Blood Orange (China Bayles)
by Susan Wittig Albert
Cover Artist: Joe Burleson
Review by Gayle Surrette
Berkley Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425280010
Date: 04 April 2017 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
[NOTE: This review first appeared in our April 2016 issue.]
As you'd expect from the China Bayles series, there are multiple plotlines, some of which converge, some that are simply moving the lives of some of the characters forward, and others that are misdirection and red herrings. In other words, another excellent mystery with characters readers have come to enjoy spending time with and hoping that they are doing well.
Life is busy for China and her business partners. She even has a renter in the carriage house, Kelly Kaufman, a nurse going through a rough patch. Kelly is separated from her husband and heading for divorce and, to top it off, just lost her job. That would be enough to make anyone nervous, but when she disappears from the cottage and the interior evidence makes it look like a kidnapping, China starts to ask some questions.
Meanwhile, Ruby's sister Romona is super excited about a new business opportunity. The business opportunity is somehow related to her newest romantic interest, the brewmaster in a local brewing company. Romona isn't above trying to pull Ruby and China into her newest pet project - herb based beers.
Just to add extra interest, China's husband is away on a surveillance job and incommunicado. However, it seems that other people in town know more about where he is and what he's doing than she does. The bits of information that she gathers from others does more to raise her concerns than it does to calm her nerves.
Through all of this, there is Kelly, who has disappeared. It seems that Kelly was worried that she knew something about a murder, a scheme to defraud, or something. A friend of Kelly's knows a bit, but not exactly what Kelly was involved and asks China for help.
All of these individual problems do eventually come together in one form or another. For some there are no clear resolution and for others compromise and acceptance. Some lives are changed and some just go on as before. For the reader, well I'll just wait for the next book and look at how the lives of these characters change and move forward and how they handle the next crisis.