The China Bayles Herbal Mysteries

Lavender Lies (#8)

"Good riddance" is the response of most Pecan Springs residents to the murder of Edgar Coleman, a local real estate shark found shot to death in his garage. With the small-town gossip mill running full tilt, it doesn't take long for China to learn that Coleman had numerous affairs and was blackmailing City Council members for their votes on a bad land development deal.

But the timing of this particular crime couldn't be worse, for China's wedding to long-time lover Mike McQuaid is just a few days away and she's busy making the last-minute arrangements. With McQuaid now serving as interim police chief, and the suspect list growing longer by the minute, China can forget about a honeymoon—unless she can locate the killer.

Discussion questions for Lavender Lies
Warning! Contains spoilers (plot hints).

Here's what reviewers have to say about the China Bayles mysteries!

  • "Mistletoe Man deals with new marriages, estranged friendships, and the mature knowledge that one person cannot save the world but can make it a bit better for everyone. The personal side enhances a fantastic mystery filled with curves that leave the reader guessing until the end, a trademark of Ms. Albert." —Harriet Klausner
  • "The pace is as peppy as a Texas two-step...Albert's dialogue and characterizations put her in a class with lady sleuths V.I. Warshawski and Stephanie Plum... Throughout this intricately plotted and deliciously descriptive tale, China proves herself intelligent, independent, persistent and compassionate. This is a funny, human story that will give Albert's admirers a ringing jingle bell romp." —Publisher's Weekly
  • "Mystery lovers who also garden will be captivated by this unique series." —Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  • "A treat for gardeners who like to relax with an absorbing mystery." —North American Gardener

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[abridged; read by Susan]

Lavender
Lavender

If you love lavender, you're not alone in your passion. The clean, refreshing scent of its delicate flowers was cherished by the Egyptians (who used it to make mummies), the Phoenicians, the Greeks, and the Romans (who called it lavender, from their verb lavere, to wash), and by gardeners everywhere. The plant has been used to scent soaps, cosmetics, potpourris, and sachets. You can also use it in your bath, or put a few drops of essential oil on your hair brush. You can even use it to flavor cookies and cakes, make tangy vinegars and punches, and brew fragrant teas. You can also weave lavender hearts.

Lavender Muffins
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • ½ stick of butter
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another. Add the wet to the dry, stirring only until the dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not beat.) Fill greased muffin tin (or paper muffin cups). Bake about 20 minutes, until golden. Makes 1 dozen.

Seventh book in the series: Chile Death

Ninth book in the series: Mistletoe Man