Anyone who knows anything about Texas knows how important Friday night football is to each community. Add a young, highly popular, winning coach to the mix and you had better tread lightly before you say anything negative.
That is the position China Bayles finds herself in when the principal of the Pecan Springs High School comes to her with rumors of sexual misconduct by the beloved and revered coach.
As China quietly begins to investigate the rumors, she soon finds herself in a much deeper situation than she could have imagined, up to and including accusations of murder and cover-up. As disgusting and heartbreaking as this case is, China is shocked when it hits closer to home than she would ever had expected.
While all that was going on, China and her friends were looking for a missing quilt taken from the Pecan Springs Scrappers hanging quilt show that was being held at the Springs Hotel. Judging had not yet taken place, but the quilt everyone believed would win suddenly disappeared.
If that werenít enough, Chinaís newly found brother wants her to look over some letters that her father had written to his mother. He believes that their fatherís death, he drove through a guardrail and drowned in the river below, was not an accident.
Susan Wittig Albert continues to grow as an author with every book she writes in this series. Not only does she choose sensitive subjects, but she writes with much more depth than in her earlier books. She continues to write about herbs and the goings-on at Thyme and Seasons Herb Shop while deftly mixing in other storylines.
In fact, their Party Thyme catering and spin-off The Thymely Gourmet both play a part in the plot of Bleeding Hearts. Some of the books end with the finish of a storyline, but also with the knowledge that other threads are will continue to the next.
In Bleeding Hearts, the storyline concerning China and Buddy's father continues over a three-book arc. Albert is adept at intertwining story lines, moving new and recurring characters in and out so that readers can keep up with the present storyline while also catching up with old friends.
This particular book will long be remembered for the sensitive topic and how well the author was able to make her point regarding a subject too many people want to dismiss. This is a must read whether you are a China Bayles fan or not.
I purchased Bleeding Hearts (China Bayles Mystery) from Amazon.com to go along with my collection of all of the books in this series, and have reviewed many of them on various sites including BellaOnline.