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Witches' Bane (China Bayles Series #2)

Witches' Bane (China Bayles Series #2)

4.2 5
by Susan Wittig Albert

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The second China Bayles mystery. Herb shop owner China is shocked when Halloween hijinks take a gruesome turn in Pecan Springs, ending in a brutal murder. And China is even more shocked when her friend Ruby, a New Age expert in tarot and astrology, becomes the prime suspect after a minister accuses her of witchcraft.


The second China Bayles mystery. Herb shop owner China is shocked when Halloween hijinks take a gruesome turn in Pecan Springs, ending in a brutal murder. And China is even more shocked when her friend Ruby, a New Age expert in tarot and astrology, becomes the prime suspect after a minister accuses her of witchcraft.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Murder and suspicion of witchcraft in a small Texas town draw attorney-turned-herbalist China Bayles into her second case (after Thyme of Death ). Rumors of devil worship are rampant in Pecan Springs following the probable suicide of a teenager and the unexpected deaths of a transient and a nursing home resident. The turmoil increases when the Reverend Billy Lee Harbuck begins picketing the Crystal Cave, a New Age shop, claiming that the owner, China's friend Ruby Wilcox, and her customers are practicing witchcraft. Wealthy Sybil Rand, notorious for maintaining a garden of poisonous plants, is found murdered with Ruby's knife after a feminist Halloween party attended by assorted goddess worshippers. Ruby becomes the prime suspect. Other candidates for the murderer's role are Ruby's newest love interest, Andrew Drake, who has a mysterious past and may have been Sybil's lover, and, despite his excellent alibi, the widower, C. W. Rand, managing partner of a nearby resort and sometime ladies' man. As China and her lover, criminal justice professor and ex-cop Mike McQuaid, delve into the case, China must cope with her feelings for an alcoholic mother who is finally taking control of her own life. Albert's lively mystery captures the flavor of a modern small-town being reshaped by big-city refugees. Mystery Guild alternate. (Oct.)
Library Journal
A former fast-lane lawyer, now an herb-shop proprietress, China Bayles has both the expertise and the time to help her friends when they get into trouble. After police accuse best friend Ruby's new boyfriend of a cultlike murder, China charges to the rescue. A local anti-Satan, anti-witchcraft, anti-anything-different preacher with a grudge against the two women becomes the prime suspect. This novel has a nicely constructed plot and captivating characters and dialog. Even better than Thyme of Death ( LJ 11/1/92).
Emily Melton
High-powered Houston attorney China Bayles has forsaken big bucks in the big city to become a good ol' gal in tiny Pecan Springs, Texas. She's opened an herb store and now dabbles in New Age arts and crafts, hangs out with the local "single and loving it" ladies, and solves crimes in her spare time. And it's a good thing she does--Pecan Springs is in the throes of a witch hunt. First it was the appearance of sacrificial artifacts. Then it was a Wiccan Night of the Dead celebration. Next someone slit the throats of the town pets. And now the wife of a local developer has been found brutally murdered. Albert dishes up abundant Tex-Mex detail (flora, fauna, lingo), hearty local recipes and cooking tips, herbal wisdom, and lots of female bonding scenarios--a combination ripe with cornball potential. Luckily, Albert also offers a delightful cast of unusual characters, a catchy plot, and a refreshing heroine to balance the often too-hearty folksiness. On the whole, an entertaining and engaging story.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
China Bayles Series , #2
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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

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Witches' Bane 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
BeckyMcF More than 1 year ago
After years of seeing Susan Witting Albert's books at the beginning of the paperback mysteries sections at bookstores, I have finally read my first one. Book 2 in the China Bayles series has sold me on a whole world of new sleuths and books! The mystery plus the plant stuff and New Age information were very good reading! The Halloween theme added to reading pleasure!
Delphimo More than 1 year ago
Witches' Bane is my second foray into the spicy world of China Bayles, and in this installation the reader glimpses the dysfunctional Bayles family. Halloween enlivens the atmosphere with whisperings of witches, use of magic, and mysterious deaths. As usual, our heroine must risk life and limb in an effort to find truth and justice. Why do female detectives shun relationships and commitment? China Bayles closely parallels Deborah Knotts in the Margaret Maron mystery series in many aspects. Each author follows their own path in presenting a story. Susan Wittig Albert focuses on herbs, flowers, and women. The supporting men characters present a one sided individual, whereas the women grab center stage. Albert gives a fun read.
AnaLeigh63 More than 1 year ago
My mom really enjoys this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this second book in the series, there appears to be witchy deeds occurring in Pecan Springs. All kinds of strange things happen, such as pets with their throats slit, secret meetings in the night, and finally a murder of the wife of a prominant citizen. China and Ruby set out to determine who and what is behind all the mayhem.