A Plain Vanilla Murder is the twenty-seventh (!) novel in Albert’s best-selling series featuring China Bayles, a former lawyer turned herbalist and shopkeeper in Pecan Springs, TX. All the novels have an herb in the title and include copious information regarding the history, science, and uses for it.
This is the first Albert I have read in a few years. Somewhere along the way, I lost interest in the increasingly farfetched plots, always a risk in a long running series. But A Plain Vanilla Murder is a refreshingly traditional mystery set in academia.
In the straight forward plot, a controversial botany professor is murdered in his greenhouse, and the numerous suspects include his ex-wife, girlfriends, university colleagues, and possibly his associates in the illegal harvest and transport of exotic orchids. Shelia Dawson, Pecan Springs’ pregnant Chief of Police and China’s friend, is nominally in charge, but China is in the thick of it.
A restful read.
FYI Vanilla extract is made from the fruit (pod or bean) of the vanilla orchid. (I did not know this; maybe you did.)