#7 of the China Bayles mysteries. Excellent as usual. The author manages to once again create a decent plot, characters who have emotional depth and a few unexpected twists and turns. Albert is one of the most consistent writers, quality wise, that I've read. This 7th book is as fresh and interesting as the first.
China Bayles is looking forward to the annual chili cook-off in Pecan Springs. And when the event arrives, she takes along her fiance', giving both of them a break away from her meddling mother. The womanizing cook-off judge dies of a peanut allergy, suspiciously from peanuts in the Texas Chili.
I really liked this installment of this series. It helped to continue the personal relationship between China and McQuaid. The way they found the killer and the twists and turns along the way made me wonder if I had guessed right.
The descriptions of all the different chilies seemed to be a bit muchI dont see how knowing all about the different chilies helped the story any.
Did the description of the barn that was falling apart really have to take up three pages? I would think that the author could have made it very clear that the barn was falling apart without having to take up so many pages.
Another good book in the China Bayles series. Her characters are believable, there is a rich plot line , and good descriptions of the Texas Hill country! Each book has an underlying ( or not so underlying ) herb theme which makes them a gardeners delight and general good read. Dianne
Review from Amazon:
Chile is the pepper; chili (or sometimes chilli) is the spicy stew made with it. That's the first of many lessons about food, love, and death in Susan Wittig Albert's latest mystery about China Bayles, the Texas Hill Country lawyer turned herbalist and crime solver. Although Albert lives in the Texas Hill Country herself, she swears that China's hometown, Pecan Springs (which must have a higher per capita death rate than anyplace outside of Jessica Fletcher's Maine village), is fictional. So we have to believe that nobody really killed one of the judges of the annual Cedar Choppers Chili Cook-off by adding peanuts to his tasting sample and causing a deadly allergic reaction.
But China and her lover, ex-cop Mike McQuaid, believe it--especially after the dead chili judge, Jerry Jeff Cody, turns out to have a swampful of dirty secrets. So Albert begins a clever dance, keeping Bayles and the bedridden McQuaid (shot while working for the Texas Rangers) in just enough danger to maintain an atmosphere of suspense while also slipping in enough chile lore to outfit a chain of Taco Bells. The format may be familiar, but Albert is one of the best in the business at making it look newly hatched.
Number 7 in the series:
Amateur sleuth China Bayles finds herself in over her head as she struggles to cope with a crisis in her personal life, the annual chili cookoff, a womanizing judge, and mayhem.
Amateur sleuth China Bayles is a former lawyer who now runs an herb shop and keeps getting involved in solving local murders. In this one, a chili cookoff judge dies from an allergic reaction, and China knows something suspicious is afoot.