cover image Widow's Tears

Widow's Tears

Susan Wittig Albert. Berkley Prime Crime, $25.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-425-25572-8

The bond between China Bayles and her boon friend and business partner, Ruby Wilcox, suffers in Albert%E2%80%99s enjoyable 21st cozy featuring the Pecan Springs, Tex., ex-lawyer and herbalist (after 2012%E2%80%99s Cat%E2%80%99s Claw). Unfolding along with the present-day story is the tragic tale of the horrific Galveston hurricane of 1900 and its impact on Rachel Blackwood; her husband, a bank vice-president; and their five children. Ruby answers a plea for help from old friend Claire Conway, who has inherited the Blackwood family mansion in the tiny town of Round Top. Unnatural occurrences, including ghost sightings, are frustrating Claire%E2%80%99s plans to turn the old place into a B&B. While Claire and Ruby wrestle with spirits, China must deal with Ruby%E2%80%99s pushy sister, Ramona, who%E2%80%99s offering to buy Ruby out completely, a prospect that sends China running to Round Top. As for plant lore, this installment focuses on florigraphy%E2%80%94the language of flowers. (Apr.)