Thyme of Death (China Bayles, #1)
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Thyme of Death (China Bayles #1)

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  5,393 ratings  ·  250 reviews
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. Now, when China's friend Jo dies of an apparent suicide, China looks behind the quaint facade of Pecan Springs. Though she finds a lot of friendly faces, China is sur...more
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 1st 1994 by Berkley Prime Crime (first published 1992)
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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is first in the China Bayles series. I absolutely loved it. I couldn't put it down until I finished. Easy reading but lots of fun from beginning to end.
Mar 20, 2008 MJ rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to MJ by: Lydia
Former Texas Lawyer turned herb shop owner China Bayles is not having a good week. It started out ok but it went straight downhill. First her good friend Jo Gilbert dies and it looks like suicide. But China and her friend Ruby donot buy it. Yea Jo was sick but she was a fighter and would not have given up. Then during the one night that week she might get to spend some good quality time with Mike McQuaid, Roz Kotner returns to town and wants to stay in China's guest cottage. After that someone b...more
Karen Syed
Well, I finally did it. I jumped into yet another series of books that everyone said would have me hooked before I finished book one. Guess what? They were right.

I spent a couple of weeks (keep in mind I get to read a chapter every couple of days) reading THYME OF DEATH, the first in the China Bayles mystery series written by Susan Wittig Albert. China is a really neat character, a little bit of fun wrapped up in a serious package.

The story comes together in a nice little homespun package of q...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Nov 03, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mystery Fans Looking for Something New to Read
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
This is the first book in a series featuring China Bayles, our first person narrator, who quit her high-powered job as a criminal defense attorney to become the owner of a herbal store in small-town Pecan Springs, Texas. Next door is one of her best friends, Ruby, who owns a New Age store. Their friend, Jo, is found dead an apparent suicide but things aren't as they seem, and soon there are several suspects for her murder.

The style was smooth enough, but not distinctive, nor was there enough wi...more
I liked this book, very easy to read and kept my interest. However, saying that, I found that if I put it down, I wasn't very anxious to pick it up again, but once I did, I enjoyed reading it.

The beginning of the book felt a bit dated with reference to the fashions of the time and some of the slang, plus it seemed like all the people in town had worn something green at one time or other in the book! The author pulled a few unfair punches toward the end of the book by giving information that onl...more
Lori Henrich
Pecan Springs, Texas is a nice place to live. At least China Bayles thinks so. Coming from a former lawyer that is high praise. After leaving the law she became a resident of Pecan Springs and the owner of Thyme and Seasons. Everything is going along pretty well until a good friend is found dead of an apparent suicide. Ruby, who shares the other half of the shop, is adamant that Jo would never kill herself and she is going to investigate whether China believes her or not.

China goes about her bus...more
Susan Wittig Albert is a talented writer--everything is well done: characters, plot, dialog, description, clues, pacing, style. So why didn't I like this book more? Well, maybe it is just too "modern" for me. I don't like my heroine behaving the way China Bayles does. I am irritated at her for treating sexual relationships with such casual disdain that she uses her boyfriend for physical gratification at the same time as she is manipulating things so that he cannot push her for a permanent commi...more
Early nineties feminism...yowch guys. I sort of missed this era, since I was very young as it happened and we didn't exactly address it as such in college (too recent I suppose), but if this book encapsulates a common view of nineties feminists then I can see why feminists and feminism got such a bad name in there with so many people. Selfish bitches: getting divorces! doing what they want! being secret lesbians! wearing stirrup pants! using men for sex! withholding evidence! cussing! hating the...more
Dec 30, 2010 Chrystal rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Chrystal by: Lynda Bracken
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Like most mysteries, I enjoyed the buildup and intrigue more than the resolution. It seems like it's always more fun to wonder than to know.

The cast of characters was interesting, and I really took a liking to China, I have definitely been tempted at times to quit working for the man and go off to do something interesting and potentially more emotionally fulfilling like going off to run an herb shop. I liked that the author didn't have China rely on information from convenient law enforcement fr...more
Toni berkshire
Sep 15, 2007 Toni berkshire rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mystery readers
Started this in the first of China Bayles series because I liked the Beatrix Potter mysteries under pen name of Susan Wittig Albert, however not so fond of this first book. Don't especially like the setting, Texas, nor the "NOW" styles of some of the characters. Will give the series another chance with the second book in the series and will also try the series written with her husband under name of Robin Paige. Hoping for better
I finally read the first book in the China Bayles series! After reading this, some things made more sense in the other three books I've read in this series. Go figure, huh? This is a great series if you like mysteries with a spunky female lead, and if you are interested in learning about different herbs. It reminds me of the tv show Rosemary and Thyme.
These mysteries by Susan Wittig Albert are very personable who dunits. The main character, China Bayles is a no nonsense snoop. Each book centers around some herb and includes recipes for cooking, medicinal use, and beauty.
This is the first book in the China Bayles mystery series. I don't usually like murder mysteries, but love the characters in this "fictional" town of Pecan Springs, Texas. This is a nice light read...
I enjoyed this book from page one and read it non stop to its conclusion. This is the first book in a series I read and it opened me to others: Stephanie Plum, Benni Harper, Goldie
Sep 04, 2007 Jo rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: fiction, mystery, texas
Another great mystry in TX. with her famous botanical twist.
Maybe living this close to a major city has given me a kind of distant interest in small-town-folk. But more likely, some of Miss Albert's characters just annoyed me. Especially China.

China Bayles has left her law practice to open up a herb store in a fictional small town in Texas. Her best friend, Ruby owns the New Age store (and she is so stereotypically "New Age" that it actually hurts to read sometimes). Candace writes for the local newspaper and there's even a "big evil corporation" vibe in...more
Yvann S
"Or did he just say to her, 'My dear Ms. Gilbert, I really think it would be extremely helpful if you took these pills so my corporation and I can make a cool five or ten million dollars on this airport deal'?"

You guys! I have a new mystery series! In my usual overenthusiasm about discovering a long series, I have tried to track down the full series - I wanted to get them in audiobook for the gym, but only about half of the China Bayles series has been done in audio, so I'll be switching it up....more
Another themed mystery, or 'cookie cutter' as they were described. I think I get pulled in by the puns in the titles as much as anything but this series has reasonable, realistic (mostly)characters and the situations are not stretched too far. This is the first in the series so there's a lot of setting the situation, describing characters and their relationships to each other. I like the way China goes in and out of her lawyer persona because it's what a real person would do. If a discussion beg...more
At first, I was not sure if I was going to like this one. I was not sure if the mystery of whether or not Jo killed herself or if she was murdered would hold my interest, but I was pleasantly surprised when the storyline developed and the plot thickened.
I enjoyed the relationship between the 3 characters... Meredith, China, and Ruby. I liked the way they supported each other, but they were believable. They did not always agree with what the others were doing and they did not blindly follow each...more
While I'm not a huge mystery fan, I like to think of myself as a cool, hip gal (though my choice in terminology automatically disproves that theory) that prefers cool, hip mysteries like The Secret History to any Ladies No.1 Detective Agency.

But here's the thing- I'm a sucker for vividly wrought bucolic scenes and sleepy hamlets where dastardly deeds are afoot, where the mystery is solved by a charming chamomile and valerian-delivering, chrysanthemum-snipping heroine with a checkered past and t...more
This book had a pretty good mystery in it, but I found the people to be either stereotypical or just wrong. Her best friend Ruby, is a New Ager - and she constantly tries to get everyone to her way of thinking. She's also pretty weird. By that, I mean she has orange frizzy hair and likes to wear RED. Not a good choice. Also, her outfits are pretty "out there". In a large city like where I live, people would notice, but they'd just shrug their shoulders. In a small town? Not likely. Just because...more
This first in a series about former Texas high-powered lawyer China Bayles, who moved to small-town Pecan Springs to open an herb shop and gets mixed up in murder was not a bad read.

China decided that the law was too toxic for having a happy life, and that Pecan Springs would be the perfect antidote. She loves running her shop and growing her herbs and even the people of small-town Texas. Things seem perfect, until China's dear friend Jo is found dead.

Jo was terminally ill, and dead set against...more
Thyme of Death is the first book in Albert's China Bayles series and it's excellent. I really enjoyed this book, with it's rich, multi-layered characters and cleverly crafted mystery plot. China came off as being a relatable, competent, intelligent and (mostly) likable character. Her previous career as a lawyer certainly makes her a bit more suited and competent to sleuthing than a great deal of other cozy's I've read. I also liked that she tried to look at things from different ways, not just j...more
Jul 26, 2009 Booklogged rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Booklogged by: Shaneen
This is the first in a cozy mystery series featuring China Bayles, an ex-lawyer turned small town herbalist. I enjoyed this book and will, no doubt, read more in the series. I don't usually figure out who the killer is, but this one I had it pegged with a third of the book left. There were still interesting twists and turns that made it pleasurable reading.

About rating systems: They need to be qualified. I giving this book a 4 out of 5 rating, but that's a 4 in cozy mystery terms which is not ne...more
I thought the first book in this series was pretty much standard fare cozy mystery with nothing that stood out enough to either dismiss or recommend it. I decided to give Susan Wittig Albert a second chance and found the second book to be a total disaster. I identified “who done it” as soon as the character was introduced and an entire sub-plot was left completely unresolved despite being a significant part of the story complete with several broad hints about how it may be resolved. Because I am...more
I had to read some 'cozy" mysteries this week as I am creating a mystery trivia game for work and need to be all inclusive. This book was funny to me as it is set in the fictional town of "Pecan Springs" Texas - located halfway between Austin and San Antonio, home of the fictional Central Texas State University and filled with the actual San Marcos river. I think the author lives near Wimberley. The cops are appropriately named Bubba. They look and sound remarkably like people I knew. They say t...more
After recently reading An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days (Southern Writers Collection Series) by Susan Wittig Albert by Susan Wittig Albert I decided to re-read this first in the China Bayles series, and to continue reading the series. I read a few of these many years ago, and while I really enjoyed them, just didn't continue reading. I really enjoy the gardening references, as well as the inclusion of some recipes and other uses for herbs that are included. This fictional town of Pecan Springs, Texas sounds like a place I would like to visit. The mystery was a little obvious, but was a fun and fast rea...more
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Susan is the author/co-author of biographical/historical fiction, mysteries, and nonfiction.

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