Evil can worm its way into the purest of hearts...
China Bayles needs rest, and a historic Shaker village in Kentucky seems the ideal place for it. There she can learn about the intriguing, dwindling Shaker culture and its medicinal herbs. Unfortunately, the village is plagued with misfortune and strife. China wonders if, with the help of some age-old journals full of scandal, she can get to the bottom of it. But after a shocking death occurs during her stay, China will plunge into the archives of another time to connect the sins of the past with a modern-day murder.
Murders past and present with a Shaker link intersect in alarming ways in Albert's engaging 17th China Bayles puzzler (after 2008's Nightshade). Recent painful events help prompt China, who runs an herb shop and tearoom in Pecan Springs, Tex., to visit her herbalist friend Martha Edmond at Kentucky's Mount Zion Shaker Village, whose board president, Rachel Hart, wants to turn the quaint Shaker museum center into an upscale spa, contrary to the spirit of the original believers. Martha asks China to investigate recent disturbing events, including vandalism, the suicide of a thieving gift shop manager and, according to financial director Allie Chatham, Rachel's embezzlement of funds. When Allie's later found dead in Zion's pool, where a Shaker woman drowned in 1912, Martha and China suspect murder. Shaker-inspired recipes, excerpts from a fictional Shaker journal, insights into the Shaker religion and plenty of herbal lore enhance another winner from this dependable veteran. Author tour.