Friday, May 14, 2010

Book 30- Holly Blues

It's Christmas time in Pecan Springs, Texas which finds China and Ruby and the gang gearing up for traditional Christmas doings, along with some dead bodies in the newest mystery Holly Blues.

China's husband McQuaid is still teaching and PI-ing when his ex-wife Sally comes to town bringing nothing but trouble, as usual. With her comes lots of lies and China and Ruby set out to find the truth. Turns out that McQuaid is working on a case and Team China/ Ruby are also at work and the information they find compliment each other, rather than causing problems (which is typical when China and amateur wannabe-a-private-detective Ruby get in on the case solving actions).

We have the usual gang of suspects: Blackie the Sheriff and Smart Cookie the Chief of Police. Brain, China's step-son, and her adopted daughter Caitlin play small roles in this novel, as do the staff of Thyme and Seasons, and other business partner Cass.

This is the 18th book in the China Bayles series and I've read them all. I try to read this objectively and figure if it could be a stand alone novel and I'm not sure. Author Susan Wittig Albert writes this novel from the first person narrative voice of China, who gives a brief "get to know me" synopsis at the beginning of the story, so I think while anyone could pick the book up and enjoy the quick paced mystery, I think a reader who hasn't followed the majority of the story lines will be missing out on some good stuff.

I've enjoyed the China series for years and I always look forward to a new one. While I don't think Albert's writing style is always up par of her past novels, I do like the books. One thing that always makes me laugh is the references Albert makes to other mystery characters like author Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone; to me, this is cute and funny, but probably because I read that series too, so I get the 'inside joke'. I also love that the characters keep growing and evolving. I love the bits and pieces about herbs at the beginning of every chapter; that probably my favorite part of every novel. Ruby is usually my favorite character- with her wacky ways and new age-ness. I also want to point out that Albert has a fabulous web site, Abouthyme. The addition to yummy recipes at the end of the books since the characters have opened a tea room business is also a delightful feature of this series.

This is a wonderful series and if you're a person looking for a fun, new set of books to read and enjoy "mystery lite", then try China Bayles.


Lynnylu said...

I would like this book! I love Sue Grafton and I like books with the characters evolving, too. Have you read any Peter Robinson? If you haven't and decide to-start with his first book-the characters have come a long way since then.

Rettabug said...

"traditional Christmas doings, along with some dead bodies " How intriguing! LOL

Thanks for stopping by the Gazebo House. I hope you DO get to visit Venice, Italy someday. It is so full of art & history & interesting restaurants. We were on a Perillo Tour & the guide was extremely informative. I highly recommend them.