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Mourning Gloria (China Bayles Mystery) Hardcover – April 5, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm a fan of the China Bayles mysteries and always enjoy visiting China's herb shop, Thyme & Seasons, in the fictional town of Pecan Springs with its cast of eclectic residents. In this book, I like how Albert develops China as a parent as her stepson Brian gets older and she adjusts to the new challenges of raising her 11-year-old niece, Caitlin, as well as the development of other characters such as that of China's friend Donna as she deals with the return of her irresponsible sister who causes trouble when she returns to the family farm. Another story line introduced is that of the engagement of police chief Sheila Dawson to Sheriff Blackie Blackwell, and their realization that one of them will need to step down from his or her position in order for a marriage to work which will make for an interesting topic in future books.
Overall I did like this book and appreciated that it did hold my interest from beginning to end and left me anticipating the next one in the series.
China does virtually all the heavy lifting in this one. She is, of course, more than capable, but I missed her husband and son. The delightful Ruby is basically delegated to Grandma duty (quite entertaining but doesn't use all her potential). It's pretty much China, on her own, solving a mystery. The author inserts chapters written in the third person, featuring the victims - in other words, stuff China couldn't have known at the time. I felt these chapters were somewhat jarring to the overall narrative. The style was almost amateurish, more suited to a pulpy detective novel than the rich, full story of Pecan Springs and all its denizens as told by China Bayles. Without giving too much away, at the end it almost feels like a spinoff might be in the works. Susan Wittig Albert writes three different series and has done some personal nonfiction as well, so it would not be out of the question for her to start a new series.
The plot itself was very well done. I guess I shouldn't complain about a story that features China so abundantly, when I love her character so much. I did give it 5 stars. However, I kind of think the story could have worked better without the intermittent 3rd party chapters.
Although China is out of the courtroom, she still can't seem to get away from crime. One evening on her way home, China notices a trailer on fire near the roadside. She hears someone calling for help from within the trailer, but is unable to get to the woman in time to save her. While China tries to put the awful memories of the victim's cries for help out of her mind, a new intern at the local paper keeps asking her questions about what she witnessed. The intern, Jessica Nelson, gets deeply involved in her own investigation of the fire for more than just professional reasons, then disappears. In spite of her initial resolve to stay out of it, China soon feels compelled to retrace Jessica's steps to determine if the young journalist`s disappearance is tied to the arson/murder and help to locate her.
As a longtime reader of this series, I enjoyed the chance to catch up with China and Ruby and the rest of their friends and family in Pecan Springs. China is an interesting main character. She's smart and creative and is a good wife, friend, and mother as well as a successful businesswoman. She and Ruby are opposites in many ways, but have a great friendship and business relationship.Read more ›
McQuaid is out of town during the whole of the book, while, as usual, China becomes involved in an investigation. Driving to her house in the country one evening, China sees a trailer on fire. She calls 911, then heads to the burning structure. She hears someone call for help just before the trailer blows up. Shaken by the incident, China is further dismayed to learn the body of an unidentifiable woman was found inside. Everyone in Pecan Springs wonders who the dead woman was, particularly a Jessica, a young reporter interning with the local newspaper and writing an article on the fire. When Jessica disappears after interviewing China for her article and outlining a plan for further research, only China seems concerned the reporter may be in real trouble. While others put Jessica's absence down to youth, car problems, or a boyfriend, China retraces Jessica's steps and finds out there is a definite cause for concern.
Ruby, China's colorful best friend appears briefly in the book, as do other regular series characters, including the newspaper editor, the sheriff, and the city police chief.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Albert always develops her characters to the point I feel I should know themPublished 1 month ago by Theresa Travelute
Mourning Gloria is the 19th book in the China Bayles mystery series by Susan Wittig Albert. I found this book interesting as it gives lots of information on the psychoactive... Read morePublished 1 month ago by StarryNight
Susan Wittig Albert is a fabulous author. The China Bayles series is one of my favorites. Her characters seem like old friends.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I just love China Bayles. From her herbal recipes to her sleuthing.She is a fine gal.Published 3 months ago by GalaLass
I liked the earlier books in the China Bayles mystery series better. I have read most of the books in this series and this one was just not that interesting. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Bohemian reader
This is not Susan Wittig Albert's finest work. I usually enjoy her books because of the interesting plots and the side stories about herbs and gardening. Read morePublished 9 months ago by F. M. Pepoon
The best start faster and last longer - better said, there is usually as tension from about page 3,until the last page. Not in this one. Read morePublished 11 months ago by JanCath