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Topic: Talk to me about Susan Wittig Albert

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Subject: Talk to me about Susan Wittig Albert
Date Posted: 7/27/2010 7:28 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
Posts: 2,408
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I just read the first book in her new series, The Darling Dahlias, but I've never read anything else.  I believe she has a couple of other series and also writes one with her husband.

If you have read any of these series, tell me what you liked or disliked about them. Which are better than others?

I have to say that I liked the book that I read but it was definitely very cozy.  I'm usually a dark and violent person LOL, so cozies that I like are few and far between.  Thanks for your comments and input!

Date Posted: 7/27/2010 9:02 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I read the series with China Bayles and liked the ones i read for the most part. I did enjoy the earlier ones more I think. I haven't kept up with the series though I'd like to find where I left off and catch up. From what I remember they're not super-cozy but dont' recall endless counts of darkness/gore. The main c haracter is older, single, childless..burned out lawyer from Houston who moves to the hill country (fictiitious town) to open an herb shop I believe and shares space with a new-agey friend (think she  has crystals but not sure). she ends up with a love interest(cop) who has an older son seems like and all the mysteries evolve around a poisonous plant or something of the sort. there was one I actually hated her solving 'cause honestly I couldnt' blame the murderer for what they did! from what I recall she's very independent-minded and very against marriage/kids routine and pretty sure she has mother-issues. darn I really need to fi nd where I left off on these! I'm not familiar with the series you mentioned

Date Posted: 7/28/2010 1:11 AM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
Posts: 349
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It is one of the few cozy series I read.  China Bayles seems more serious minded and academic than most.  The author was an English professor and college administrator. Lots of information about herbs.  She is an attorney who gave up her practice in Houston or Dallas, cashed in her pension and moved to a Texas Hill Country town.  She has an herb shop that grows into an herb growing business, a tea room/cafe, farmer's market, and now also a catering business.  But, generally, it's the same old finding a new body every other week.

I also like Elaine Viets' Dead End Job series because of the insight in to some of these jobs.  The one about being a telephone solicitor was heartbreaking in terms of what the employees have to go through to keep these jobs. The one about working in a bookstore makes you sorry for any of the employees who have to deal with some of the pigs/slobs who visit.


Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 7/28/2010 7:29 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 43,165
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I read the first China Bayles and like it a lot just haven't got back to reading more of them.


Date Posted: 7/28/2010 8:37 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,602
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The China Bayles series is one of the few semi-cozies I keep up with. She runs an herbal shop and I love herb lore, so that is what attracted me to the series. Some books in the series are better than others, but overall, China and her friends have become my friends and I always enjoy a visit with them. The Beatrix Potter series is very cozy--animals talking and all that. I have listened to a couple of the audios of that series when I need a light, easy listen, and they're okay, very...charming. :)  I haven't read or listened to this newest series yet, the one you mentioned, LeeAnne.

She also co-writes a series that has a few books in it--eight or nine, maybe more, no time to look it up now--with her husband under the pseudonym Robin Paige, which is a historical turn-of-the century series that I really enjoyed, but she's said that one is done or at least on long hold for now.


Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 7/28/2010 10:20 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,150
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I like the China Bayles series a lot, and I also enjoyed the books written as Robin Paige.

I started "The Darling Dahlias ..." and didn't bother to finish it. It was just too cozy for me. I did finish the first Beatrix Potter book, but won't read any more of them.

It sounds like you would enjoy the China Bayles books more. Here's a link to the Susan Wittig Albert page at Fantastic Fiction: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/a/susan-wittig-albert/

Date Posted: 7/28/2010 3:45 PM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2006
Posts: 7,019
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Susan Wittig Albert is one of my favorite authors and I've read everything she has written I think.  Looking forward to "The Darling Dahlia's"

She has three series she is currently writing and one that is a closed series.

The closed series is written under the pseudonym of Robin Paige.  These were co-written with her husband Bill Albert.  They are historical cozies that take place during the late Victorian, early Edwardian period in England.  The main characters are Lord and Lady Ardleigh.  These are extremely well-written and well researched.  I like the fact that each book contains a different portion of history as it actually happened; for example, early development of the automobile, meeting historical figures like Conan Doyle and Beatrix Potter. 

The first current series is, as several posters have said, a series with the main character being China Bayles.  She is an ex-lawyer who has settled in a small Texas town and runs an herbal shop.  The series brings her through her beginning days, meeting her boyfriend and then husband, McQuaid, and solving a bunch of murders along the way.  You don't have to read the series in order, but there is a progression through each book.  There is a big back-list of this series.

The second current series is, I believe, is a bit of a spin-off from the Robin Paige book in which the mc's meet Beatrix Potter. She is the main character in the series, and they are called "The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter."  This is written during a period in Beatrix' life during which she owns a farm in the Lakes District of England, and includes her writing some of her children's books.  This is definately a cozy, cozy.  I love it.

Then the third series has just begun and is "The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree."  Since I haven't read it yet, I can't comment on it too much, but if it is written as well as her other series I'm sure I will love it.



Date Posted: 7/28/2010 6:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2006
Posts: 6,597
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Susan is one busy lady! She is on Facebook and Twitter and has a blog and a number of related websites.






I have read all 19 of the China Bayles mysteries and thoroughly enjoyed each one. China is of particular interest to me because her character lives in fictitious Pecan Springs, Texas, and I am a native Texan. Although I didn't read either the Robin Paige Victorian mysteries or the Beatrix Potter series, I am looking forward to getting my hands on the first Darling Dahlias book.