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Bleeding Hearts: 08/24/22
Bleeding Hearts by Susan Wittig Albert is the fourteenth book in the China Bayles mystery series. While her husband is in New Mexico on a case, China is investigating allegations that the local football coach can't keep his hands off teenage girls. She's then pulled into solve two murders.
Meanwhile, much like the more recent Really Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick (2020), there's a B plot mystery. This time it's in the form of a missing quilt.
This series has always tied the mystery to an herb of some sort. While bleeding hearts are mentioned they don't feature as strongly as other herbs have. Rather they are tied up with an overall theme of hearts as this novel takes place around Valentine's day and also deals with the metaphoric broken heart of a mother.
After all of that, though, what will end up sticking with me is the prescience of the novel to cover the toxic masculinity of small town Texas. Here is framed against the obsession over football and the ways small towns will reward a winning coach regardless of his other actions. But the coach before coming to Pecan Springs was working in Uvalde. The book's climax features a high school shooting.
The fifteenth book is Spanish Dagger (2007).