The China Bayles Herbal Mysteries

Queen Anne's Lace (#26)
A Pecan Springs Mystery

A present day ghost leads China Bayles to a secret from Pecan Springs' past in this haunting new mystery.

Strange things are happening at Thyme and Seasons: misplaced items, a ringing bell, and the appearance of lavender sprigs in odd places. When a customer mentions seeing a mysterious woman picking flowers nearby and then suddenly disappearing, China must finally admit what Ruby has always known--their building is haunted.

But who is their ghost? And why is she appearing now? The fragile, delicate beauty of Queen Anne's lace holds the secret to a long-dead past—or a past that isn't quite as dead as China might like to believe.

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

  • "Another truly riveting read for dedicated mystery buffs by a true master of the genre."
    Midwest Book Review

  • "[Albert] consistently turns out some of the best-plotted mysteries on the market."
    Houston Chronicle

  • "Engrossing...China continues to appeal with her herbal information and savvy sleuthing."
    —Booklist (starred review)

  • "[China Bayles is] such a joy... An instant friend."
    —Carolyn Hart, New York Times bestselling author

  • "One of the best-written and [most] well-plotted mysteries I've read in a long time."
    Los Angeles Times

  • "Albert's dialogue and characterizations put her in a class with lady sleuths V. I. Warshawski and Stephanie Plum."
    Publishers Weekly


publication date:
April, 2018

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Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota) is a favorite of foragers. As a biennial, this wild ancestor of the familiar garden carrot produces leaves and roots in the first year; in the second year, it als produces flowers and seeds. The fresh leaves can be added to salads and soups. The flavorful roots are best harvested in the spring or fall of the first year when they are tender. The peeled flower stalk has a carroty flavor and may be eaten raw or cooked. The flower itself makes a flavorful jelly or a pretty garnish. The ground seeds are spicy. However, pregnant women should avoid eating any part of this plant; the root and seeds can produce uterine contractions and cause a miscarriage.

And foragers, please beware! You must take extra care to be sure that what you are harvesting is wild carrot—not its deadly lookalike, poison hemlock (Conium maculatum). Crush a few leaves. If they smell like fresh carrot, you're safe. If they have a foul odor, leave it alone. This is serious stuff, folks, so pay attention. Mistakes with this plant have cost lives.

Twenty-fifth book in the series: Last Chance Olive Ranch

Twenty-seventh book in the series: A Plain Vanilla Murder, coming in June, 2019.