cover image Death of a Healing Woman

Death of a Healing Woman

Allana Martin, Author St. Martin's Press $20.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-14581-1

The borderland between Texas and Mexico along the Rio Grande comes alive in this absorbing debut featuring Texana Jones, the owner of a trading post, and her veterinarian husband, Clay. Jones doesn't believe that her best friend, Maria Ortega-Deed, and her husband were killed by drug smugglers. So, when reclusive Rhea Fair, a curandera or healing woman, is found murdered in a similar manner, Jones is determined to get to the bottom of it. Fair, once owner of a large ranch, became a healer and herbalist after her sons were arrested for drug smuggling and fled across the border to Mexico while out on bail. Just before Ortega-Deed died, Fair had gone to her for some kind of legal advice. Fair, afraid of a client with the evil eye, had also seen a clairvoyant and had sent off a long letter only days before she was murdered. Jones tracks down the identity of Fair's last client, a journalist, now also missing, who was writing a book about the curandera.Getting help in her investigation from both sides of the border, Jones must also deal with her husband's campaign to stem a rabies epidemic, and with multimillionaire rancher Robert Darke's plans for a lavish fiesta and the archeological project he is financing on his property. Martin populates Jones's tiny hometown of El Polvo with hardworking, goodhearted eccentrics and farmers, all richly portrayed in a series sure to be a winner. (Oct.)