Guest Post with Giveaway ~ Blood Orange by Susan Wittig Albert

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This year marks the publication of the 24th China Bayles mystery, Blood Orange. Gosh—it seems like yesterday when the first book, Thyme of Death, came out. But that was way back in 1992, the same year that Bill Clinton became president, Hurricane Andrew bulldozed across South Florida, and Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven cleaned up at the Oscars. To tell the truth, I never imagined that China and Ruby would be still be sleuthing, 24 books later. But I’m glad they are, for they’ve given me, as their partner-in-crime, many wonderful (and challenging) hours of writing fun.

Back in the day, those early China Bayles mysteries broke some new ground. For one thing, regional mysteries were fairly new to readers, and I was a little worried that a small town in the Texas Hill Country might not be appealing. What’s more, China was a shop owner, an herbalist, and a gardener, the first of her kind in the U.S. (British mystery author John Sherwood had already written several books in his Celia Grant horticultural series but there were none in America.) China’s mysteries were also among the first to feature recipes (Diane Mott Davidson began doing this at about the same time). And China Bayles herself was the first ex-lawyer (a criminal attorney) coupled with an ex-cop boyfriend/husband.

To my mind, it was China’s background as a lawyer that made her different from other female amateur sleuths—and still does. She’s had experience with lots of different bad guys, which gives her an eye for criminals and a pretty strong sense of who isn’t telling the truth. She knows the law and is trained to spot the ways people—both bad guys and good—use the legal system to their advantage. Her relationship with Mike McQuaid has given her an insight into the way cops and professional investigators think and work, and her friendship with Sheila Dawson, Pecan Springs’ first female chief of police, provides a strong connection to local law enforcement. On the other hand, her longtime friendship with highly-intuitive slightly-wacky Ruby Wilcox gives her a different view of what’s going on.

All these elements stir up a rich stew of plot possibilities for every China Bayles adventure, and Blood Orange is no exception. I had fun playing with the possibilities of blood oranges for food and drink—and the unexpected discovery that blood oranges are used in artisanal beer gave me a clue to an important plot thread. But it’s China’s background as a lawyer that makes the Blood Orange plot so complex. When she unearths some fraudulent doings in the local hospice, her legal experience helps her find a murder that has been buried so deep that even the cops can’t find it.

But even though China is very smart and experienced, it’s often Ruby who gets her out of a really tight situation. I had a lot of fun writing the scene near the end of the book where China gets locked in the villain’s garage and Ruby—

But I don’t want to spoil your fun, so I’ll just invite you to pour a cup of tea, grab a handful of your favorite cookies (maybe Ruby’s Hot Lips Cookie Crisps), and settle in with Blood Orange. It has all the elements that make China Bayles a true Texas original: an amateur sleuth with a green thumb and a serious nose for prime-thyme crime. I hope you enjoy it!

post-divider rightbloodSeries: China Bayles Mystery (Book 24)
Publisher: Berkley (April 5, 2016)
Genre: Cozy Mystery
ISBN-10: 0425280004
ISBN-13: 978-0425280003
ASIN: B011IUSTP8
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, IndieBound, The Book Depository

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In the newest China Bayles Mystery in the New York Times bestselling series, China comes to the aid of a nurse who ends up in the hospital…

It’s mid-April in Pecan Springs, and China is renting her guest cottage to Kelly Kaufman, who needs a temporary place to live as she contends with a very acrimonious divorce from her husband Rich. One nasty point of dispute is her part ownership of the Comanche Creek Brewing Company, which she is refusing to sell.
 
At the same time, as a nurse employed by a local hospice, Kelly has discovered instances of suspicious practices. Even more disturbing, she suspects that a patient was murdered. Kelly’s knowledge could be dangerous, and she wants to get guidance from China on what to do.
 
But on her way to China’s house, Kelly is forced off the road and critically injured, putting her in a medically induced coma. Now it’s up to China to determine who wanted her out of the picture. Was it her soon-to-be ex? His new lover—who happens to be the sister of China’s friend Ruby? Or someone connected with the corruption at the hospice?
 
China owes it to her friend to uncover the truth—but she may be putting her own life at risk…

post-divider leftThanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of Blood Orange to give away.

Giveaway open to residents of the US only.
Giveaway ends on May 1st

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Winner will have 48 hours, from the time of notification to confirm their win or another winner will be chosen.

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susanIn 1985, Susan left her career as a university English professor and administrator and began working fulltime as a novelist. Her books include the best-selling China Bayles mysteries, the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and the Robin Paige Victorian/Edwardian mysteries written with her husband, Bill Albert. Working together, the Alberts have also written over 60 young adult novels. Susan's latest project is a series of historical mysteries, The Darling Dahlias, set in the 1930s.

Susan's earlier nonfiction work includes Work of Her Own, a study of women who left their careers, and Writing From Life: Telling Your Soul's Story, a guidebook for women memoirists. That book led to the founding of the Story Circle Network in 1997. She has edited two anthologies for the Story Circle Network: With Courage and Common Sense (2004) and What Wildness Is This: Women Write about the Southwest (2007).

Her latest nonfiction work (September, 2010) is a journal: An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days. Her memoir, Together, Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place, was published in 2009. She currently serves as an editor of StoryCircleBookReviews. Susan says that she "grew up rural" and is proud to claim farming in her family heritage. She continues to live the rural life with Bill in the Texas Hill Country, where she writes, gardens, and raises a varying assortment of barnyard creatures. She has three children, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing wih the post. Lookimng forward to reading it.

    Carol L

  2. Looking forward to it!  I'm a big fan of her series!  

  3. Cynthia E. Blain says:

    I would very much like to read this latest book, Blood Orange.  I have enoyed a few of the other books with this sleuth but do need to read a lot more of them to be caught up to date.  Please consider me for this book.  Thank you so much.

  4. Della Williamson says:

    A nice post.  The synopsis on the book looks most intriguing and I am looking forward to reading it.  Thank you for this chance to get it sooner,  Rather than later

  5. Patricia Sarka says:

    Looking forward to reading your lastest book.

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