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by Susan Wittig Albert
Berkley Prime Crime, October 2000
296 pages
ISBN: 0425176738

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Every visit with China Bayles thus far in Pecan Springs, Texas has been an adventure and a wonderful read. This was no exception.

Approaching the holiday season, China faces two main catastrophes. Both of them involve people: Carl Swenson and Ruby Wilcox. First, let me tell you about the setting of this story - if you haven't had the pleasure of reading the eight other "China Bayles" books.

China Bayles owns a shop, Thyme and Seasons, and is an expert in herbs. Her best friend, Ruby, has a crystal shop and together, they have ventured into a three month old tearoom named Thyme for Tea. Recently, Mike McQuaid and China have married and she has inherited a thirteen year old son, Brian.

Mistletoe is the best selling herb at this time of year and China has not received this from her supplier, Carl Swenson. There is a land dispute between Carl and his neighbors, Donna and Terry Fletcher. The Fletcher sisters have an eccentric aunt that live with them; she claims that Carl has been sabotaging and causing problems. But, then she also claims that she previously went for a ride on a space ship. Carl ceases to be a problem because he is found as a "hit and run" victim. He is very dead!

China is worried about her friend, Ruby because she seems to be so preoccupied and not herself. She is aloof and acting strangely. Some of the conjectures of her behavior from the people that care are a new love affair, her health, her ex-husband or being hurt with changes in life. There is a reason for her behavior.

You will remember these characters - they are written in a way that you would recognize them if you saw them on the street. Your visit to this book will not only bring you a good cozy mystery, memorable characters but scenery to see, food to taste and the scents of the holiday season.

Susan Wittig Albert is an expert at storytelling. Enjoy this book and learn more about mistletoe in the reading!

Reviewed by Rita Ratacheck, August 2001

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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