I read and I was happy to see this one was different and stood out. Part of that was due to a location shift and I think part was because many of the regulars were not involved. The topic was a hard one for me as a gentle vegetarian anything that touches on hunting is hard to read. What I loved was the unique POV shifts from first to third person at chapter breaks. I read a lot and have seldom seen something so daring. It worked well.
The end made my heart smile and overall I think the mystery was well written and packed with interesting information. I really liked the new characters as well. It was another hit for me. If you haven't read China Bayles you can start here, but I recommend you go back a bit.
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