Former attorney China Bayles, now the proprietor of a small herb shop in Pecan Springs, Tex., finally gets some answers to her questions about the death of her cold, distant father, who perished in a fiery car accident 16 years earlier, in the satisfying conclusion to a trilogy that began with Bleeding Hearts and Spanish Dagger, the preceding two books within Albert's long-running cozy series. When China's half-brother, Miles, hires China's husband, Mike McQuaid, a former homicide officer struggling to establish himself as a PI, to investigate the fatal crash, China isn't sure this is a good idea. Her reservations prove well founded after the secretive Miles turns out to have his own agenda. Fans will be pleased that by supplementing China's usual first-person narration with McQuaid's third-person perspective, Albert casts fresh light on his character and his relationship with China. Snippets of plant lore, mostly to do with the nightshade family, add spice. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
A fresh fatality forces China Bayles, herbalist, ex-lawyer and amateur sleuth, to confront the mystery of her emotionally distant father's death. China has never enjoyed an easy relationship with her recently revealed illegitimate half brother Miles, who hired China's husband McQuaid to investigate their father's death in a fiery car crash. When Miles himself is killed in a hit-and-run incident, China is named executor of his estate. She discovers that Miles, who has been keeping secrets from McQuaid, already knew a great deal more than he revealed about their father's death and several other suspicious deaths, all related to their father's legal work for a politically connected, none-too-ethical engineering firm that's grown prosperous on lucrative government contracts for half a century. For years Miles's mother Laura had kept his father's wrecked car hidden away in her cousin Ellie's Texas Hill Country barn. Once McQuaid sees the wreck, he quickly realizes that the fatal crash was no accident. When the barn is torched and Ellie is shot, China and McQuaid team up to reveal the killer. The conclusion to the trilogy exploring China's relationship with her father (Spanish Dagger, 2007, etc.) does a fine job of bringing together all the bits and pieces, even for those who have not read the first two installments.