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Chile Death (China Bayles Mystery) Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1999


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$7.99 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Chile Death (China Bayles Mystery) + Love Lies Bleeding (China Bayles Mystery) + Rueful Death (China Bayles Mystery)
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Chile is the pepper; chili (or sometimes chilli) is the spicy stew made with it. That's the first of many lessons about food, love, and death in Susan Wittig Albert's latest mystery about China Bayles, the Texas Hill Country lawyer turned herbalist and crime solver. Although Albert lives in the Texas Hill Country herself, she swears that China's hometown, Pecan Springs (which must have a higher per capita death rate than anyplace outside of Jessica Fletcher's Maine village), is fictional. So we have to believe that nobody really killed one of the judges of the annual Cedar Choppers Chili Cook-off by adding peanuts to his tasting sample and causing a deadly allergic reaction.

But China and her lover, ex-cop Mike McQuaid, believe it--especially after the dead chili judge, Jerry Jeff Cody, turns out to have a swampful of dirty secrets. So Albert begins a clever dance, keeping Bayles and the bedridden McQuaid (shot while working for the Texas Rangers) in just enough danger to maintain an atmosphere of suspense while also slipping in enough chile lore to outfit a chain of Taco Bells. The format may be familiar, but Albert is one of the best in the business at making it look newly hatched. Other Bayles books include Love Lies Bleeding, Thyme of Death, and Rueful Death. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

China Bayles, the only ex-lawyer/herbalist/sleuth in Pecan Springs, TexasAand perhaps anywhere elseAoffers an appealing measure of hot chili lore to go with the abundance of hot water in which she finds herself in her seventh outing (after Love Lies Bleeding, 1997). Life changes are coming at China fast and furiously. Boyfriend Mike McQuaid is still at the Manor, a rehabilitation center and nursing home, struggling to recover from a paralyzing gunshot wound. Best friend Ruby is pressing her to partner a new business venture, and China is trying her hand at writing for the local newspaper. The action heats up at the annual Cedar Choppers Chili Cookoff when local cooks (including some who have never lifted a pot before) compete to see who can rustle up the best and hottest chili. Cookoff judge Jerry Jeff Cody dies of a severe allergic reaction, but China and McQuaid doubt that it was an accident since Cody, a slick insurance salesman, had given many folks motive for murderAincluding his divorce-seeking wife, Roxanne; his current flame, Felicia Travis; his angry business partner, Pokey Clendennen; and various jealous husbands. Adding some thefts and possible abuses of patients at the Manor, Albert offers a satisfying plot, not too spicy, just right.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: China Bayles Mystery (Book 7)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Berkley Prime Crime Mass-market Ed edition (October 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425171477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425171479
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #471,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.




Customer Reviews

Albert's books are great fun to read.
K. L Sadler
Aside from that, it also presents an able and well constructed mystery and some interesting characterisations.
Helen
Chile Death has made me want to read the earlier books of this series and I am going to buy them.
"claddagh5"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Pauline Cramer on March 29, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Chile Death, as well as the other books in the China Bayles series, will speak to working women who wish they could abandon their current career path and follow their bliss and also to those who have already made major career changes. China Bayles, a successful attorney, quits her job after working for 15 years in a large lawfirm in Houston Texas. She moves to a small town in central Texas and and opens a herb shop. She uses her aptitude for investigation and her skills and training as a lawyer to run a successful business and solve mysteries as well. I liked Rosemary Remembered, but I loved Chile Death. The books in the series get better and better. A variety of issues and relationships are explored. I like the way minor characters in one book are developed into major characters in a later book. China Bayles is a character that I can identify with, but she is a complex character and has her own lessons to learn. I grew up in Texas, and I feel right at home with these fictional characters and the settings. Pecan Springs is a town in which I would like to live. Reading about food in Chile Death has inspired to use a variety of chili peppers in my own cooking. The creation of this series of books is a glorious achievement for Albert.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Pam on November 1, 1998
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The latest entry in the China Bayles' mysteries is terrific. The imaginary world of Pecan Springs and its cast of characters just keeps getting better. China's most recent adventures leave the reader wanting more. I enjoy reading the quotes about various herb lore. I am looking forward to the next book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is wonderful, less for the puzzle of the mystery, (it's NOT that hard to figure out who did it, although you still have to figure how and why) than for the unfolding story of China, Mike, Ruby, and all.
I can forgive Albert a small attack of deus ex machina as she helps Ruby make China an offer she can't refuse. And I appreciate the fact that she hasn't chosen to suddenly heal Mike, although she doesn't seem to have done all her homework about how his disability affects his relationship with China in ways other than sex. (Note to the author: It's impossible to just casually push a big man in a wheelchair accross gravel, especially if you are pushing one outdoors for almost the first time!)
There are passages here that I forced my husband to listen to as I read them aloud. Albert has a fine ear for smartaleck repartee.
And for goodness sakes, DO try the recipies...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mamalinde on March 18, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
An exceedingly clever Texas cozy mystery, featuring China Bayles, former lawyer turned herb shop owner, in what is about the middle of a series of books by Ms. Albert. The characterization and interaction of characters is exceptionally inspired and the reader really feels she knows these folks before the book is finished - they live and breathe - well, all except the corpse, who doesn't survive the chili tasting contest and who no one is particularly sorry to see go. While the writing is well above competency, the plot does meander quite a bit. The chili / chile trivia throughout the book was interesting enough that the spousal unit took heed, and the recipe for cake with cayenne pepper was also a huge success! I particularly appreciate that not only do I have more China Bayles books to look forward to, but also a very fun website to visit these new old friends. Not only did I learn a lot about herbs and what you can do with them, I'm also learning about chili/chile and thoroughly enjoying the work of an exceedingly talented and smart writer.
If you like books with recipes, and have exhausted this series, let me suggest and recommend WORLD OF PIES (also set in Texas) and the Dianne Mott Davidson books. And the wilder women out there, might want to try the two Sweet Potato Queen books.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MLPlayfair on November 26, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
And she continues to solve mysteries -- but not by herself. This series, one of my favorites, seems unfortunately to be losing a little of its identity. As the character loses her independence, she's surrendering some of the feistiness that made the series what it is. In this entry, she starts taking direction from her future husband and, as she does so, she's losing me as a devoted fan. The book is also about 50 pages too long; during the long middle section, I kept finding myself setting it down and doing other things, restless for the book to get on with it. I wouldn't say I was really disappointed, because she's a great mystery writer. Rather, the book isn't faithful to what the series started out to be. I can't fault the author for wanting to take the character in a new direction -- it's up to us whether to follow or not. But, darn it, I really enjoyed the first books in the series. I hope the fun comes back in future books in the series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 17, 1998
Format: Hardcover
China Bayles, owner of Thymes and Seasons, knows that the annual Chedar Choppers Chili Cookoff in Pecan Springs, Texas is going to be bittersweet for her this year. Her significant other Mike McQuade will be making his first public appearance at the event since being paralyzed by a bullet. Though some mobility has returned to his upper body, Mike refuses to discuss marriage plans with China because he does not want to burden her with a half of a man, who may never be able to make love with her ever again.

Mike seems a bit revitalized and more like his old self as he judges the chili contest. However euphoria turns to tragedy when a judge dies while tasting one of the entries, which contained peanuts as one of its ingredients. Everyone knew the deceased was allergic to peanuts, but no body believes foul play occurred except Mike, who earlier learned the victim was the recipient of threats. Mike and China investigate what really happened. As he seems to be more like his old self, China is delighted even though she is coming to the attention of a desperate killer who wants to remain anonymous.
The latest China Bayles novel is absolutely terrific and probably is the best work to date in this wonderful series. CHILI DEATH has mainstream, mystery and romantic suspense appeal that will please fans of all genres. Susan Wittig Albert tastefully and sensitively delves into personal issues like impotence, paralysis, and depression and their impact on a relationship. While doing this with class, the author demonstrates that she still has the who-done-it touch that has earned her a reputation for her complex mysteries, turning this detective novel into a solid winner for a wide corps of readers.

Harriet Klausner
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