by Sandra Murphy
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Blood Orange and a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore, and a link to purchase it on Amazon as well.
China Bayles is owner of Thyme and Seasons, an all-things-herbal shop in Pecan Springs, Texas. She shares the space with her best friend Ruby, owner of the Crystal Cave, the town’s only New Age shop. They also have a tea room, cater, teach classes and workshops, run a food delivery service, and they rent out the small cottage on the property.
Currently, it’s rented to Kelly. She’s a hospice nurse in the middle of a divorce and in need of a neutral-ground place to stay for a week or so. When she misses an appointment with her lawyer, China goes to check on her. The door is ajar, her purse, car keys, cash, and clothing are all there. The only missing things are her laptop and Kelly herself.
China’s concerned enough to call the police who don’t take it very seriously since there’s no sign of a break in or a struggle. Kelly does call China later and asks to meet but never shows for their appointment either. The next day, China finds out Kelly was in a car accident on her way to China’s house.
To complicate matters further, Ruby’s sister, Ramona, has invested in a local craft brewery. She’s also invested in the owner who just happens to be Kelly’s husband. He says Kelly’s being difficult about the divorce and ownership of the property. He can’t understand why Kelly won’t just walk away so he and Ramona can live happily ever after. Ramona wants what she wants and expects it to happen immediately.
Kelly’s crash proves to be no accident. Her van was rear-ended on a dangerous stretch of road. She’s on life support and things don’t look good for her prognosis. On the phone with China, Kelly said she knew about a murder, thought she knew who did it, and the proof was on her computer. She wouldn’t talk about it on the phone. China’s got to wonder, but not say anything to Ruby, did Ramona have anything to do with the accident?
As China delves into Kelly’s mystery, she finds out more and more about hospice care and has an idea of what Kelly was up to—and it’s all pretty ugly.
This is the twenty-fourth book in the China Bayles series. The title comes from the fact that Ramona wants to add more varieties of beer to the menu, including one made with blood oranges. China has to examine her own life as much as figure out the mystery. Have she and McQuaid become too complacent in their marriage? Ruby figures out that no matter how much she worries about Ramona, there’s little she can do to rein in her sister’s overenthusiastic attitude.
Readers get to see more of China’s adopted daughter, too, and a whole new side to Sheila, the police chief. As always, a satisfying read, a chance to catch up with old friends, learn about herbs and brewing beer, and how murder can sneak into any situation. Each book is a visit to Pecan Springs that readers don’t want to end.
Recipes include orange-rosemary muffins; blood orange granita; orange-rosemary liqueur; blood orange, avocado, grape and spinach salad with orange vinaigrette; spicy henbit; no-cook overnight orange-mint oatmeal; tortellini with lemon basil butter sauce; coffee-pecan liqueur; blood orange liqueur; strawberry shrub (non-alcoholic drink); homemade ginger ale; and stress buster orange banana slush lunch.
To enter to win a copy of Blood Orange, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “orange,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 9, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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You can use this link to order this book & a portion goes to help support KRL & Mysterious Galaxy: