Five Days, Five Dead (The China Bohannon Series)

Written by Carol Wright Crigger
Review by Jenna Pavleck

Five Days, Five Dead is the fifth book in the China Bohannon mystery series. In this installment, China is hired by a wealthy businessman named Sepp Amsel to investigate the kidnapping of his fiancée’s sister. The kidnappers have asked for a large ransom. While Sepp is prepared to pay any amount to please his mail-order bride, he is suspicious that the circumstances surrounding the abduction are not quite what they seem. As subzero winter temperatures set in on Spokane, China begins her investigation. Soon after questioning Sepp’s fiancée at the hotel where she is staying, a hotel bellhop turns up dead. Then, a local tailor is found murdered. Why was the bride’s sister abducted and not the bride herself? How are these recent murders connected to the abduction? These are questions China will have to answer before time runs out, because bodies are piling up and the day of the ransom exchange is quickly approaching.

Although the plot is not particularly sophisticated or complex, this novel is an easy read and an entertaining 1890s period mystery, appropriate for young adult readers as well as adults. I found that not having read the previous China Bohannon novels did not detract from my enjoyment of the storyline, and enough background is provided to help new readers understand how this novel fits into the series. Some of the minor characters, such as China’s uncle Monk, and his partner, Gratton, who work with China at the Doyle and Howe Detective Agency, aren’t given much attention or character depth in this novel. China herself, however, provides a strong and charming female lead, and her loyal dog, Nimble, is a loveable side-kick who accompanies her throughout her investigation.