This is book 1 of the very well established, 21 books, China Bayles series. It has often been recommended to me based on other books that I enjoy.
Very quick read, pacing of the mystery is not a problem. I loved the theme, the idea of an Herbal Remedies shop owner as the sleuth. I just kept getting pulled out of the story by the “feminist manifesto” type comments and asides. I didn’t like many of the characters and the attitude towards mothers/motherhood was so negative; it was big turn off for me. The male characters were stereotypes and you feel the animosity towards them and men in general. China’s boyfriend, a college professor, is considered good for a “booty call” and not much else, because “horror of horrors”, he has a child he is taking responsibility for. Despite the pro-feminist slant of the book, the irony is that the “feminist model” characters don’t seem particularly happy or content, with the possible exception of Ruby who just seems ….out in left field, following her “Path” (with a capitol P, no less).
I really didn’t like the fact that China colluded with her friends to destroy evidence, just to suit their own purposes.
This book didn’t work for me and I won’t be reading more in the series.