Holly Blues (Thorndike Mystery) Hardcover – Large Print, 7 Jul 2010
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About the Author
Susan Wittig Albert grew up on a farm in Illinois and earned her Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley. A former professor of English and a university administrator and vice president, she is the author of the China Bayles Mysteries, the Darling Dahlias Mysteries, and the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. Some of her recent titles include" Widow s Tears," " Cat s Claw," " The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose," and "The Tale of Castle Cottage." She and her husband, Bill, coauthor a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries under the name Robin Paige, which includes such titles as "Death at Glamis Castle "and "Death at Whitechapel."" --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I thought that Wormwood was a disappointment, but every author is entitled to a miss instead of a hit once in a while. It's not that the mystery in Holly Blues is so lame, or that I object to the different points of view in the novel. I do object to sloppiness. Where did Sally really park her car? In the First Congregational Church parking lot? In the Methodist Church parking lot? Both are mentioned as the location of the missing car, and on the same page, no less. Then there was McQuaid's revelation that when he met China Bayles and she said she was about to give up the law to open an herb shop in Pecan Springs, he immediately decided he would move there. Why then did the previous books usually mention China butting heads with McQuaid when she was a Houston criminal lawyer and he a Houston homicide officer?
The burning question in my mind is, who really wrote this book? It is not up to Susan Albert's standards. Or is the author spreading herself too thin with China, the now-defunct Robin Paige series, the Beatrix Potter series, and the new Darling Dahlias? Is this why China now has an herb shop, a tea room, a catering service, gourmet meal service, and a hard and fast rule that her family all sit down to a home cooked dinner together every evening? (What evening would you be available, China?)
Her characters are down-to-earth people with all the emotions we all face, with distinct personalities. You are drawn into Pecan Springs and become a member of the community, part of China's family. I would feel very comfortable sitting down at the table with China, McQuaid, Brian and the dog Howard Cosell at my feet, slipping him little bites of dinner when no one was looking.
I love that China is a strong woman who is tough, opinionated, loving and intelligent. She has grown as a person over the years and has developed opinions on politics, the world in general and her family. Just like all of us, she deals with other people and, as a result, we have opinions on things based on the knowledge we have at the time. Oh, to be as intelligent as China! She has taught me many things.
I was talking to a friend the other day and we got into a conversation about herbs and I was able to talk knowledgeably and give her really good advice. Aha! While I was enjoying a fabulous read, I learned a good bit about herbalism!
I highly recommend any and every Susan Wittig Albert book. Books are my thing, always have been. I have over 8000 books in my house and I need many, many more. But the China Bayles mysteries are at the top of my favs list! Love, love, love them!
Susan Albert will have to work a lot harder next time if she wants to produce a mystery up to her earlier standards.