Small town murder with added herbs

I have very much enjoyed reading the Victorian murder series by Robin Paige which I review here. They are written by a husband and wife team and when I realised that Susan Wittig Albert, one of the couple, had written other books on her own I decided to try one. I started with Thyme of Death which is the start of a long-running series featuring China Bayles who is an ex-lawyer who has settled in a small town to grow and sell herbs (hence the punning title). Although the Victorian mysteries are set in England the authors are American and this series is set in the USA.

This is a cosy mystery so the small town is full of unusual characters and lots of people who own their own businesses but actually seem to spend a very small amount of time working. All the characters are in some way artists or artisans and the writer obviously respects people who are creative. In this small community there is a death which China is sure is murder. She takes it upon herself to investigate and, of course, there are lots of suspects and plenty of red herrings. The solution to the mystery lies in the past so China has to delve deep into the lives of her friends.

At the start of this book we are introduced to a lot of characters and given the details of their backgrounds. There were so many of these that I assumed that this book was later on in a series and the author was just reminding us about things we should already know but, on checking, I discovered that this was not the case and that therefore I was expected to remember quite a few people, their occupations and how they are related to each other. This may not be a problem for other readers but I have found a few books lately which I have read have had more characters than I can easily cope with – I am possibly growing old.

There is nothing particularly original about this book and sadly it is pretty forgettable. There is nothing wrong with the book but it didn’t engage me or persuade me to read others in the series – there are a lot of this type of cosy mystery on the market.

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