Holly Blues (China Bayles Series #18)

Holly Blues (China Bayles Series #18)

by Susan Wittig Albert

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Overview

China Bayles isn't happy when a Texas wind blows her husband's ex-wife, and the mother of China's stepson, into her herb shop. Sally is known to have a split personality and fall into constant trouble with the law, but she claims she has nowhere else to turn. Now its up to China to weed out whatever it is Sally's running from before the truth catches up to them all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425240618
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/05/2011
Series: China Bayles Series , #18
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 344,783
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

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.

Date of Birth:

1940

Place of Birth:

Danville, Illinois

Education:

Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley

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Holly Blues 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Romonko on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
But not the best in the series. I still enjoyed it. It is a book set around Christmas and I'm reading it in May so that was a little different. I think this would be a pretty good holiday mystery and I may have enjoyed it more if I read it in December. The book isn't much of a mystery but there is quite a bit going on with the arrival of McQuade's ex-wife in Pecan Springs. She has come to ask to stay at China and Mike's house in order to visit her son, but she appears to have secrets that China finds out are pretty deadly. Her arrival brings up the question of a cold case which involved the death of Sally's parents some ten years earlier. China and Ruby set out to find out what happened and to stop a killer. All my beloved characters are here and that is why I love this series so much. Even the inimitable Basset Hound - Howard Cosell plays a big role in the book. I always love another visit to Pecan Springs with China and her gang.
sue.book.addict on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿¿let¿s take time out for introductions. Some of you already know me and have visited my shop a dozen times or more. Others¿well, maybe this is your first visit, and you haven¿t a clue to who we are or what we¿re talking about. So, my name is China Bayles.¿One of the best parts of Holly Blues, or any of the China Bayles series, is the warm welcome. The reader is immediately drawn into the world of Pecan Springs, China, McQuaid, Ruby, and all of the other folks in this small Texas Hill Country town. Since there is inevitably a time span between releases, this serves to refresh the memory of the regular China Bayles reader; and, if this is the first of the series the reader has picked up¿heaven forbid!¿there is enough background given that this could be read as a stand-alone book. A very nice touch!As one might suspect from the title, this story finds China and companions ready to celebrate Christmas. Times are hard in Pecan Springs, as elsewhere in the country, and China is working extra at her herbal shop to bring in much needed revenue. Hubby McQuaid, a private investigator, is off to Omaha despite the calendar, also trying to make the most of every money-making opportunity. At this busiest of times, who should show up but the troublesome Sally, McQuaid¿s ex-wife and definitely not one of China¿s favorite people. Still, it is the holiday season and China does her best to make Sally feel welcome.As usual, Sally brings mayhem in her wake, adding murder, threatening phone calls, and tragedy to her list of companions this time. Once again, China, McQuaid, and Ruby have to pool their myriad and varied skills to solve old and new mysteries. The holidays may pass them by if these mysteries and murders aren¿t solved quicker than they can say ¿Grinch¿. It¿s tough work, but this team is up to the challenge, using McQuaid¿s connections, Ruby¿s sometimes far-out ideas, and China¿s lawyerly and problem-solving skills.With this book came for me the realization that China has grown in depth of character since the beginning of the series. She has always been a strong and competent woman, a good friend, wife, and business woman. Here, there is softening and mellowing. From a woman who was not sure how to even relate to Brian, her stepson, China has opened her arms and her heart to her orphaned niece, Caitie, reveling in her hugs and cuddles, thankful that they can provide a loving and stable home for her. China seems more rounded and multi-faceted now and the change is pleasant to see.Just as China and McQuaid have to tough out the hard economic times, they have to learn to cope with a changing landscape. Showing that she is environmentally aware far beyond Pecan Springs and her own gardens, China laments the urban sprawl taking over her part of Texas describing it as ¿¿an ugly octopus of supersized, overpriced McMansions.¿ As always, Albert¿s keen descriptions of place are detailed and right on, be it familiar Pecan Springs, or snowy Omaha. Her research comes shining through, and is another reason her books are so enjoyable to read.Instead of letting an established series turn stale, Albert has used her considerable skills and imagination to give the reader yet another thriller, with fresh ideas, up-to-date methodology, current social commentary and new depth to her characters and story line. I¿ll be waiting anxiously for the next installment!I received a copy of this book for review from the author, publisher, or publicist.
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harstan More than 1 year ago
It is Christmas time and the wonderful smells of the Yuletide season spices up Pecan Springs. Although China Bayles runs Thymes and Seasons Herbs and works with her partner Ruby Wilcox catering events with Party Thyme and their Thyme for Tea Shoppe, she looks forward to the holidays. That is until her husband's former wife Sally Strahorn enters her office. Sally suffers from dissociative identity disorder so is an unfit mother, a liar, and a thief depending on which personality surfaces. Sally tells China she is broke with no place to go; China knows she should say nothing, but agrees to put her up for now. Sally makes friends with China's niece, whom she and her currently out of town spouse have adopted. A man calls the shop and then China's home asking for Sally both times. China confronts Sally, who says he is Jess Myers, her former friend turned stalker. Myers is soon spotted in Pecan Springs as Sally vanishes. China learns that Sally is a person of interest in the hit and run death of her sister Leslie. Preferring to believe that Sally did not murder her sister or another woman killed in the same way, China and Ruby investigate in a case that places them in danger. A China Bayles amateur sleuth is always special as the key characters change over time. The secondary cast gives the series a sense of continuity while the inquiry feels genuine as the two partners simply ask questions while pretending innocence. Even Sally seems a bit more mature. Although, placing oneself in danger is an amateur sleuth occupational hazard that China has accomplished eighteen or so times, Holly Blue is a terrific whodunit as the case takes personal spins for the heroine. Harriet Klausner
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