Berkley, June 2003, 14.00, 272 pp.
Fans of the China Bayles mysteries, staring a former lawyer turned herbalist and restaurant owner, have a special treat in store for them this time around. Author Susan Wittig Albert has written a ten-story collection starring the protagonist doing what she does best: solve crimes. Readers are also introduced to her best friend and business partner Ruby Wilcox, who often plays the part of the sidekick and China's beloved husband, former homicide detective Mike McQuaid, who still can't resist taking part in a criminal invitation.
In addition to the stories, each one exciting and fast-paced, the reader is introduced to herbal lore and some mouth-watering meals using herbs found in China's very own garden. The short story format is just as potent as the novel length tales that fans expect from Ms. Albert. For fans this is a treat but for newcomers this is a delightful introduction to one of the more endearing mystery genre characters.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner