Holly Blues (China Bayles Series #18)

Holly Blues (China Bayles Series #18)

4.2 20
by Susan Wittig Albert
     
 

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China Bayles isn't happy when a Texas wind blows her husband's ex-wife, and the mother of China's stepson, into her herb shop. Sally is known to have a split personality and fall into constant trouble with the law, but she claims she has nowhere else to turn. Now its up to China to weed out whatever it is Sally's running from before the truth catches up to them all.

Overview

China Bayles isn't happy when a Texas wind blows her husband's ex-wife, and the mother of China's stepson, into her herb shop. Sally is known to have a split personality and fall into constant trouble with the law, but she claims she has nowhere else to turn. Now its up to China to weed out whatever it is Sally's running from before the truth catches up to them all.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The arrival in Pecan Springs, Tex., of Sally Strahorn, the insecure ex-wife of China Bayles's husband, PI Mike McQuaid, leads to trouble in Albert's sprightly 18th China Bayles mystery (after 2009's Wormwood). Against her better judgment, herbalist and tea-shop owner China takes pity on Sally, who's just lost her home and suffers from split personality disorder, and offers her a place to stay. Soon enough, a stalker targeting Sally makes threatening calls to China, and the police suspect Sally of involvement in a murder. With Mike away on business, China again turns sleuth to determine what connection the stalker might have to the deaths of Sally's parents almost 10 years earlier—and to prevent any harm to herself or her children. More than once China and her best friend, Ruby, dress up as Sesame Street characters to disarm suspicion. Series fans will enjoy catching up with old friends, though newcomers are likely to find the soap-operish family relationships of less interest. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
Christmas with herbalist China Bayles and a visitor who spells trouble. Although traffic has been slow at her shops, China and her family-her husband Mike McQuaid, private eye and part-time college professor, his son Brian, and China's niece Caitlin-are making do. When Mike's former wife, Brian's mom Sally Strahorn, turns up begging for a place to stay, China, a tough former trial lawyer, feels sorry for Sally, who has multiple-personality disorder and claims to be broke. Things change when China starts getting phone calls from a polite but somehow menacing stranger who wants to see Sally and claims to have the car Sally says was repossessed. Though a case takes Mike to Omaha and leaves China on her own, she can always count on her business partner Ruby and her friends, who include the chief of police and the county sheriff. Sally vanishes just before the police chief comes looking for her as a person of interest in her sister's murder. She pops up just long enough to phone China and beg her to get Mike to go to her hometown in Kansas, where the librarian claims to know who murdered Sally's parents and perhaps lit the fuse to all her current problems. For the sake of Brian, China and Mike struggle to find the truth. Albert's Texas Hill Country mysteries (Wormwood, 2009, etc.) are always a good value for both the mystery and the horticultural insights.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425240618
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/05/2011
Series:
China Bayles Series , #18
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
184,530
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Susan Wittig Albert grew up on a farm in Illinois and earned her Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley. A former professor of English and a university administrator and vice president, she is the author of the China Bayles Mysteries, the Darling Dahlias Mysteries, and the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. Some of her recent titles include Widow’s Tears, Cat’s Claw, The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose, and The Tale of Castle Cottage. She and her husband, Bill, coauthor a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries under the name Robin Paige, which includes such titles as Death at Glamis Castle and Death at Whitechapel.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
1940
Place of Birth:
Danville, Illinois
Education:
Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley

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Holly Blues 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
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harstan More than 1 year ago
It is Christmas time and the wonderful smells of the Yuletide season spices up Pecan Springs. Although China Bayles runs Thymes and Seasons Herbs and works with her partner Ruby Wilcox catering events with Party Thyme and their Thyme for Tea Shoppe, she looks forward to the holidays. That is until her husband's former wife Sally Strahorn enters her office. Sally suffers from dissociative identity disorder so is an unfit mother, a liar, and a thief depending on which personality surfaces. Sally tells China she is broke with no place to go; China knows she should say nothing, but agrees to put her up for now. Sally makes friends with China's niece, whom she and her currently out of town spouse have adopted. A man calls the shop and then China's home asking for Sally both times. China confronts Sally, who says he is Jess Myers, her former friend turned stalker. Myers is soon spotted in Pecan Springs as Sally vanishes. China learns that Sally is a person of interest in the hit and run death of her sister Leslie. Preferring to believe that Sally did not murder her sister or another woman killed in the same way, China and Ruby investigate in a case that places them in danger. A China Bayles amateur sleuth is always special as the key characters change over time. The secondary cast gives the series a sense of continuity while the inquiry feels genuine as the two partners simply ask questions while pretending innocence. Even Sally seems a bit more mature. Although, placing oneself in danger is an amateur sleuth occupational hazard that China has accomplished eighteen or so times, Holly Blue is a terrific whodunit as the case takes personal spins for the heroine. Harriet Klausner
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