Gotta Garden

Friday, July 20, 2007

Garden Reading: China Bayles Murder Mysteries

“Summertime and the living is easy” or something like that. Reading should be, too, don’t you think? Time to stretch out in the cool shade with an icy drink and a good book….or two. Ah, a good murder mystery should just about hit the spot.

Dropping in on China Bayles in Pecan Springs, Texas, seems like a great thing to do. Bleeding Hearts and Spanish Dagger are the latest two offerings from Susan Wittig Albert. As a fan of China’s, I’ve enjoyed following her through the years. Currently, she and her best friend, Ruby, have expanded their business interests. Along with the murder de jour, the books contain herbal nuggets and even favorite herbal recipes.

It may just be me, but I felt Ms. Albert has included ongoing themes in these books that made me happy I had both…and now, I want the next one to finish up that business about China’s father. I don’t recall in previous books these sorts of pleasurable anticipatory loose ends, but I found them a great writer’s device. The characters themselves provided the continuity and learning what was happening in their lives bound the books. These two, however, have actual story lines that continue…and as I mentioned, it left me in eager anticipation of the next book. It isn’t often that I feel that way, so kudos to Ms. Albert.

If you haven’t read any of these before, let me urge you to give them a try. Pecan Springs sounds like the kind of place we’d like to visit, especially the Thyme and Seasons Herb Shop. Along the way, you’ll increase your herb knowledge painlessly.


Carol said...

I read a few of the earlier China Bayles mysteries in the past, but it has been awhile. Perhaps I should get back to reading them?

By the way, for the August-September Garden Bloggers' Book Club selection, I've picked a garden mystery to read. I'm going to post about it in a few day. I think you'll like what I've come up with!

Carol at May Dreams Garden

Entangled said...

Have you read any of Ann Ripley's books? If so, I wonder how they compare to Susan Wittig Albert's?

By way of disclosure, I tried Mulch by Ann Ripley but only got about halfway through it before I got bored.

Annie in Austin said...

How cool that you found Susan Albert's mysteries, Gotta Garden! I'm building a collection of them, too.

Susan lives in the Hill Country to the West of Austin, and she's been linked from my blog for a long time. She's also a gardener, an educator, a yarn person and she appears on local gardening programs. Here's a link to her delicious website.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

A wildlife gardener said...

I'm not familiar with that author.

I was intrigued with your opening line....Come on over to hear Renee fleming singing 'Summertime, and the living is easy...' on my Summertime video at Barleycorn :)

Gotta Garden said...

Hi Carol: I just went over and looked...yes, I do...I haven't read that one! I don't know, summer feels like a time to be less serious.

Yeah, I didn't read them for a while and there was one or two that seemed to drag for me (probably just me)...but I really enjoyed these!

Hi Entangled: I like these better! I know what you mean...they gotta hold us! Too many books, too little time...If I put it down, that's pretty much it for that book...

Well, Annie, isn't that just the neatest thing! Small world, really, for you! I've followed her columns off and on in Country Living Gardener (? Hope I got that right!). She's such a wealth of information.

Hey, Annie...I haven't forgotten...I have to blog about hearing Felder Rushing! It was so fun! He was just the nicest man and posed for pictures so patiently, signed books, etc...and demonstrated the famous tire planter process for us! What a great time!

Oh, A Wildlife Garden, thank you for the invitation...I discovered that others (belatedly) were thinking along the same lines...but, hey, maybe that's just something else that binds us!

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