Witches' Bane (China Bayles, #2)
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Witches' Bane (China Bayles #2)

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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  1,956 ratings  ·  91 reviews
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.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 1st 1994 by Berkley (first published 1993)
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Catherine Woodman
Strange things have been going on in the Texas town of Pecan Springs. A town resident has discovered dead chickens with piles of coins nearby. Another resident has discovered one of his goats killed, also with a pile of money nearby. To make matters even worse, China Bayles' friend Ruby Wilcox has started teaching a class on reading tarot cards. Then a Bible-thumping preacher arrives in Pecan Springs and starts accusing Ruby of devil worship. Are all these strange happening due to Ruby's witchcr...more
Dottie
Getting back to China Bayle's beginnings a bit for me. I enjoyed the story as always but found this one has a different flavor than some of those further along -- not better or wrose, just interesting to note the developmental changes. I enjoyed the Leatha/China relationship in this one though I'd encountered the facts of it in a later volume, it was good to actually experience the "in-person" unfolding of the storyline. This is something I love about SWA's series -- there is overlap when need b...more
Amber
This is the second book in the China Bayles Mystery series.

This is an enjoyable series. Each book is themed to an herb and something in the plot has to do with the herb in some way.
This book has to do with a death being made to look like it was done by someone into witch craft or cults and one of the characters grows a poisonous plant garden with witche's bane in it. Overall, I enjoyed the plot with it's twist and turns. I honestly had no clue who actually did the murder. My only disappointment...more
Sue
I'm glad I gave this series a second look. I really liked the first novel's main character, story, setting, and secondary characters but I was put off by the amount of language. I decided to try once more to see if it calmed down because the story was so good, and I was rewarded. The language was much less in this book and the story was good. I figured out the murderer pretty early but it was still fun to watch China figure it out and also discover the motive. China is an engaging heroine and sh...more
Mandolin
China Bayles left Houston and a successful but stressful career in law to settle in the small Texas town of Pecan Springs, where she hoped to find the peace and rest that her former life seriously lacked. Settling into her life as owner of an herb shop, Thyme and Seasons, China is able to find some degree of the peace that she sought. It's not long before she realizes, however, that even the quietest small towns are plagued by death and scandal. Only a year after solving the tragic murder of her...more
JoAnne
Three stars for the mystery, only one for China herself. She is undoubtedly one of the most selfish and mean-spirited women I have come across. Selfish because she's only considering her own needs in the book, not those of other people, and mean-spirited because she is just plain MEAN to her mother. Her mom, who is going through a 12 step program, comes to China to say she is sorry and wants to have a relationship with her daughter. She knows they will never be close, but she wants something, an...more
Abbey
BOTTOM LINE: This modern village cosy, the second in the now long-running China Bayles (herbalist/lawyer in Texas) series, was an entertaining mystery about strong women living good lives in a small town filled with not always very nice people.

Murder on Halloween, with over-excited religious fanatics on the prowl, dead chickens, and other gruesome findings. A shop filled with New Age items (including Tarot cards and crystals), annoys a lay preacher so much he gathers an increasingly rowdy crowd...more
Susan
China Bayles' friend Ruby enters into this second mystery as a murder sustect as a minister also accuses her of witchcraft. Ruby has a tarot and astrology shop attached to China's herb shop in Pecan Springs, a fictional small town somewhere in the Texas Hill Country. Again, Albert injects pithy bits of information about plants and herbs into her novels that made the book all that much more interesting to read. I went back when I finished the mystery and read about the herbs and their history. Ch...more
LJ
WITCHES' BANE - Ok
Albert Susan Wittig - 2nd in China Bayles series

Halloween is supposed to be scary—but someone's pulling pranks in Pecan Springs that go way beyond holiday hijinks. The creepiness culminates in a brutal murder—and China's friend Ruby becomes a prime suspect when a mudslinging minister accuses her of New-Age witchcraft. Now it's up to China to unmask the real killer...

China's herb shop in Pecan Springs, Texas, is a long way from the law firm in Houston. But China wanted to get aw...more
Pat
Mar 18, 2014 Pat rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: mystery
China Bayles, ex-lawyer, runs an herb shop and solves mysteries.
Women accused of witchcraft.
Woman who grows only poisonous plants is murdered.
Good.
Bea
Really enjoyed this book. It is the story of China Bayles, an ex-layer, who now runs an herb shop in a small town in Texas. Her shop is next door to a New Age store run by Ruby Wilcox, her best friend. And her boyfriend is an ex-cop who is an assistant professor in the criminal justice department of Central Texas State University. And, then there are the cast of characters of Pecan Springs, China's mother, two murders, a wrongly accused suspicious man who happens to be Ruby's love interest and a...more
Lisa
This second book in the China Bayles series is well done. The plot does involve some accusations of witchcraft and involvement in the occult, so if you just can't deal with those things, you can skip this one. I thought the author handled the subject well, giving no credence to those things (and pointing out that they only have power over you if you give it to them). She also briefly explores the difference between Wicca and witchcraft, which some folks may not have had a chance to learn. The pl...more
MJ
Its Halloween time and everyone in Pecan Springs, Texas is a little edgy. There has been talk of two deaths that may have been witch related murders, a number of ritualistic animal killings and now China Bayles good friend Ruby is holding a Tarot card reading class that has the local minister up in arms. To make matters worse after a local Halloween party held by a Wicca group one of the party goers is dead and all fingers are pointing at Ruby. But China knows her friend is innocent and as she g...more
Arlan Zimmerman
I was hooked on China Bayles in Book _#1 "Thyme of Death" I'll be reading Hangman's Root tomorrow.
Tina Hayes
I loved every page of "Witches Bane" and look forward to reading more in the China Bayles series. The characters were fun, the story moved along at a brisk pace, lots of humor was tossed in, clue gradually built toward solving the mystery, making this a very enjoyable book.

In this one, China's friend Ruby starts a Tarot class that gets the group accused of being witches, one member is bruatally murdered and the crime is pinned on Ruby's boyfriend Andrew, mysterious ritual killings involving chi...more
Susan
All of the China Bayles series books are written with a conversational style, and endearing sincerity. The characters are both loveable and believable as are the places. Albert describes things well enough to give you a picture for your mind's eye without allowing the descriptions to overtake the storyline. If you've never lived in Central Texas trust me when I tell you that this is as close as you can get without moving here! These books are a comfortable, easy read - equally good for rainy day...more
Andrea
Oct 24, 2012 Andrea is currently reading it
I'm in the process of reading this for the Fiction Book Club I am a member of at my local library. The book grabbed my attention after the first ten pages or so and over the past few days I'm now up to poge 89.

apparently this book waas chosen for its Haloween theme.

The murder unfolds and certainly is making me wonder "who did it?" Even my best guess doesn't appear to be the solution. I will just have to keep on reading until this puzzle is solved.

There are a lot of New Age references and talk...more
Alexandra
(2nd China Bayles)

I like this series although it's not one of my favorites. This entry was interesting because of it's specific brand of early Nineties feminism. (There's lots of talk about goddess religion, therapy groups, rediscovering of self etc. etc.) The mystery itself was pretty well done although I called the culprit the minute they came on the scene. I like that the main character's issues were treated seriously and not just resolved through the lovin' of a good man. Looking forward to...more
Heidi
"I really enjoyed my first taste of this cozy mystery series. The wait for the first book in the series was too long at my library, so I jumped in with book two. I love the characters, the setting, and most especially the bits of herb lore sprinkled throughout. I did solve the mystery early (rare for me and made me annoyed with the China) which is why I docked half a star from what is otherwise a four-star book for me. Recommended if you like cozies or are at all interested in herbs."
Michelle
I found the second book in the China Bayles series to be good but not as strong as the first. China is dealing with protests at her store, animal sacrifices, and a murder. While I still liked China, there wasn't a lot of character development in this one with the exception of her mother arriving and changing China's expectations. A decent, solid mystery, that was a fairly easy book to read. I look forward to better things in the third book.
Margaret
Aug 21, 2011 Margaret added it
Shelves: 2008
I saved reading this one until October - not bad, the first I've read of this author. Not sure if I'd go out of my way to read more of the series but better than some cozy series I've read. I kind of hated that the author used the too-common device plot of having the heroine accusing the murderer while they're alone in a deserted spot together. On the other hand, I thought the characters were interesting and fairly well-developed.
Heather Adkins
I just love China. She's so rough around the edges. Her intelligence becomes her. This was a great second novel in the series. I loved the shout out to Wiccans and the great explanations about my religion. It's a really great thing when a book that isn't geared towards the occult community speaks of Wicca in so positive a light. It dispels some of that bad juju built up over time by people who don't understand.
Yvonna
Still enjoy the characters. Didn't enjoy the storyline as much as the first book.
Katie
It was okay. Didn't feel like all that much was really going on. I will still try the next book as I sense they will only get better.
Patricia
Good book. Susan Witting Albert writes with a lot of details. I like that. It's a good book if you are in the mood for something light.
Karen
Second in the China Bayles murder mystery series. I am enjoying the character development and continuation of their lives in the series - I couldn't find the whole series at first, so read the 8th or 9th one first - NOT A GOOD IDEA - much more fun to read in order. This one had some interesting witch/wicca information. I consider it light reading.
Katie Hilton
Attention, my siblings. This is a murder mystery author new to me. Her heroine, China Bayles, a former criminal defense attorney who opens an herb shop, lives in the Texas Hill Country. Mom would have loved these books, I think! I will read the first one next so I don't remain out of order. Entertaining, especially if you love herb gardens.
Kristen
This is one of the books to get started into the China Bayles series. Like for any cozy series, I recommend to start with the first one and work your way up in order. This is a great series that deals with murder with a twist-the herbal variety. Plus Albert includes tidbits and information on a specific herbal ... like the witches bane here.
Kate
I've been appreciating the very slow character development in mystery series lately, and China Bayles fills my needs. A nice little mystery without too many over-the-top characters or pushy series-schtick (the herb thing isn't too intrusive) and a simple solution that logically proceeds from clues in the story. Ah. Mysteries of the early 90s.
Diane
After reading Book 1 in this series, which had some questionable language, I had decided not to read any more China Bayles. Then I happened to read a collection of short stories featuring China, An Unthymely Death and Other Garden Mysteries, which I completely enjoyed, so now I am back, and this one was was pretty good.
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Susan is the author/co-author of biographical/historical fiction, mysteries, and nonfiction.

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