This is the twenty second China Bayles novel! In all honesty, I will confess I have only read a smattering of the books in the series, but am familiar enough with China, Ruby, and McQuaid to feel like they are old friends.
I love the setting in the Hill Country of Texas because I have a slight familiarity with the area, so I can relate to the vernacular and ways of the people who live there. I also love the recipes and the information about herbs and their many uses.
However, after having written over twenty books featuring this same group of people, sooner or later one of the installments was bound to feel subpar, which was disappointing because the set up was right up my alley.
China and Ruby's friend, Karen Prior, is viciously attacked and dies from the injuries she sustained. It just so happens that Karen was working with a group of college students on a documentary chronicling an old murder case. The case was explosive at the time and many felt the prime suspect was not the killer. Now, it seems this documentary has made someone mighty nervous. So, China is determined to see if the old cold case and the proposed documentary had anything to do with her friend's murder.
This one was a bit of a departure from what I have come to expect from this series and I don't blame the author for trying something new, plus, keeping a long running series fresh has got to be a challenge. However, I did miss some of the trademark elements that has made this series standout from others.
Herbs were not really that much a part of the story, and much of the fun with cozies is catching up with familiar characters who feel like old friends or even family, but this time China went solo for the most part, although we do meet up with a character who has appeared in other installments. But, the whole story felt like it had gone “off script”.
However, by the end of the book, I did have to grudgingly admit, the story wasn't half bad after all. I love solving cold case crimes and also have an interest in art related crimes, so although this one is not my favorite from this series, and it took me a long time to finally get fully invested in it, it was still an enjoyable enough read. I do hope the next installment is back on its usual path and we see China back on the home front. I do recommend this one to longtime fans, but if you aren't familiar with the series, you may not want to start with this one.
Herbalist and ex-lawyer China Bayles is back in New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert's Death Come Quickly. This time a friend’s murder may be the key to solving a nearly fifteen-year-old cold case…
When China and Ruby’s friend Karen Prior is mugged in a mall parking lot and dies a few days later, China begins to suspect that her friend’s death was not a random assault. Karen was a filmmaker supervising a student documentary about the almost fifteen-year-old murder of a woman named Christine Morris and the acquittal of the man accused of the crime. Is it possible that the same person who killed Christine Morris targeted Karen?
Delving into the cold case, China learns the motive for the first murder may be related to a valuable collection of Mexican art. Enlisting the help of her San Antonio lawyer friend Justine Wyzinski—aka the Whiz—China is determined to track down the murderer. But is she painting herself into a corner from which there’s no escape?