A Plain Vanilla Murder

A Plain Vanilla Murder

Susan Wittig Albert

Historical Fiction / Mystery

From Susan Wittig Albert, the New York Times best-selling author of Queen Anne's Lace, comes an intriguing new addition to her widely-acclaimed China Bayles Mysteries. ​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...
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Chile Death

Chile Death

Susan Wittig Albert

Historical Fiction / Mystery

China Bayles is looking forward to the annual chili cook-off in Pecan Springs. And when the event arrives, she takes along her fiance, giving both of them a nice break from China's visiting (i.e., meddling) mother. But then cook-off judge Jerry Jeff Cody dies of an allergic reaction--to a peanut. Everyone knows peanuts don't belong in a bowl of Texas chili ... and China knows something suspicious is afoot. Now, with rumors flying about foul play--and whispered stories about Jerry Jeff's womanizing ways things are heating up all over ...
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Widow's Tears

Widow's Tears

Susan Wittig Albert

Historical Fiction / Mystery

Herbalist and ex-lawyer China Bayles is "in a class with lady sleuths V. I. Warshawski and Stephanie Plum." In Widow's Tears, a haunted house may hold the key to solving the murder of one of China's friends... After losing her husband, five children, housekeeper, and beautiful home in the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, Rachel Blackwood rebuilt her home, and later died there, having been driven mad with grief. In present-day Texas, Claire, the grand niece 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...
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The Darling Dahlias and the Poinsettia Puzzle

The Darling Dahlias and the Poinsettia Puzzle

Susan Wittig Albert

Historical Fiction / Mystery

It's Christmas, 1934, and the citizens of Darling, Alabama, are unwrapping a big package of Christmas puzzles. Mildred Kilgore and Earlynne Biddle are planning to open a bakery on the square—if they can come up with the right recipes. Charlie Dickens faces two of the biggest puzzles of his career as an investigative reporter, and one of them involves his wife. Cute little Cupcake's talent as a singer and dancer makes her a tempting target for an unscrupulous exploiter; Lizzy must enlist the Dahlias to protect her, while she herself is confronted by a romantic puzzle. And Sheriff Norris is forced to reopen a puzzling mystery that the town thought was solved and follow a string of clues that lead to a deadly situation at the nearby prison farm. Once again, NYT best-selling author Susan Wittig Albert takes us to a place where real people have courage, respect their neighbors, and dream of doing their best, even when they're not sure what that is. She...
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The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star

The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star

Susan Wittig Albert

Historical Fiction / Mystery

National bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert returns to the small town of Darling, Alabama, in the 1930s—where the Darling Dahlias, the colorful ladies of a garden club, are anything but shrinking violets when it comes to rooting out criminals... The Texas Star herself—Miss Lily Dare, the "fastest woman in the world"—is bringing her Dare Devils Flying Circus to Darling. Unfortunately, she's also bringing a whole lot of trouble. As the Dahlias prepare for the annual Watermelon Festival—where they will present the famous female aviatrix with her own Texas Star hibiscus—rumors are flying. Dahlias president Liz Lacy learns from newspaperman Charlie Dickens that Miss Dare has been threatened and her plane sabotaged. Apparently the bold and beautiful barnstormer has made plenty of enemies. And is it possible she may even be involved with the husband of one of Darling's local ladies? And speaking of wings, the new cook at...
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A Wilder Rose: A Novel

A Wilder Rose: A Novel

Susan Wittig Albert

Historical Fiction / Mystery

In 1928, Rose Wilder Lane—world traveler, journalist, much-published magazine writer—returned from an Albanian sojourn to her parents’ Ozark farm. Almanzo Wilder was 71, Laura 61, and Rose felt obligated to stay and help. To make life easier, she built them a new home, while she and Helen Boylston transformed the farmhouse into a rural writing retreat and filled it with visiting New Yorkers. Rose sold magazine stories to pay the bills for both households, and despite the subterranean tension between mother and daughter, life seemed good.Then came the Crash. Rose’s money vanished, the magazine market dried up, and the Depression darkened the nation. That’s when Laura wrote her autobiography, “Pioneer Girl,” the story of growing up in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, on the Kansas prairie, and by the shores of Silver Lake. The rest—the eight remarkable books that followed—is literary history.But it isn’t the history we thought we knew. For the surprising truth is that Laura’s stories were publishable only with Rose’s expert rewriting. Based on Rose’s unpublished diaries and Laura’s letters, A Wilder Rose tells the true story of the decade-long, intensive, and often troubled collaboration that produced the Little House books—the collaboration that Rose and Laura deliberately hid from their agent, editors, reviewers, and readers.Why did the two women conceal their writing partnership? What made them commit what amounts to one of the longest-running deceptions in American literature? And what happened in those years to change Rose from a left-leaning liberal to a passionate Libertarian?In this impeccably researched novel and with a deep insight into the book-writing business gained from her own experience as an author and coauthor, Susan Wittig Albert follows the clues that take us straight to the heart of this fascinating literary mystery.
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Death Come Quickly

Death Come Quickly

Susan Wittig Albert

Historical Fiction / Mystery

"One of the most endearing and personable amateur sleuths" (Midwest Book Review), herbalist and ex-lawyer China Bayles is back. In Death Come Quickly, a friend's murder may be the key to solving a fifteen-year-old cold case... 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. 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...
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Spanish Dagger

Spanish Dagger

Susan Wittig Albert

Historical Fiction / Mystery

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.
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