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China Bayles Mystery Series

Susan Wittig Albert
Former hotshot Houston attorney and herbalist China Bayles will do anything for friends in trouble—including solve murders.
Thyme of Death by Susan Wittig Albert
The Last Chance Olive Ranch by Susan Wittig Albert
Queen Anne's Lace by Susan Wittig Albert

China Bayles Mystery Series : Titles in Order

Book 26
A present-day ghost leads China Bayles to a secret from Pecan Springs’s past in this haunting mystery from New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert.

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.
Book 25
Now in paperback, the exciting new mystery from the New York Times bestselling author, in which China Bayles fears for her husband’s life as an escaped convict targets him…

A killer McQuaid put away years ago has busted out of Huntsville Prison and appears to be headed for Pecan Springs. 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.

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 to stop the convict backfires. And now McQuaid’s life is not the only one at stake–and this time may really be his last chance…
Book 24
As the New York Times bestselling series continues, China Bayles comes to the aid of a nurse who ends up in the hospital…
 
China is renting her guest cottage to Kelly Kaufman, who needs a temporary place to live as she contends with an acrimonious divorce, including a nasty dispute over ownership of the Comanche Creek Brewing Company. At the same time, as a nurse employed by a local hospice, Kelly has discovered instances of suspicious practices and believes that a patient has been murdered.
 
On her way to China’s house, Kelly is forced off the road and critically injured, putting her in a medically induced coma. Who wants Kelly out of the picture? 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…
Book 23
This Thanksgiving, be grateful for the “savvy sleuthing”* of New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert’s China Bayles—who teams up with an old friend to solve a case of theft and murder in a South Texas ranching community…
 
For Thanksgiving, China is planning to visit her mother, Leatha, and her mother’s husband, Sam. She’s also looking forward to catching up with a friend, game warden Mackenzie “Mack” Chambers. But Leatha calls with bad news: Sam has had a heart attack.
 
While Sam recuperates, Leatha does have a helper—Sue Ellen Krause. But Sue Ellen—who’s leaving her husband, the assistant foreman at a trophy game ranch—has troubles of her own. Before she can tell China the full story, Sue Ellen is killed in a car crash.
 
When a local veterinarian is shot, Mack believes his murder could be related to fawns stolen from a nearby ranch. And China wonders if Sue Ellen’s death may not have been an accident, and if there’s a connection to the stolen animals…

*Booklist
Book 22
In this thrilling mystery in the New York Times bestselling series, herbalist and ex-lawyer China Bayles finds herself on the trail of a nearly fifteen-year-old cold case…

When China 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 almost 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. Enlisting the help of her San Antonio lawyer friend Justine Wyzinski—aka the Whiz—China is determined to track down the murderer. But is she painting herself into a corner from which there’s no escape?
Book 21
Herbalist and ex-lawyer China Bayles is “in a class with lady sleuths V. I. Warshawski and Stephanie Plum” (Publishers Weekly).  In Widow’s Tears, a haunted house may hold the key to solving the murder of one of China’s friends…

After losing her family and home in the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, Rachel Blackwood rebuilt her house a hundred miles inland and later died there, still wrapped in her grief.

In present-day Texas, Claire, the grandniece of Rachel’s caretaker, has inherited the house and wants to turn it into a bed-and-breakfast. But she is concerned that it’s haunted, so she calls in her friend Ruby—who has the gift of extrasensory perception—to check it out.

While Ruby is ghost hunting, China Bayles walks into a storm of trouble in nearby Pecan Springs. A half hour before she is to make her nightly deposit, the Pecan Springs bank is robbed and a teller is shot and killed.

Before she can discover the identity of the killers, China follows Ruby to the Blackwood house to discuss urgent business. As she is drawn into the mystery of the haunted house, China opens the door on some very real danger…
Book 19
Susan Wittig Albert, “who consistently turns out some of the best-plotted mysteries on the market,”* delivers the charm and suspense in her latest herbal treat, Mourning Gloria. Now ex-lawyer and current herbalist China Bayles must stop a killer whose evil is burning through Texas…  China is relishing the scents, produce, and even the showers of spring. She’s also busy hosting Pecan Springs’ Farmers’ Market. It brings additional customers to her herb shop Thyme and Seasons. And residents find rare ingredients they wouldn’t otherwise find in the supermarket. Everybody wins…But as the town bustles back to life in the warmth of the season, one woman’s life is tragically brought to an end. China happens upon a burning house trailer and hears a woman screaming for help. The evidence leaves no doubt that it’s arson homicide—but who would commit such a ghastly crime?An intern-reporter at the local paper, Jessica Nelson, is assigned to cover the story. Drawn into the case by its similarity to her own tragic loss—Jessica’s family died in a fire—she soon finds herself deeply involved and in danger. And when Jessica disappears, China becomes determined to help find her, before she becomes headlines herself…

*Houston Chronicle
Book 18
China Bayles isn’t happy when a Texas wind blows her husband’s ex-wife, and the mother of China’s stepson, into her herb shop. Sally is known to have a split personality and fall into constant trouble with the law, but she claims she has nowhere else to turn. Now its up to China to weed out whatever it is Sally’s running from before the truth catches up to them all.
Book 17
Evil can worm its way into the purest of hearts…

China Bayles needs rest, and a historic Shaker village in Kentucky seems the ideal place for it. There she can learn about the intriguing, dwindling Shaker culture and its medicinal herbs. Unfortunately, the village is plagued with misfortune and strife. China wonders if, with the help of some age-old journals full of scandal, she can get to the bottom of it. But 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.
Book 16
While harvesting yucca plants to make paper, China Bayles finds a body-cause of death: unknown. It seems that the simple lives of many residents of Pecan Springs hide complex and dangerous pasts. And now, while also unraveling secrets that hit close to home, China must set the record straight- and find a killer.
Book 16
New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert takes China Bayles on a trip down memory lane, where one fresh murder and several cold cases force her to face her dark past…
 
China’s herb shop and catering business may be thriving, but she’s still reeling from her father’s death—and isn’t remotely interested in her half-brother Miles’s investigation of it. Although, when fate forces her to get involved, China realizes it’s time to bring the past to light—or else it will haunt her the rest of her life.
                                                                                        
But China and McQuaid discover that Miles may have been keeping as many secrets as he seemed determined to uncover—for starters, knowledge of the whereabouts of their father’s wrecked car, a key piece of evidence. How deep do the layers of secrecy go? And who has a stake in concealing the truth after sixteen years?
 
Piecing together clues, China and McQuaid embark on a wild goose chase, tracking down evidence that might link several cold-case murders to her father’s death. But the closer they get to untangling the story, the more China longs for answers she may never get…
Book 15
When local football coach and hero Tim Duffy is accused of improper behavior, lawyer-turned-herbalist China Bayles investigates, following a trail of obsession and murder that may lead to her own doorstep.
Book 14
Susan Wittig Albert’s exciting mysteries have been praised as “unique” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) and “fascinating” (Booklist). Now, a dead man’s bones are uncovered—and Texas ex-lawyer and herbalist China Bayles must dig into a pair of murders separated by time but connected by motive… When China’s teenage son finds some skeletal remains during a local cave dig—remains that show a not-so-accidental death—it’s a disturbing development. But China doesn’t let it distract her from the opening of the new community theater donated by the elderly Obermann sisters. Unfortunately, the haughty, bullying Jane Obermann—and her frail, frightened younger sister—made the donation with a condition: that the first production be a play written by Jane about their aristocratic family history.The premiere party ends with a bang when a ne’er-do-well local handyman is shot dead by Jane while breaking into the Obermann estate. It seems like a clear-cut case of self-defense. But China senses something else going on behind the scenes. Now, the key to catching a killer might be the mysterious bones in the cave—a clue from the past that could help China solve a mystery in the present…
Book 13
China Bayles is in a pickle. The daughter of her best friend, Ruby, has turned up on her doorstep, pregnant and in need of a place to live. And her otherwise sensible husband has announced that he’s bored with teaching and ready for a career change.” “Say “hello” to P.I. Mike McQuaid and Associates. There aren’t actually any “associates” – unless you count Ruby and China, of course. But the title does have a nice, official ring to it. His first client is Phoebe the Pickle Queen, owner of the biggest little pickle business in Texas. According to Phoebe, her plant manager is embezzling, and she wants McQuaid to follow the money.” Meanwhile, Pecan Springs is hosting the annual Picklefest – and this year, China and Ruby are on the planning committee, along with Phoebe. But just days before the festival starts, the Pickle Queen disappears. Some say she sold her business and split; others think the answer may lie with her missing boyfriend. It’s up to McQuaid and China to search for the Pickle Queen – and for clues in a case that promises to leave a very sour taste.
Book 12
Now readers can join China Bayles in ten puzzling cases—and get a taste of her world. 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!

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