Susan Wittig Albert's
China Bayles Mysteries

3d Printing Marketplace
Thyme of Death
Pecan Springs. Small town East-Central Texas. China Bayles has resigned her career-ladder position with a top Houston law firm to get away from the fast-track of Urban Life.
A pleasant surprise to her is that Detective Mike McQuaid has also 'retired' from the Houston P.D. to pursue his masters while teaching Criminal Justice at Central Texas State University located, quite conveniently for China and Mike, in Pecan Springs.
China's mildly successful herb shop, Thyme & Seasons, and her friend Ruby's new age shop, The Crystal Cave, provide an entertaining and educational background for life until a good friend, terminally ill Jo, dies of an apparent suicide.
Ruby knowsthat Jo would never give up the fight in such a sissy way immediately, but it takes burgulary and attempted murder to sway China that there is a murder to solve for the reluctant sleuth and her over-eager sidekick (Ruby wants to be either V.I. Warshowski or Kinsey Milhone. This is the first perfect opportunity for the two to team up and solve a mystery!
Witches' Bane
Did Ruby really kill someone during a Halloween prank? China has to answer this question and find out who really did if Ruby didn't. Meanwhile her relationship with McQuaid really heats up.
Hangman's Root
Hangman's Root, another common name for catmint, is known for making cats drunk, and loosening the conscience of humans. When a professor is found murdered in his office while PETA protests his actions outside the building the only suspect is his neighbor and fellow professor Dottie Riddle. China and Ruby are 'hired' by China's ex-lawschool classmate and friend to gather evidence to clear Dottie while her multitude of cats are cared for by the reluctant sleuth and her over-eager sid.giekick.
Meanwhile, the head of the PETA group is actually Ruby's daughter and the only other 'suspect', though China can't tell that to Ruby!
Rosemary Remembered
When China finds her accountant dead in Mike McQuaid's truck she starts on the path to solve yet another murder in Pecan Springs.
Rueful Death
On China and Ruby's 'vacation' with Maggie, ex-nun and great cook to St. Theresa's abbey, it becomes obvious that the reluctant sleuth has been lured to the convent on less than honest terms. The nuns want her to solve a mystery for them!
Love Lies Bleeding
China suspects Mike is cheating on him just as she has accepted what's obvious to everyone around her and decides to accept his suit for marriage. When Mike winds up shot it's up to China and the woman Mike may have been having an affair with to solve the mystery.
Chile Death
Finally convincing Mike to stop feeling sorry for himself requires a mystery to solve. Who better to solve the mystery of who killed the less-than-loved womanizing Jerry Jeff Cody by serving him peanuts in his Chile.
Has an absolutely hilarious attitude discussion on the Texan attitude to Chile. Real Chile has no beans!
Lavender Lies
Well, she finally agreed to the wedding, but with McQuaid acting as sheriff and, of all things, a murder occurs and he doesn't exactly want to go on the honeymoon and leave the case unsolved the wedding might get postponed... permanently.
Mistletoe Man
China and Mike are married and the tea-room is open, but what's the matter with Ruby and who/why killed The Mistletoe man just as the Christmas season approaches and fresh Mistletoe is going to be needed in abundance...

China is summoned by her mother to the family's old plantation, where her ailing Aunt Tullie is in trouble. See, Aunt Tullie was the last to see an old childhood playmate of China's, who claimed to have a deed to the plantation and now is missing. She had motive, means, and opportunity. And unless China can figure out what's going on, her ailing aunt may go to jail.
Haunted by a recurring dream from her childhood, and assisted by the ghost of a suicidal ancestress, China uncovers dark secrets in her family's past, from slavery and ill-treatment of Native Americans to hereditary diseases, illegitimate pregnancies, and murder.
Indigo Dying
China Bayles heads to the tiny town of Indigo, Texas, to teach a Colors to Dye For workshop. But she quickly discovers that Indigo is a town with more than its share of dark secrets-secrets that someone thinks are worth killing to keep.
An Unthymely Death
Ten puzzling cases in the world of China Bayles. This delightful collection features loads of wonderful herbal tidbits on everything from rosemary to feverfew to catnip; recipes for such to-die-for dishes as a Deadly Chocolate Valentine, Ruby's Applesauce Mint Bread, China's Five-Spice Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry, and McQuaid's Tex Mex-and a host of creative ideas for garden and home. It's a one-of-a-kind collection featuring a one-of-a-kind sleuth --who's worth spending some "quality thyme" with!
A Dilly of a Death
As Pecan Springs gets ready for its annual Pickle-Fest, China and the other members of the Pretty Pickle Planners panic when Phoebe Morgan the Pickle Queen disappears right before the big event. There are plenty of suspects, false scents and surprises as China scrambles to keep Pickle-Fest alive-and solve a murder or two. The interplay of the author's core characters, including China's husband Mike McQuaid and her best friend Ruby Wilcox, keep the plot perking along. McQuaid, a former cop, is focused on becoming a PI, while Ruby's daughter, Amy, seems bent on making the same mistake Ruby made as a young woman-becoming a single mother.
Dead Man's Bones
In this gently narrated cozy, a skeleton in a cave allows China to think about archaeology, forensics, love affairs, immigration, and secrets from the past. Meanwhile, two elderly and reclusive sisters, one imperious and the other frail, the last of their family, donate a building, the funds for its renovation, and property for a community theater, with the stipulation that a play written about their father must be the first production. These events turn out to be intimately connected to the body in the cave, and it makes for an enjoyable journey as China makes the necessary connections one by one
Murder Most Crafty,
"The Collage to Kill For"

Bleeding Hearts
With her tea and herbal business expanding faster than she could have imagined, China Bayles is short on time--all the time. But even she can't refuse when her stepson's principal approaches her to conduct a sensitive investigation of one of Pecan Springs's most prominent citizens.

cover art copyright Joe Burleson
China Bayles Book of Days
365 celebrations of of the mystery, myth and magic of herbs from the world of Pecan Springs
Spanish Dagger, 2007
China's pleasant routines are first disrupted by the travails of her business partner, Ruby, who's apparently been stood up by her unreliable boyfriend, an ex-narc. Then China's recently discovered half brother, Miles Danforth, an attorney, insists on reopening the ice-cold case of their father's death in a car accident 16 years earlier. Miles has uncovered correspondence that their father feared for his life before he died, and recruits the help of China's husband, Mike McQuaid, a former Houston homicide detective turned PI. But China faces a much warmer corpse when she and her friend Carole discover a bloody body by the railroad tracks where they go to gather yucca.
Nightshade, 2008
When China's half-brother, Miles, hires China's husband, Mike McQuaid, a former homicide officer struggling to establish himself as a PI, to investigate the fatal crash, China isn't sure this is a good idea. Her reservations prove well founded after the secretive Miles turns out to have his own agenda. Fans will be pleased that by supplementing China's usual first-person narration with McQuaid's third-person perspective, Albert casts fresh light on his character and his relationship with China.
Wormwood, 2009
China�s friends and family are urging her to get some rest�and a Kentucky Shaker village seems the ideal place for it. At Mount Zion, China can assist with some herbal workshops�while absorbing all things Shaker, from their furniture to their peaceful ways. But the restored modern version of the village, striving to become a popular tourist attraction, is plagued with misfortune and strife� some of it the likely result of sabotage. China and her friend Martha are hoping to get to the bottom of it.

However, much like Shaker history itself, the case appears simpler at first than it is. There is tension behind the serene exterior. And after a shocking death occurs during her stay, China will plunge into the archives of another time to connect the sins of the past with a modern-day murder.

Holly Blues, 2010
When McQuaid's ex comes to town looking for help, will her past as a total nightmare in Mike & Brian's lives be overcome by China's curiousity and basic goodness? Will it be enough?
Mourning Gloria, 2011
China's coping with "mother"hood while Ruby has to deal with a rambunctious granddaughter which complicates matters when China happens on a burning trailer home just in time to hear a girl burn to death -- and find out it's MURDER.
Enter Jessica Nelson, cub reporter. Jessica's entire family, including her twin sister, burned alive in a housefire when she was a teen -- and Jessica's taking this personally. Then she disappears.
China has to work a concerted search for the likeable young lady into her schedule -- will she be in time or is anything really wrong? -- In this book Brian is a mention and McQuade's a phone-in. Miss them, but still enjoyed the book. The recipes included blends of essential oils for aromatherapy.
Cat's Claw, 2012
(text from jacket flap)Sheila Dawson has made history as the first female police chief in Pecan Springs, Texas. She's also cracked many a mystery in collaboration with local sleuth China Bayles--that's why everyone thinks she's such a smart cookie. Now, Sheila puts those smarts to work, sifting through secrets to find a killer on the prowl...
  • now the series is called "The Pecan Springs Mysteries" and feature Sheila Dawson and China Bayles...

  • Widow's Tears, 2013
    Herbalist and ex-lawyer China Bayles has to find out how a haunted house holds the key to solving a murder.

    cover art copyright Joe Burleson
    Death Come Quickly, 2014
    When China's and Ruby's friend Karen Prior is mugged in a mall parking lot and dies a few days later, China begins to suspect that her friend's death was not a random assault. Karen was a filmmaker supervising a student documentary about the fifteen-year-old murder of a woman named Christine Morris and the acquittal of the man accused of the crime. Is it possible that the same person who killed Christine Morris targeted Karen? Delving into the cold case, China learns the motive for the first murder may be related to a valuable collection of Mexican art and is determined to track down the murderer. But is she painting herself into a corner from which there's no escape?
    Bittersweet, 2015
    China's step-father's heart attack, her mother's assistant in an an automobile accident that may not be an accident and a local vet killed in an apparent robbery that begins to look less and less like robbery and more like a murder linked to illegal canned hunts with links to poltics... so much for a happy Thanksgiving!
    Blood Orange, 2016
    (pre-release synopsis) It�s mid-April in Pecan Springs, and China is renting her guest cottage to Kelly Kaufman, who needs a temporary place to live as she contends with a very acrimonious divorce from her husband Rich. One nasty point of dispute is her part ownership of the Comanche Creek Brewing Company, which she is refusing to sell.

    At the same time, as a nurse employed by a local hospice, Kelly has discovered instances of suspicious practices. Even more disturbing, she suspects that a patient was murdered. Kelly�s knowledge could be dangerous, and she wants to get guidance from China on what to do.

    But on her way to China�s house, Kelly is forced off the road and critically injured, putting her in a medically induced coma. Now it�s up to China to determine who wanted her out of the picture. Was it her soon-to-be ex? His new lover�who happens to be the sister of China�s friend Ruby? Or someone connected with the corruption at the hospice?

    China owes it to her friend to uncover the truth�but she may be putting her own life at risk...

    The Last Chance Olive Ranch, 2017

    Max Mantel, the killer McQuaid put away years ago, has busted out of the Huntsville prison and appears to be headed for Pecan Springs. McQuaid knows there�s only one way to stop the vengeful convict�set a trap with himself as bait.

    China wants to stay by her husband�s side and keep him from harm. But McQuaid insists that she get out of town and go to the Last Chance Olive Ranch, where she�s agreed to teach a workshop on herbs.

    When China and her best friend arrive at the ranch, she learns the owner, Maddie Haskell, has her own troubles. She inherited the ranch and olive oil business from the late matriarch, Eliza Butler, but Eliza�s nephew is contesting the will.

    While China throws herself into helping Maddie, McQuaid�s plan backfires when Mantel executes a countermove he never saw coming. Now McQuaid�s life is not the only one at stake�and this time may really be his last chance...

    cover art copyright Joe Burleson
    Queen Anne's Lace, 2018

    While helping Ruby Wilcox clean up the loft above their shops, China comes upon a box of antique handcrafted lace and old photographs. Following the discovery, she hears a woman humming an old Scottish ballad and smells the delicate scent of lavender.…

    Soon, strange happenings start to occur in Thyme and Seasons. When a customer sees a mysterious woman picking flowers nearby and then suddenly disappearing, China must finally admit what Ruby has always known—their building is haunted. But by whom?

    As China investigates, the tragic story of a woman in one of the old photographs unfolds. China delves into the century-old mystery and realizes that solving it could have unimaginable repercussions in the here and now.

    cover art copyright Joe Burleson
    A Plain Vanilla Murder, 2019

    China and Ruby Wilcox are presenting their annual ''Not Just Plain Vanilla Workshop,'' always a huge hit with customers at Thyme & Seasons Herb Shop. But someone involved with the workshop is driven by a deadly motive, and China soon finds herself teaming up with the very pregnant Pecan Springs police chief Sheila Dawson to solve a vanilla-flavored murder.

    Sheila, happy to get out from behind the chief's desk, is investigating the death of a botany professor, a prominent researcher specializing in vanilla orchids. China is trying to help a longtime friend: the dead professor's ex-wife and a prime suspect in his murder.

    However, there's no shortage of other suspects: a betrayed lover, a disgruntled graduate student, jealous colleagues, and a gang of orchid smugglers. But the lethal roots of this mystery reach back into the dark tropical jungles of Mexico, where the vanilla vine was first cultivated. At stake: a lucrative plant patent, an orchid that is extinct in the wild, and the life of an innocent little girl.

    cover art copyright Joe Burleson

    Loving Eleanor

    A Wilder Rose

    The General's Women

    The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter
    The Tale of Hill Top Farm, 2004 The Tale of Holly How, 2005 The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood, 2006 The Tale of Hawthorne House, 2007
    The Tale of Briar Bank, 2008 The Tale Applebeck Orchard, 2009 The Tale of Oat Cake Crag, 2010 The Tale of Castle Cottage, 2011

    The Darling Dahlias & the Cucumber Tree The Darling Dahlias & the Naked Ladies The Darling Dahlias & the Confederate Rose
    The Darling Dahlias & the Texas Star The Darling Dahlias & the Silver Dollar Bush The Darling Dahlias & the Eleven O'Clock Lady
    The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover The Darling Dahlias and the Poinsettia Puzzle The Darling Dahlias and the Voodoo Lily

    An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days
    Together Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place
    With Courage & Common Sense: Memoirs from the Older Womens' Legacy Circles
    What Wildness is This? Women Write About the Southwest
    Writing From Life: Telling Your Soul's Story
    Work of Her Own: A Woman's Guide to Success Off the Career Track
    Herbs & Plants of the Bible
    Thyme & Seasons Herbal Teas: A collection of herbal teas & te-time treats
    Herbs of the Zodiac: A little book about herbs and astrology, in the ancient tradition of archetypal unities and cosmic coherence
    Marvelous Mustards & Curious Curries
    A Poem
    CEOs' Changing Role in Large Corporations Helping Her Make History
    Starting Points: Weekly Writing Prompts for Women With Stories to Tell

    The Victorian Mysteries of Robin Paige
    Death on the Lizard, 2006
    Death at Blenheim Palace, 2005
    Death in Hyde Park, 2004
    Death at Glamis Castle, 2003
    Death at Dartmoor, 2002 Death at Epsom Downs, 2001 Death at Whitechapel, 2000 Death at Rottingdean, 1999
    Death at Devil's Bridge, 1998
    Death at Daisy's Folly, 1997
    Death at Gallows Green, 1995
    Death at Bishop's Keep, 1994

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