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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Smart Cookie Takes the Lead, but China is Still Around

Cat's ClawCat's Claw by Susan Wittig Albert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was interesting to look back on my last China Bayle's mystery review and see that I'd read #19 Mourning Gloria in April of 2012 and at that time said I'd taken a break from the series because they were beginning to feel like reruns. That book was written in 2012 and I must have bought Cat's Claw paperback when it came out and then proceeded to misplace it. So about a week or so ago, looking on Amazon for something new to read, I ordered another copy ( I've since found the first on my nightstand, where I was putting this one each night before turning in.). I'm glad I waited three years to resume the series because not only is it nice to see China and her family, including recently adopted daughter, Caitie, but also to reconnect with Ruby. It is refreshing, too, to see that Susan Albert apparently recognizes that the stories needed a bit of a tweak. This episode focuses on Smart Cookie, Sheila Dawson, the new Chief of Police in Pecan Springs, having kept the job after winning a coin toss with her new husband, Blackie. They decided that they couldn't both work in law enforcement after marriage and could not figure out which of them should resign when both loved their work so much. After the coin toss Blackie joined China's husband in forming a PI company and in this installment the two men are on their way into Mexico to find a young Austin child kidnapped by his non-custodial parent.

Not only do I enjoy the stories Albert tells but being familiar with the area of Texas she writes about I enjoy the information she shares such as the dangers around Piedras Negras/Juarez that have developed in the few years since I've crossed the border there with no thought of danger. Sad developments. Also until I read this I had never heard of the dead peasant insurance policies that large corporations take out on their employees. Interesting use of the system.

All in all, with the new tweaks focusing on some of the other characters in Pecan Springs, the new crimes being investigated and the breaking news of changes in the Hill Country, I am happily back on board and have a new copy of Widow's Tears ready to go.

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