While looking for books to donate to a church media sale, I happened upon Susan Wittig Albert’s Bloodroot, published in 2001, which has been on my library shelves for quite awhile. I tried reading this mystery before but didn’t get far. The setting is the Mississippi Delta rather than the herb shop and tearoom in the Texas Hill Country of Albert's other China Bayles mysteries.I picked up the book again and decided if it didn’t hold my interest this time, I would donate it. I must have been more amenable to reading about the South this go-around, because I finished it quickly. I actually enjoyed learning some back story about China and her mother Leatha, with whom China has had a troubled relationship in the past.
The aunt who raised Leatha and who owns the family’s Mississippi plantation is ill with a degenerative neurological disorder, and Leatha is caring for her when secrets from the family’s past begin to emerge, and Leatha asks China for help. China’s legal skills from her former career are called into play, and some unexplained ghostly assistance points China in the right direction.Ill-conceived and extreme measures taken to hide family secrets lead to unnecessary deaths, and the sins of the fathers must be uncovered in order to move forward. The decisions of the characters propel the plot at a more leisurely pace so this isn't a "sitting on the edge of your seat" mystery. While the characters are fraught with human frailties, the reader is left with hope for the future.
Of course, there is the usual information about herbs in this series, and since I’m taking a Master Gardener class, I try to pay attention to all the Latin names!
|Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis)|
|Master Gardener binder at my desk--reading this week's assignment!|
My reading also inspired me to make some rosemary biscuits though I didn’t use the exact recipe provided in the book. I had some heavy cream in the refrigerator left over from Christmas and decided to make cream biscuits from a recipe found here on the Internet. Essentially you add heavy cream to a mixture of flour, baking powder, sugar, salt. I added dried rosemary to the recipe and they turned out well. I was able to use the leftover cream, but these rich biscuits certainly aren’t something I would make often.
|Toasted rosemary biscuits with honey for breakfast|