Title: Widow's Tears: China Bayles #21 by Susan Wittig Albert
Paperback published April 1, 2014; Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: mystery, paranormal
Objective rating: 4.5/5
There are several things I liked about the new novel in the China Bayles mystery series:
1. The description of various plants and flowers at the beginning of most chapters, and their meaning in flower lore. Blue iris means "I have a message for you" while a violet represents love and faithfulness. Widow's tears are also called dayflowers, are invasive; and represent grief. I have both iris and widow's tears in the back yard. Should I keep the widow's tears?
2. Learning about one of the most destructive hurricanes in U.S. history, if not the most destructive. On September 8, 1900, the Great Galveston Hurricane hit Galveston Island, Texas, killed eight to twelve thousand people, and changed the city and the island with its storm surges and winds.
3. The unique plot of this novel is linked to the hurricane - the story of Rachel Blackwood who lost her family and her beloved house in Galveston in 1900. She rebuilt the house in another location. In the present day, China Bayles and her psychic friend Ruth are left to tussle with a ghost that haunts this house. Ruth's friend Claire inherited the house, wants to turn it into a B and B, but first asks Ruth to deal with the strange noises and a ghostly apparition that wanders in and around it.
I was intrigued by the story although I had to let my guard down a bit for the paranormal aspects of the novel. Paranormal is not my usual genre, though I did enjoy this one. The ghost in the old house is very much present and a part of the plot action in Widow's Tears. The mystery portion of the plot - bank robberies and a murder - takes a back seat in this novel, but I didn't mind at all. An enjoyable and tantalizing book on many levels.
Thanks to Berkley Prime Crime for a review copy for their book tour of Widow's Tears.