Thursday, February 14, 2013

Witches' Bane

Author: Susan Wittig Albert
Genre: Mystery

3 Stars

In this second China Bayles mystery, someone is murdered on Halloween, and the police think China's friend Ruby is involved.  Then, when a minister accuses Ruby of witchcraft, China gets involved.

Things are happening in Pecan Springs, the small Texas town where China lives.  People are finding dead animals in their yards with piles of coins near them.  China's friend Ruby has started teaching Tarot classes, and a preacher accuses her of witchcraft.  After spending the evening with someone, that person is discovered dead the next morning, and the preacher accuses Ruby of having something to do with it. 
Three stars for the mystery, only one for China herself.
Again, it is very hard to say anything about the book without giving too much away.  China is undoubtedly one of the most selfish and mean-spirited women I have ever come across in literature.  I do not say that lightly, and I put a great deal of thought into it before I wrote it.  Selfish because she is only considering her own needs in the book, not those of others; and mean-spirited because she is just plain mean to her own mother.  The author tried to explain why China was this way, but still, I can't see that if someone tries to reach out to you, you won't at least try and reach back.  It is never explained exactly what horrific act her mother must have done to have China treat her this way; for I am sure it must have been.
Again, Ruby dresses like an escapee from a circus.  Either she does it for shock value or she just doesn't have any taste in clothes.  (Believe me, you can be a 'new ager' and dress normal).  I guess that Ruby just doesn't appeal to me at all.  At ;east where I live, the new agers dress and act like normal people.  I'm waiting for Ruby to eventually wear a sign proclaiming that she is a 'new ager' and we all had better get used to it.
I can't say whether I will read another book in this series or not.  (At least I haven't crossed it off my list).  If I do, and China's attitude toward people does not change, then I won't waste my time reading any past the third one.
Oh, and again, no one says 'y'all'.  Everybody in Texas says that except the people in this town, obviously.

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