cover image Death Come Quickly

Death Come Quickly

Susan Wittig Albert. Berkley Prime Crime, $25.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-425-25563-6

The fatal mugging of Karen Prior in a west Texas mall kicks off Albert’s perky 22nd mystery featuring herbalist and former lawyer China Bayles (after 2013’s Widow’s Tears). Before she died, Karen, a teacher friend of China’s, was supervising a student documentary on the murder of local art lover Christine Morris some 15 years earlier. The man charged with Morris’s murder and later acquitted was an apparent suicide. How the deaths fit together and their relationship to the Mexican art market is murky indeed. The book’s first half meanders along, nice for readers interested in the minutiae of China’s life, a tad boring for everyone else. But the pace picks up when China gets serious about the investigation. China gets help from her best friend and business partner, Ruby Wilcox, whose thinking is strictly intuitive, and her investigator husband, Mike McQuaid, who, like law enforcement husbands everywhere, tries to keep her from getting involved. Albert skillfully weaves legal and herbal information into the plot. (Apr.)