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Bloodroot (China Bayles Mystery) Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 9, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: China Bayles Mystery
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; 1st edition (October 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425181901
  • ASIN: B000093TQC
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,943,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A wonderful reading experience.”—Midwest Book Review
 
“A unique series.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer
 
“Albert has created captivating new characters and a setting dripping with atmosphere.”—Publishers Weekly

 
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About 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.
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Customer Reviews

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more China Bayles mysteries.
Dawn Dowdle
China Bayles fans will love it and it will appeal to many others who would not otherwise read one of these mysteries.
Moe811
I loved the characters, the mystery, the descriptions and just about everything about the book.
Carmen Leal

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
China Bayles is a self made independent woman who turned her back on her mother's Mississippi family because she refused to conform to the old South's vision of how a woman should behave. She lives in Pecan Springs, Texas with her husband and stepson. She proudly owns the Thyme and Sears herb shop and is co-owner of Thyme for Tea teashop. She has no plans to return to the family plantation of Jordan's Crossing until her mother calls her because she needs her help.

When China arrives at the old homestead, she learns that her great-aunt Tullie, a victim of Huntington's Disease, has struck down the plantation manager in a pique of anger. China's mother argues with her daughter that the irate manager walked out of the house enraged, but he has since disappeared. The police want to question Tullie about the spat. As China struggles to balance family loyalty with her legal responsibilities, she unearths secrets that should stay buried in the land that created them.

This is a different China Bayles unlike the one readers have come to know and love. The audience sees her as a true daughter of the south, fully cognizant of the rules, expectations and ties that bind her to a place she no longer can call home but has a hold on her loyalties. There are mysteries aplenty in BLOODROOT, some of them of the otherworldly kind. The author allows us to see, through the fist person narrative, how a Southern woman copes with her environment. This is a wonderful reading experience.

Harriet Klausner
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Moe811 on November 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
China Bayles has an ambivalent relationship with her mother Leatha. Leatha spent most of China's childhood and adulthood in an alcoholic fog. Leatha is now on the wagon, but with so much baggage the relationship is still difficult. Leatha is staying with her sick Aunt Tullie on the family plantation in Mississippi, and there is something very wrong. The manager, Wylie, has announced to Leatha and Tullie that he has a deed to the land under the plantation's main house, is assaulted by the angry old woman and disappears. Leatha, naturally very worried, begs China to come out and help her solve the problem. Reluctantly, China drives to Mississippi to resolve the problems, but they are deeper and more difficult than she realizes.
This is a much more personal mystery for China. In her other stories, she always seems just a little removed from the action. In this one, she is deeply involved with each and every one of the main characters, and related to most of them. Her family has more secrets than she or Leatha ever realized. The ghosts are a nice touch. They add to the atmosphere of the old house. This is a very enjoyable mystery. China Bayles fans will love it and it will appeal to many others who would not otherwise read one of these mysteries.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) VINE VOICE on March 24, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Susan Wittig Albert's China Bayles series has had its high points, as well as low points where several books in a row seemed to have the same plot, and where the murderer always seemed to be that one character who didn't have any real reason to be in the book *unless* s/he was the culprit. With _Bloodroot_, Albert rises above a few blah-ish books midseries, and proves she is a unique talent in the mystery field.
China is summoned by her mother to the family's old plantation, where her ailing Aunt Tullie is in trouble. See, Aunt Tullie was the last to see an old childhood playmate of China's, who claimed to have a deed to the plantation and now is missing. She had motive, means, and opportunity. And unless China can figure out what's going on, her ailing aunt may go to jail.
Haunted by a recurring dream from her childhood, and assisted by the ghost of a suicidal ancestress, China uncovers dark secrets in her family's past, from slavery and ill-treatment of Native Americans to hereditary diseases, illegitimate pregnancies, and murder. Albert paints an enthralling picture of her setting, showing both its beauty and its decadence. And I love these touches of "magical realism" she uses from time to time. As an added bonus, I had no clue whodunit until very close to the end!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Cathy Goodwin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Like Murphy's Law, Bloodroot represents a departure from the author's usual place and, to some extent, time. Albert's popular heroine, China Bayles, left her criminal law career to open an herb shop in a small Texas town. Here China leaves her home and her new husband to answer a plea from her mother, Leatha, at the family plantation in Mississippi.
China finds her great-aunt has finally become too ill to run the business. A man has produced a deed claiming ownership to the family property. When he is found dead, China must look in the past for answers, to protect her family and her long-ago friends.
What seemed to be a long-ago dream turns out to hold the key to the interlocking mysteries of family, property and murder. Albert evokes the steamy summers and equally steamy secrets of life in a family that takes its dysfunctional qualities from the post-Civil War southern culture.
The narrative moves swiftly, except for the many details about China's family tree that are needed to understand clues, red herrings and an ultimately satisfying ending. China's detective work, made easier by friendships formed in childhood, solves the crime. However, the family's secrets are unraveled by documents that literally turn up when China needs them most.
The focus on history does take away the uniqueness of China's character, which blossoms in her home setting. At times I thought I was reading about Shankman's heroine, Samantha. And the uniquely southern blend of supernatural, dreams and real life reminded me of McCrumb's folksong series.
Then again, people often lose part of themselves when they return home for a visit. Although Bloodroot offers a pleasant variation in the series, I suspect readers, like China, would like to get back to her herb shop in Texas.
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More About the Author

I live in the Hill Country of Central Texas, on 31 acres, where I write, garden for food (passionately), raise chickens, and practice the fiber arts. I am concerned about issues of global warming, energy depletion, and food production. You can find out more about my life in my memoirs: Together, Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place; and An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days.

I'm traditionally published as a mystery author with Berkley Prime Crime. I have two continuing series: the China Bayles Herbal Mysteries and The Darling Dahlias, about a Southern garden club in the 1930s. You might also enjoy my eight-book series, the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and the series that my husband Bill Albert and I coauthored under the pseudonym of Robin Paige.

I'm also an author-publisher. A WILDER ROSE is a novel about the mother-daughter team that produced the Little House books, based on the diaries and journals of Rose Wilder Lane and the letters of her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder. (There's an extensive READER'S COMPANION for this book, available at www.aWilderRoseTheNovel.com.) The book is now available from Lake Union Publishing.





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