Finished another China Bayles mystery. Booklogged mentioned these the other day, and I had not read one in a while, but remembered that I enjoyed them. This one particularly interested me because it deals not only with the herbs that China Bayles grows and sells in her shop, but also with a textile artist and the art of natural dyes.
I love herbs and grow many in my garden. I have to confess that my love of them is, in part, because of their hardy and carefree nature. They require little care (except in containing their tendencies to spread) and most require little water. Added benefits are many. When my dog noses through the rosemary and the basil in the summer, he stirs up the delightful scents, to say nothing of the improvement on his own doggy aroma.
Each chapter in the China Bayles novels begins with excerpts from other sources that connect with the mystery in some way and increase your herbal knowlege. Albert always includes a page or two of bibliographic resources at the end of her novels, and the ones on natural dyeing and indigo dyeing are especially interesting to me.
The mysteries are light and quick reading. I like the herbal information, and in this novel, the information on natural dyeing. I also like the Texas expressions she includes and wish I'd flagged the pages with my little sticky notes so I could include one or two. Albert is also interested in the environment and this novel includes some of the very real destructive effects involved in strip mining and processing.
Her novels are pretty formulaic, if you read more than one, you quickly notice these tendencies, but I still like them and have begun another one.