Partners in Crime   Partners in Crime
  Susan Wittig Albert & Bill Albert
Partners in Crime MysteryPartners e-Letter  
October 2006  

In This Issue
(To read this e-letter on our website, click here:

  • Book Report
  • Out and About
  • Lifescapes & the Pecan Springs Journal
  • Herb Snips

    Book Report

    What Happened to August 31?
    It's a mystery! Just before China's new Book of Days was scheduled to be shipped, somebody noticed that August 31 was missing. But don't panic. If you've purchased a copy through our website, we'll insert the missing page into your book when we send it to you. If you're buying your copy somewhere else, you'll find the missing page in PDF (, so you can print it out. And of course, we're having a contest! For details, go

    (Congratulations to Pam Spurgeon of San Antonio, TX—the fourth & final winner in our weekly contest celebrating the publication of China's Book of Days.)

    We now have autographed bookplates for all three of the Cottage Tales, AND for Bleeding Hearts. To request yours, send a stamped self-addressed envelope to Bookplates, PO Box 1616, Bertram TX 78605. There's no charge, but be sure to specify which bookplate you want: The Tale of Hill Top Farm, The Tale of Holly How, and/or The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood—and/or Bleeding Hearts. If you'd like your bookplate personalized, tell Susan what to write. (These bookplates are about 2"x3", so there's only room for a few words.) Wonderful for gift books!


    Out and About

    Susan will be in Houston and Pearland on October 12-13, and at the Georgetown TX Hill Country Bookstore on October 14. For information, go here: She'll also be speaking to members and guests of the Founders Garden Club of Dallas on Oct. 20.


    Lifescapes & the Pecan Springs Journal

    Did you know that China and Ruby have their very own blog? To read their Monday-morning posts about the doings in Pecan Springs, go here:

    And for Susan's personal blog (garden photos, Hill Country happenings, and news and views about the writing life), go here:


    Herb Snips: Your Herbal Harvest

    You've been enjoying basil, sage, marjoram, and mint all summer-but frosty weather is on the way and it's time to think about preserving that herbal bounty. Harvest your crop in the early morning, just as the dew dries. Wash only if your plants are muddy, then shake or blot carefully.

    Hang to dry
    Fasten small bunches with a rubber band and hang in a dry, dark place for about two weeks. If you're drying herbs with seed heads (dill, fennel, anise, coriander), tie the bunch in a small paper bag and hang for three weeks. For best flavor, store dried herbs in a lidded jar in a cool, dark place.

    Dry on a tray
    To dry thick-stemmed or small-leaf herbs (mint, lovage, marjoram, oregano), dry on a tray or a screen, on paper towels. Or put stems and all on a tray in your gas oven, with just the pilot light on and the door ajar. After a few hours, it's easy to remove the leaves for further drying, if necessary.

    Some herbs freeze well. Moisten the chopped fresh herb-basil, chives, sorrel, parsley, tarragon—with a little olive oil and freeze in an ice cube tray. Or use water or your favorite stock, to add to soups and stews.

    I gather thyme upon the sunny hills
    And its pure fragrance ever gladdens me,
    And in my mind having tranquility
    I smile to see how my green basket fills.
    —"Immalee," Christina Rossetti, 19th century

    Want more herb snips? Go to


    China Bayles' Book of Days
    China Bayles' Book of Days

    Featuring 365 days of recipes, crafts, gardening tips, remedies, and more, this special volume is your personal calendar of the legends and lore of herbs.

    Go here to read more or to order the book:

    The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood

    The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood

    "Enchantment."—Kirkus Reviews

    "Like the English-country-life novels of Miss Read and Angela Thirkell, Albert's Beatrix Potter books are balm for the soul..."—Richmond Times-Dispatch

    "A stellar tribute to the famous children's author...sure to delight Beatrix Potter fans and cozy lovers everywhere."—Publishers Weekly

    Go here to read more or to order the book:

    Deadly Dull Drive?

    Bleeding Hearts

    China and Ruby will liven up that boring commute. Bleeding Hearts has joined Dead Man's Bones, A Dilly of a Death, Indigo Dying, Bloodroot, and Mistletoe Man in the Recorded Books rental catalog. For details, go to To see all six available books, type in the author's name.

    We appreciate your help in spreading the word about MysteryPartners. Please forward this newsletter to anyone interested in mysteries, herbs, and gardening.

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    This newsletter is a publication of Partners in Crime, (P.O. Box 1616, Bertram TX 78605-1616). It is provided free, via e-mail, to anyone, worldwide. ©2006 Bill & Susan Albert

    Feel free to forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues with appropriate credit to Bill & Susan Albert.
    This newsletter is written and edited by Peggy Moody & Susan Wittig Albert.