So I spend lots of February and March immersed in the British Victorian and Edwardian era mysteries of Robin Paige, the writing team of Susan Wittig Albert and her husband Bill Albert. Having finished those, and still being in that mystery frame of mind, I wandered off to the library website to find other series Susan had written by herself.
I’ve read the first one of the Beatrix Potter mysteries, The Tale of Hill Top Farm (which Beatrix bought and lived in), complete with many of her animals. Fun, wise about rural and small town folk, great descriptions of the landscape.
Now I’ve read the first of her series about China Bayles, a crackerjack Houston lawyer turned small town herb shop owner. Susan is definitely great at defining memorable characters, even when she populates her books with lots of them. Hard to mix them up, they are so clear. And in the China books, she’s got today’s small Texas hill town well defined and interesting. There’s a little doubt in my mind as concerns the gore-iness of the stories. Since these are books set today, she seems to me to be a fair amount bloodier than necessary to weave a good tale. I’m on the second one now, set at Halloween, when Pecan Springs seems to be working itself up into an orgy over witches.
We shall see. But I can forgive a good writer a lot. And she is definitely that.