Genre: cozy mystery
China is planning to visit her mother, Leatha, and her mother s husband, Sam, for Thanksgiving. She's also looking forward to catching up with a friend, game warden Mackenzie "Mack" Chambers. But Leatha calls with bad news: Sam has had a heart attack. While Sam recuperates, Leatha does have a helper - Sue Ellen Krause. But Sue Ellen - who's leaving her husband, the assistant foreman at a trophy game ranch - has troubles of her own. Before she can tell China the full story, Sue Ellen is killed in a car crash.
When a local veterinarian is shot, Mack believes his murder could be related to fawns stolen from a nearby ranch. And China wonders if Sue Ellen's death may not have been an accident, and if there's a connection to the stolen animals...
With this book, I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about the American kind of hunting at a "trophy game ranch". Where exotic animals are bred so they have a big rack, where white tail deer are smuggled from one state to the next, and "hunters" can sit in a comfy location and shoot them when those tame animals come out to eat. There is no sportsmanship involved at all, no skills, just killing animals for a trophy on the wall. Even real life pigeons are used like clay pigeons. I understand that it is a way to make a living when farming is no longer earning that, but I found all this horrible.
I did enjoy reading about something called "yarn bombing", what China's best friend Ruby is involved in. Knitters knit things for street furniture or trees, when they are tired from knitting hats and scarves and sweaters. I had just read about it, when I saw it myself in Berlin, where some fences had knitted wool covers. It is even considered art. So that was fun.
China's mother and her husband are trying to set up a bird watching place, with a bed and breakfast. But now that Sam has had his heart attack, and won't be able to work as hard as he is used to doing, how can her mother cope on her own? China is worried about that, she has her own life, her family and business to run in Pecan Springs, she does not live close by and won't be able to help out when needed. What will happen to Sam and Leata? Do they really need the money from this new project?
A great book, and I did enjoy it, even though I knew the plot way before China or the Game Wardens figured it out. There is also a romance thread in this book involving Mackenzie Chambers, and that was really nice.
This is a series I have been reading for over 25 years, I started reading it in Dutch as the first six books have been translated, and was really happy to discover there were more books available in English.
© 2016 Reviews by Aurian