The China Bayles Herbal Mysteries

Mourning Gloria (#19)

While Pecan Springs bustles back to life in the warmth of spring, one woman's life is tragically brought to an end. China Bayles happens upon a burning house trailer and hears a woman screaming for help. The evidence leaves no doubt that it's arson homicide.

Jessica Nelson, an intern-reporter at the local paper, is assigned to cover the story. But she's gotten herself too deeply involved. When Jessica disappears, China is determined to find her, before she becomes headlines herself.

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

  • "Well-drawn secondary characters and lots of herbal lore... For readers who enjoy small-town settings and close-knit communities" —Booklist
  • "[The long-running series] continues to provide solid mysteries [and] fascinating herb lore..." —Kirkus
  • "China's followers will delight in the complicated relationships, recipes and historical flower information." —Kirkus Reviews
  • "Engaging...Shaker-inspired recipes, excerpts from a fictional Shaker journal, insights into the Shaker religion and plenty of herbal lore enhance another winner from this dependable veteran." —Publishers Weekly review of the award-winning Shaker village mystery, Wormwood
  • "A diabolically clever sleuth...China and Ruby make Batman and Robin look like amateurs." —Harriet Klausner
  • "Add another fragrant bloom to the dozen already in the bouquet of Albert's herbal cozies." —Publishers Weekly
  • "A visit to China Bayles' herb shop is always delightful...Albert's heroine just gets better defined as the books evolve." —Romantic Times
  • "Quirky, enlightening and surprisingly profound, Albert's China Bayles mysteries are an absolute delight to read: head and shoulders above most other amateur whodunits." —Ransom Notes


Read an excerpt from Mourning Gloria

Watch "Central Texas Gardener": Susan with show host Tom Spencer, of KLRU/TV, talking about Mourning Gloria and the effects of psychoactive plants that wake us up, make us drowsy, and make us high. For the YouTube video of the show, go here.

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Morning Glory
Mille phantasmata e daemonu obversatium effigies circumspectarent

Morning Glory This description of the hallucinogenic effects elicited by the Aztec "magical" preparation ololiuqui [morning glory seeds], was recorded by Francisco Hernández, personal physician to Philip II of Spain. He carried out extensive investigations on the flora and fauna of Mexico during the years 1570-75. [His report] contains a detailed description of the preparation and use of ololiuqui, and he notes that: "When the priests wanted to commune with their gods and receive a message from them...they ate this plant; and a thousand visions and satanic hallucinations appeared to them." This is one of the earliest written accounts of the use of a hallucinogen, and it provides cogent support for the belief that primitive cultures employed psychoactive plant extracts to gain access to the supernatural rather than for pleasure.

John Mann, Murder, Magic, and Medicine

Eighteenth book in the series: Holly Blues

Twentieth book in the series: Cat's Claw