Mourning Gloria

Susan Wittig Albert, Berkley Prime Crime, $25.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-425-23913-1
In Albert's formulaic if still enjoyable 19th China Bayles mystery (after 2010's Holly Blues), the Pecan Springs, Tex., herbalist discovers a trailer on fire on a country road, but she's unable to rescue the unknown woman trapped inside before it explodes. Jessica Nelson, an ambitious intern at the local newspaper, the Pecan Springs Enterprise, has both professional and personal reasons for aggressively chasing an obvious arson homicide story. When Jessica disappears, a puzzled China retraces Jessica's steps, but is wise enough to keep police chief Sheila Dawson and Sheriff Blackie Blackwell in the loop. China's 11-year-old niece, Caitlin, and flamboyant friend Ruby Wilcox lend a hand. A serviceable plot keeps readers guessing about both victim and killer, while Albert provides a strong helping of botanical lore—this time on psychoactive plants and their use—and a handful of intriguing recipes. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2011
Release date: 04/01/2011
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-46793-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 287 pages - 978-0-425-24701-3
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-47627-7
Hardcover - 441 pages - 978-1-4104-3617-7
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4640-3469-5
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4618-0401-7
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