The latest title in Albert's China Bayles series is a unique mystery, much like its down-to-earth protagonist.

A retired defense attorney turned Texas herbalist—and resident busybody—China has enough to do without a mystery to solve. But when her son discovers a skeleton in a far-off cave during an archeology dig, her curiosity is piqued. And when she learns the dead man was murdered, she can't resist trying to discover his identity.

Before long, someone is shot and killed for allegedly robbing the home of the richest family in town. To everyone's surprise, a third death occurs and China suspects foul play. If a relationship can be established between the skeleton and the two recent deaths, China may be able to identify a killer who has gotten away with murder for more than 30 years.

This is an interesting read filled with recipes and colorful characters. The secondary characters spring to life on the page and add depth to an already great story. (May, 328 pp., $23.95)
Reviewed by: 
Jenifer Hunt