Thyme of Death (China Bayles Series #1)

Thyme of Death (China Bayles Series #1)

4.4 11
by Susan Wittig Albert
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Nominated for both an Agatha and an Anthony Award, Susan Wittig Albert's novels featuring ex-lawyer and herb-shop proprietor China Bayles have won acclaim for their rich characterization and witty, suspenseful stories of crime and passion in small-town Texas.

In her first mystery, China's friend Jo dies of an apparent suicide. China searches behind the

…  See more details below

Overview

Nominated for both an Agatha and an Anthony Award, Susan Wittig Albert's novels featuring ex-lawyer and herb-shop proprietor China Bayles have won acclaim for their rich characterization and witty, suspenseful stories of crime and passion in small-town Texas.

In her first mystery, China's friend Jo dies of an apparent suicide. China searches behind the quaint façade of Pecan Springs and takes a suspicious look at everyone. Though she finds lots of friendly faces, China is sure that behind one of them hides the heart of a killer.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this promising though conventional debut mystery, Albert (Work of Her Oum) ably invents a central Texas town called Pecan Springs. While the plotting is somewhat mundane, the book's appealing late-summer setting and descriptions of home cooking are nicely evocative. Narrator China Bayels, 42, a former fast-track Houston attorney who now owns a slowlane Pecan Springs herb emporium, erdoys her laid-back lifestyle until the untimely death of her friend Jo Gilbert. Jo, who was battling cancer, is found after she downed a bottle of sleeping pills with vodka, but some in the closeknit community insist that suicide wasn't Jo's style. China and her brassy, New-Agey pal Ruby snoop around and learn that Jo once had an affair with another woman, a prominent childrens'-TV personality. Did the famous lover fear that gossip might ruin her career? Suspicion in Jo's death-and two subsequent slayings-shifts among members of the insular community before the plausible yet slightly disappointing finale. Motives are determined and a guilty party pegged, but there's a sense that all is not resolved; the narrative loses sight of China's romance with an excop and puts the herb business on the back burner. Presumably these aspects of China's life will be detailed as the projected series progresses, but their obvious neglect here leaves readers with mixed feelings about this story's conclusion. (Nov.)
Library Journal
China Bayles, former rat-race lawyer, escapes to small-town Texas to operate an herb shop and enjoy the simple life. Murder interrupts her simple life, however, when a good friend and local protest organizer dies suddenly. Revelatory letters, a crazy-eyed dollmaker, a nationally known TV personality, her ex-cop lover, and a shifty developer complicate matters as China begins her amateurish investigation. Like her pursuit of the murderer, this provides pleasant escape from routine. The first of a series.
Stuart Miller
This novel introduces China Bayles, former high-powered attorney in a prestigious Houston firm. Buying an old stone building in charming Pecan Springs, deep in Texas hill country, she has definitely opted out of the fast lane. She intends to plant a garden, tend her herb shop, and relax in a comfortable living space behind the store. Unfortunately, China's new-found serenity is shattered by the unexpected suicide of her community-activist friend Jo Gilbert, who suffered from breast cancer. At least, the police think it's suicide, given Jo's medical condition. Others vehemently disagree, including the local real-estate developer who bitterly opposed Jo's efforts to block development of a new airport. China's experience in criminal investigations makes her reluctant to believe in Jo's murder, but devotion to her friends also makes her an ally in considering the possibilities. Albert frequently supplies distracting asides (especially on the use of various herbs) instead of moving the action, but China is an appealing character, and Pecan Springs has an intriguing mix of eccentrics. Despite the less than original scenario and somewhat thin plot, this murder-in-a-small-town story keeps your interest.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425140987
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/28/1994
Series:
China Bayles Series, #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
94,733
Product dimensions:
4.27(w) x 6.69(h) x 0.83(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Maureen Reddy
Fans of strong women detectives will be delighted to meet China Bayles.
Susan Dunlap
A novel to savor...I loved it!

Meet the Author

Susan Wittig Albert grew up on a farm in Illinois and earned her Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley. A former professor of English and a university administrator and vice president, she is the author of the China Bayles Mysteries, the Darling Dahlias Mysteries, and the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. Some of her recent titles include Widow’s Tears, Cat’s Claw, The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose, and The Tale of Castle Cottage. She and her husband, Bill, coauthor a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries under the name Robin Paige, which includes such titles as Death at Glamis Castle and Death at Whitechapel.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
1940
Place of Birth:
Danville, Illinois
Education:
Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >