On the way home after a busy weekend manning her booth at the Pecan Springs Farmer’s Market, herbalist China Bayles comes across a burning house trailer not far from where she lives. She stops, calls 911, and then goes up the small incline to see what she can do to help. She hears a woman’s voice crying out for help, but is unable to reach her before the trailer explodes. After the sheriff and firefighters arrive, they quickly realize the fire was arson, although they are unable to identify the body.
At a local food grower’s meeting, China meets Jessica Nelson, a new reporter from the local newspaper. She appears to be particularly interested in the fire for personal reasons that come out later. While aggressively gathering news for her article, Jessica disappears. China begins to actively search for the young intern while keeping police Chief Sheila Dawson and county sheriff Blackie Blackwell informed of her movements.
With her husband Mike and son Brian out of town, China and Caitlin hold down the fort. Other story lines in this book deal with China’s friend Donna who’s sister disappears after a stint in prison for growing marijuana on their farm, and the recent engagement of the police chief and county sheriff, both good friends of China and Mike’s.
As always, there is a plethora of information regarding herbs although in this particular book, China does not spend as much time in her Thyme and Seasons shop as usual. She is busy attempting to solve the murder, finding out what happened to Jessica and Terry, and keeping her family life running smoothly.
Mourning Gloria is the nineteenth novel in the Pecan Springs Herbal Mystery series written by Susan Wittig Albert. The author continues her successful formula by provide plenty of information about herbs throughout the book.
She also created an interesting murder mystery involving someone readers are not familiar with, while including updates on what is happening in the lives of people longtime readers have become familiar with.
One change in this particular novel is that she includes chapters written in a third person voice that that provides readers with information that China herself does not know. It’s an interesting change that keeps the storyline moving forward and increases tension.
Mourning Gloria relies heavily on China’s activities with other main characters either out of town or relegated to the background. The author keeps the series fresh by introducing new characters, occasionally focusing on a recurring character, and reminding readers of those we haven’t heard from in a while.
I purchased this particular book through the Kindle store for my own use and to write a review. If you are interested in any of the China Bayles series, they are all available on Amazon.com.