Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.
Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.

[Groucho Marx]

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When I take a mini-vacation (a few stolen hours in a day), one of my favorite destinations is a book. I just finished reading these two. Each is a part of a series, both are mystery stories and they share authors — Robin Paige is the nom de plume for co-authors Susan Wittig Albert and her husband, Bill.

These books have other features in common. The characters are interesting, enticing and clearly defined as individuals. After reading the other books in each series, I feel like I know the main characters better than I know some of my friends — at times I almost forget they are figments of fiction. Once, when I was at a steam rally in Wales, I thought, Charles Sheridan would enjoy this, then I recalled he isn’t real. He’s a character in Robin Paige’s books.

Dead Man’s Bones and the other books in its series feature China Bayles, her friend, Ruby, her family, her herb shop and Pecan Springs, Texas. In addition to enjoying the murder mystery story line, I am delighted by the herb information and recipes that are sprinkled through the books. The Robin Paige mysteries are set in the late 1800s and early 1900s in Great Britain. The main characters are fascinating people. Kate and Charles Sheridan are considerably more egalitarian than the society in which they live, but they are respected by their peers and blend into various settings with grace. While they happen upon and solve murder mysteries, they interact with actual historical people and travel to interesting places. Since these stories are set in a boom-time of inventions, they include the latest gaget of their time. I especially enjoyed the introduction of the automobile into their lives.

For your next mini-vacation, I recommend checking out the web site, Partners in Crime HQ and exploring these books.

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