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Rosemary Remembered: 08/16/17

Rosemary Remembered  by Susan Wittig Albert

Rosemary Remembered by Susan Wittig Albert is the fourth of the China Bayles mystery series. China has moved in with her boyfriend and his son and everything seems to be going well. Except then they get word that a dangerous criminal who has a personal grudge against China has been let go. McQuaid goes on the super defensive / paranoid.

Then China's friend, Rosemary ends up dead in the truck she borrowed from McQuaid, thus fueling his conviction that the ex-con is coming for China. For most of the book, China is voice of reason, insisting that there must be someone closer to Rosemary who had motive and opportunity to kill her.

I think this is the first mystery I've read that has an angry red herring. In a television series (though usually done as an arc plot over a quarter to a third of the episodes, usually around sweeps) there will be a dangerous criminal on the loose who has come for the hero. There will be elaborate plots, misdirection, a near framing where it looks like the hero has committed a heinous crime.

This is the first time I cam remember a villain with a grudge only going after the hero because everyone is looking for him anyway and he's pissed off. He's literally been baited by China's well meaning friends and the whole confrontation ends up being laughable.

Before that, though, there's a who weird side plot involving McQuaid's son who is nuts about Star Trek trading cards. He's really into the Next Gen and wants a Data card. My memory being only so-so for the series couldn't keep track of when the show's run ended. Season seven was just the year before the book was published — so probably on air when the book was actually being written.

Now the show I was into in 1995 (and I know I'm in the minority here) was Voyager. Captain Janeway is my favorite captain. But it was too recent a show for the series to have made it into Rosemary Remembered.

Regardless, the disappearance of Brian was the most compelling part of the book for me. I think it was the firs time that China really seemed fully grounded in her world as a living, breathing, emotional person.

Two stars

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