Monday, July 21, 2008

A Surprise From Pecan Springs

It was a double treat. Susan Wittig Albert's latest book in the China Bayle's series is called Nightshade. As usual I enjoyed this mystery but there was a twist in this book in the series.

Usually China is the sleuth of the book and she gets help from her friend Ruby. And for the most part the story comes from China's point of view. A different point of view was added to this story - that of McQuaid.

In a previous book China learned she has a half brother and her half brother wants help investigating their father's death. China is having a hard time with this and does not want to be involved in the investigation. Since McQuaid is a private investigator, China's half-brother hired him to help in the previous book.

In this book, McQuaid is trying to get China involved in her half-brother's life and specifically this investigation by telling her what is going on. China reluctantly listens to McQuaid about the investigation and gives him some information about her father - but only half-hearted. But when her brother ends up dead from a hit and run, China goes through a flood of emotions and becomes a more active participant in the investigation.

Some of the chapters are from McQuaid's line of investigation. He speaks to an old partner from the department to get information on the original investigation. He also follows up on a link to the automobile China's father was killed in. It is through his investigation that he learns in fact that China's father was murdered. Other chapters are from China's line of investigation - and following up on the little family left behind by her half-brother. China becomes convinced her brother was not merely killed by an accidental hit and run but was intentionally killed.

Both McQuaid and China come to the same conclusion about the murders of her father and brother. Each comes up with pieces when put together point them in the direction of the killer. The motive for the murders was to conceal a scandal that took place involving some partners of china's father. McQuaid and China (with help from a local cop) set out to confront the killer - China is the bait. Fortunately the end result turns out ok.

As with the other books in the series, there were a lot of other things going on besides this central mystery. So it was more than a story of this one case. This is another one of the ways the author makes the books in this series interesting.

Of course, the location in Texas and the tie to events that occurred in Texas and the political connections made interesting as well. I look forward to more surprises from Pecan Springs.


JenningsJunk said...

I agree! This was another treat full of twists in the China Bayles series. Well done review - thank you!

Meadowview Thymes said...

Wonderful review! I agree with you, I always look forward to returning to Pecan Springs!