Death Come Quickly

August 10, 2015 - Death Come Quickly (Susan Wittig Albert). Herb shop owner China Bayles relies on her roots as a lawyer to solve not one, not two, but three murders as the sins of the present help uncover the sins of the past.

The story begins as Karen Prior, a professor at the local university in Pecan Springs, Texas, is assaulted in a mall parking lot and eventually dies. The crime seems to be connected to a student documentary that she was supervising. Her students were recounting the unsolved murder of Christine Morris some 15 years ago. Morris had an extensive collection of Mexican art. Her home has since been turned into a museum and foundation run by her sister.

Morris' former neighbor was arrested for her murder. But, sloppy police work and the suggestion of an alternate suspect led the jury to acquit. Fifteen years later, while Sheila Dawson, the town's police chief, is off duty to deal with a difficult pregnancy, China digs into the Morris case again in the hopes that it will reveal a motive for Karen Prior's murder. China turns to her friends in the legal community for insight and access. And, the psychic sensibilities of her best friend, Ruby, also provide a key clue.

In my opinion, this is not one of Albert's better efforts. While her folksy narrative remains present, my overall impression of the book is too much talk, not enough action, and an ending that still manages to feel rushed. I hope this book is just a deviation from Albert's normally very solid work. After 21 strong entries in the series, this is the first one to even slightly resemble a dud. I'll give Albert the benefit of the doubt and come back for book 23.