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Dead Man's Bones: 04/20/22
Dead Man's Bones by Susan Wittig Albert is the thirteenth China Bayles mystery. Brian discovers bones while spelunking. Meanwhile China is busy with another play, this one done by a pair of elderly sisters who aren't known for their generosity.
Structurally this mystery is a lot like Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron (2020). Albert's mystery, though, is the more cynical of the two. It also plays on one of my least favorite tropes: the elderly spinster sisters who have their fingers in everything. At least here they are one time characters and won't be returning in later books.
Thirteen books into the series (or roughly halfway), pages and pages are still spent introducing the basic concepts of the series. The narrative will stop dead for China to explain that she's an ex-lawyer turned herbalist. She'll re-introduce all of her kith and kin and Pecan Springs. What this means, is more and more of each volume becomes pages that can be skipped.
The fourteenth book is Bleeding Hearts (2006).