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A Dilly of a Death: 10/10/21
A Dilly of a Death by Susan Wittig Albert is the twelfth book in the China Bayles mystery series. McQuaid has switched gears to be a private investigator. His first client is Phoebe, the CEO of a the local pickle factory. But before he can get started, she goes missing.
Meanwhile China has taken in Amy, Ruby's daughter. She's pregnant and unmarried. She's uninterested in revealing who the father is and everyone who knows her are taking bets on who he might be.
To top it off, the worst rain storm Pecan Springs has seen in years has arrived. It's cancelled the Pickle Fest. It's made the roads unsafe. It's making everyone and everything wet and soggy.
This particular volume has a good sense of place and history. The pickle factory feels like a real space with real problems, including how to deal with all the brining leftovers without damaging the environment.
It also takes advantage of using the weather as an extra character, one who acts as a foil for all the parties involved. Pecan Springs often feels like a collection of sets whose relativity to each other changes as the plot demands. This time, the town feels like a single place tied to geography.
All this attention to detail, though, hides the fact that the core mystery is a very familiar one. I won't spoil that here, even though the mystery is seventeen years old.
The thirteenth book is Dead Man's Bones (2005).