Blood Orange – Book 24

” Murder and small-town life go hand in glove in Albert’s enchanting 24th China Bayles mystery . . . Snippets of plant lore will please botanists.”
Publishers Weekly

It’s Thanksgiving in Pecan Springs, and China is planning to visit her mother, Leatha, and her mother’s husband, Sam, who are enthusiastically embarking on a new enterprise—turning their former game ranch into a vacation retreat for birders. She’s also looking forward to catching up with her friend, game warden Mackenzie “Mack” Chambers, who was recently transferred to the area. But Leatha calls with bad news: Sam has had a heart attack.

How will Leatha manage if Sam can’t carry his share? She does have a helper, Sue Ellen Krause. But China discovers that Sue Ellen, who is in the process of leaving her marriage to the assistant foreman at a large trophy game ranch, is in some serious trouble. Before Sue Ellen can tell China the full story, her car veers off a deserted road and she is killed.

Meanwhile, when a local veterinarian is shot in what appears to be a burglary at his clinic, Mack Chambers believes his murder could be related to fawns stolen from a nearby ranch. As Mack follows the trail, China begins to wonder if Sue Ellen’s death may not have been an accident, and if there’s a connection to the stolen animals. But their search for the truth may put their own lives in danger.

Read a Sample Chapter of Blood Orange

Blood Orange
In the early 1990s, a gardener in Moorpark, CA, was startled when she saw something very unusual on her favorite Valencia orange tree. The oranges on one limb of the tree were reddish, and the fruit was blood red. A local farm advisor clued her in. Her Valencia orange had repeated a mutation that first occurred in China, where blood oranges made their first appearance centuries ago.

Traditional Chinese herbalists used oranges to treat the digestive and respiratory systems: improve digestion, relieve intestinal gas and bloating, and reduce phlegm. But the medicinal orange came into its own in the west in1747, when a ship’s doctor in the British Royal Navy discovered that oranges (and other citrus fruits) prevented scurvy in sailors on long sea voyages. Now, we know that oranges are high in vitamin C, and that citrus flavonoids are potentially antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory.

Praise for The China Bayles Herbal Mysteries

A great cliffhanger with seriously nail-biting scenes, this is one China Bayles’ mystery you don’t want to miss.
Suspense Magazine

Albert puts a personal face on the Galveston hurricane of 1900, which claimed the lives of thousands. She also seamlessly merges time periods—no easy task.
Romantic Times

Albert’s books are the kind you read over and over, for pleasure and enjoyment. And don’t forget the herbal background (cat’s claw, an herb with “hooks, designed to clutch and hold on to anyone or anything that comes near”) and the recipes, which in this volume include such culinary tidbits as McQuaid’s Favorite Breakfast Burritos and China Bayles’ Curry and Cardamom Cookies. Whether you try the recipes or read the book (or both), you will find Cat’s Claw a delicious delight.
—Curled up with a Good Book

“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

“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

“A diabolically clever sleuth…China and Ruby make Batman and Robin look like amateurs.”
Harriet Klausner

“A visit to China Bayles’ herb shop is always delightful…Albert’s heroine just gets better defined as the books evolve.”
Romantic Times