Did I mention I love reading cozy mysteries before? I have some favourite authors in this genre, and Susan Wittig Albert is one of them. Wormwood is the 17th novel in the China Bayles series, of which the first six have been translated in Dutch, which is how I found this very good author.
China's friends and family are urging her to get some rest - and a Kentucky Shaker village seems the ideal place for it. At Mount Zion, China can assist with some herbal workshops - while absorbing all things Shaker, from their furniture to their peaceful ways. But the restored modern version of the village, striving to become a popular tourist attraction, is plagued with misfortune and strife - some of it the likely result of sabotage. China and her friend Martha are hoping to get to the bottom of it. However, much like Shaker history itself, the case appears simpler at first than it is. There is tension behind the serene exterior. And after a shocking death occurs during her stay, China will plunge into the archives of another time to connect the sins of the past with a modern-day murder.
After the ordeal with the murder of her recently discovered half-brother, the solution of the murder of her father 20 years ago, China can really use some time off. And what better way to do that, then to go with a good friend to a quiet mountain town in Kentucky, to work with herbs and sook in the atmosphere of an ancient Shaker village. But Martha asks China to help her find out who is behind the string of bad luck and minor criminal acts that are plaguing the resort. And China wouldn't be China if she didn't plunge in it.
This book is very different from the rest of the series, as it is made out in two parts. First, there are old journal writings, and the telling of the stories of the Shaker people in 1912, and then the things happening at the now. Before reading this book, I had never even heard of the Shakers, but what I have learned now, is very interesting. I had the intention to just skip those parts, but it sucked me right in, and I just had to know what would happen next. Yes, I was very captivated by both storylines. It was a very easy read, with a very sudden ending. Which I won't give away in case someone really reads my blog.
As always, I am curious what murder China will have to solve in the next novel, and what the new series will be like. Susan Wittig Albert has been on my shelves since I was a teenager, and I guess she will be on my shelves when I am old and gray ...