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Widow's Tears (China Bayles) Hardcover – April 2, 2013

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Product Details

  • Series: China Bayles (Book 21)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; 1st Printing edition (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425255727
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425255728
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (162 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #469,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Mystery lovers… will be captivated by this unique series.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer “One of the most endearing and personable amateur sleuths.”—Midwest Book Review

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.

Customer Reviews

The story flows at a quick pace holding you attention until the very end.
Mason Canyon
Well written and good plot advance, the characters are described so as to let you feel you actually know them.
Lady Judith
Susan Wittig Albert latest book with China Bayles includes her best friend Ruby in an adventure.
Page person

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly R. Stagliano on April 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read and re-read all of the China Bayles books - they are like dear friends to me. This book takes a turn - shining the light on Ruby - rather like the book where China gave us the McQuaid POV as he investigated a murder involving his ex-wife Sally. While the story isn't as "comfortable" to me since it takes place outside of Pecan Springs, I adore how Ms. Wittig Albert allows her characters to really grow and change with the years. I was an avid fan of another best selling series author whose protag never grew up and whose books veered into the absurd. This is also the first China Bayles book where I had a sense of foreboding woven into the story - which made me turn pages (OK, click the Kindle) with speed! I can't thank Ms. Wittig Albert enough for so many years of quality reading - Beatrix Potter, the Southern Ladies and China Bayles - I love them all.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By L. Rigod on April 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This novel is twenty-first in a truly excellent series. We learn 'Widow's Tears' means grief in the language of Florigraphy. The title echoes the theme of this tale.

In the Prologue of the novel, we follow the harrowing tale, snatched from actual history of the infamous hurricane of Galveston in the year 1900, which remains to this day, one of the largest, if not the largest, loss of life. The tale revolves around the Blackwood house and family.

Present day, we find Ruby Wilcox, best friend and business partner of sleuth China Bayles, being summoned to her close friend, Claire's new inheritance...the Blackwood House in Round Top, Texas. Claire feels the house is haunted and needs Ruby's sensitivity to the paranormal to clear the issue up in order to build a bed and breakfast.

As the suspense builds in both stories, we are treated to another layer when China, heading out to meet Ruby, encounters the ending of a Bank Robbery in Pecan Springs, where her friend is murdered.

As usual, Ms. Wittig-Albert is a deft hand at building suspense and creating twists and turns during the inter-weaving of the multiple strands of storylines. How the layers touch and finally blend together was amazing and I found that I had read the complete book is just over six hours.

As a bonus, we are given delicious sounding recipes to try out as well in the back of the book. We are given resources to further our interest in the Galveston Hurricane, and a small sampling of the language of Florigraphy. What more can we ask for?

O.K., I will...Please, will you write the next novel soon?
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By SLR on April 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This one was so interesting I read it in record time and now I wish for more. I am so happy that Ruby was brought into the light (pardon the pun) and was allowed to use her gifts. This is a glimpse into Texas/hurricane history (making you want to investigate that subject more), a murder mystery, and a truly fascinating look into paranormal house hauntings...and adds another character that will be in Ruby's life in future books. In addition you get a quick look at Ruby's sister who is anything but likeable. This is the best of all Susan's China Bayles books because it doesn't cough up dry, already done murders in China's community. Refreshing, interesting, fun and a fabulous ride into the ethers. Love it, buy it!!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mindy's Mom on May 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought this was actually one of best books. It wasn't the usual crime and death. It was somewhat historical but the story added a nice twist. I would recommend it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Tassotto VINE VOICE on May 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is the 21st in the CHINA BAYLES series of cozy mysteries.

Those who are familiar with this series (and those who are not should begin at the beginning) are well aware that the series focuses on Texas lawyer turned herbalist China Bayles, her extended (and expanding) family and friends and is usually set in and around Pecan Springs. From time to time the author has taken China out of town or expanded the point of view to another character, after all just how many dead bodies can one shop owner be reasonably expected to find in a small town? This time the author has not only shifted the location of the story but also moved one of the supporting characters, Ruby, into the lead role while relegating China to a secondary spot. This makes for an interesting change of pace from the rest of the series but hopefully the author is not abandoning China and her family permanently.

Ruby had been blessed (or cursed depending on your point of view) with psychic abilities. Like her grandmother before her, Ruby knew what people were thinking, whether she wanted to or not. At times she could reach out to the other side, to see and communicate with the dead. For the most part Ruby would have preferred that her grandmother had left her something else, because her abilities frightened her more than anything else. Still, at times these gifts did come in handy so when Claire, an old friend, reached out to Ruby for help Ruby was reluctant to tell her no. Claire had inherited a large Victorian era house that seemed to have a past inhabitant still in residence. As children Ruby had seen and described an apparition in the house so when Claire moved in and began having her own encounters she naturally turned to Ruby for help.
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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.) I've also published several nonfiction books under my imprint, Persevero Press.

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