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Cat's Claw (A Pecan Springs Mystery)

Cat's Claw (A Pecan Springs Mystery)

Titel: Cat's Claw (A Pecan Springs Mystery)
Autoren: SusanWittig Albert
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series and there will always be plenty of herbs in each of the books: culinary suggestions, craft ideas, history and lore, as well as medicinal information. I probably don’t need to remind you that
Cat’s Claw
offers fictional entertainment, not a prescription for what ails you. But I’ll say it anyway: before you attempt to treat yourself with any herb that China (or another friend) might happen to mention, do your own due diligence, consult the appropriate professionals, and use common sense. Plant medicine is not one-size-fits-all.
    As usual, I need to thank the writers whose books and articles supplied information for this book. In particular, I would like to mention Connie Fletcher’s
Breaking and Entering: Women Cops Break the Code of Silence to Tell Their Stories from the Inside
, and
Breaking the Brass Ceiling: Women Police Chiefs and Their Path to the Top
, by Dorothy Moses Schulz. Both of these books provided valuable insights into the career challenges of women police officers and helped to shape the character of Sheila Dawson and some of the dynamics in the Pecan Springs Police Department. I am also grateful to Rhonda Esakov for her recommendations about police weapons and firepower: Rhonda, you helped to fill in some serious gaps in my knowledge base!
    Thank you, too, to the herbalists and researchers who have compiled the various books and monographs I always rely on for the botanical background for this series, and to China’s many friends around the country who have shared recipes, craft ideas, and gardening information with me. I want especially to thank the International Herb Association for the Book Award they have bestowed on this series, and to Alice Le Duc for sharing her thoughtful and extensive botanical wisdom. I am also grateful to Martha Meacham, winner of a “cameo character” raffle for the benefit of the Story Circle Network. Martha agreed to appear in this book as a volunteer coordinator of the K-9 Search and Rescue Unitfor the Pecan Springs Police Department—a job for which she is very well suited!
    And of course, to Bill Albert, ever and always, dearest friend.
    Susan Wittig Albert
Bertram, Texas


    Four members of the Texas Star Quilting Club, armed with needles, thread, thimbles, and scissors, were seated on either side of the wooden quilting frame set up in Ethel Wauer’s dining room at 1113 Pecan Street. As usual, the ladies were discussing their friends and neighbors—in this case, Dana and Larry Kirk, who lived two doors west, at 1117 Pecan. Or rather, Larry lived there. Dana had moved out.
    “Well, I for one am sorry to hear that they’re getting a divorce,” Ethel said. The eldest of the group, she had celebrated her eighty-first birthday the month before and wasn’t above claiming the prerogatives of age. She poked her needle through the Double Wedding Ring quilt, which was one of her favorite patterns. Of course, the club could have paid Mrs. Moore, two streets over, to quilt the pieced top on her long-arm sewing machine, which would make short work of it. But while the Texas Stars didn’t agree on everything (on much of anything, as a matter of fact), they agreed that there wouldn’t be any fun in turning the job over to a one-armed mechanical wizard. So they stretched the quilt top and batting and lining over Ethel’s frame and spent several hours each week quilting it by hand.
    Luckily, they were all expert stitchers. That is, none of them put inbig, sloppy stitches that had to be surreptitiously taken out after the offending stitcher had gone home. Ethel herself was proud of the fact that she could still see to stitch and that her quilting stitches were every bit as tiny and neat as Hazel Schulz’s, whose eyes were younger by twenty-five-plus years but not nearly as good as hers. The fact that Ethel wore two hearing aids didn’t slow down her stitching in the slightest.
    “The divorce wasn’t much of a surprise, though,” she added astutely. “Not after Mrs. Kirk went and got herself a boyfriend.”
    Jane Jessup peered at her over the tops of her tortoiseshell reading glasses. “I knew she’d moved out, but I had no idea she has a
. Who is he?” Jane, who was younger than Ethel by five years and three days, lived at 1115 Pecan, between Ethel and the Kirks, and had a big vegetable garden in her backyard, where she grew most of the food she put on her vegetarian table. Of all the Texas Stars, Jane had the greenest thumb—and
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