China Bayles
  Susan Wittig Albert & Bill Albert
Mystery Partners MysteryPartners e-Letter  
January 2007  

In This Issue

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

    Book Report

    The Buzz about Miss Potter

    Miss Potter, which stars Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor, will be released in the US later this month. The script (by Richard Maltby) isn't related to Susan's Cottage Tales, but we've heard good things about the film and know you'll want to watch for it.

    And there's more! Linda Lear's long-awaited biography, Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature, is now available. You can read Susan's review of this book on the Story Circle Book Review site. You can also read a conversation with Linda Lear here Please tell your local library about this important new work. It belongs in every library in the country.

    And last but scarcely least, be sure to watch for the paperback edition of Susan's third Cottage Tale, The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood, coming to your local bookstore on February 6.

    China Bayles Has a New Internet Home! We have redesigned the familiar MysteryPartners website to give China Bayles a website of her own, with plenty of room to grow. To visit, go to and click on China's famous red boot. Or go straight on over to and begin exploring China's world of herbs and mysteries.


    All About Thyme

    Herb lovers, listen up! Susan's new weekly eletter, All About Thyme, is especially designed for you. A celebration of herbs, spices, and the changing seasons, All About Thyme is all about growing, cooking, using, crafting with, and enjoying herbs. And it's about our calendar, too—about the many ways that herbs and plants have connected our human lives to the changing times and seasons. In this week's issue, you'll find out how to bake a Twelfth-Night Cake, learn how to encourage your apple trees to bear more fruit, and discover the secret of St. Distaff's Day. Click here to subscribe.


    Out and About

    Susan will be leading a women's memoir writing retreat for Story Circle on the weekend of March 16-18, 2007. For full details, including a program description, see the LifeLines page. If you're interested, register now, as the remaining places are going fast.

    For a podcast interview with Susan on the founding of Story Circle and her work as a writer, go here:


    Lifescapes & the Pecan Springs Journal

    Susan is enjoying a few quiet weeks in New Mexico. You can find out what she's up to by checking out her blog, Lifescapes.

    And to catch up with your favorite fictional Texas people, drop in on Ruby and China at their Pecan Springs Journal blog.


    Herb Snips: Roses in Winter

    Yes, you can enjoy your roses during the snowy season, especially if you've done a little summer-time preparation. Use dried rose petals to bring a lingering color and scent to home-made or purchased potpourri. (You can freshen the fragrance with a few drops of essential oil of rose.) Rinse shampooed hair in rose-petal vinegar (2 cups of red rose petals steeped for a week or two in 4 cups of white vinegar, then strained), or use it as a cosmetic splash. Enjoy the ruby-red color and fragrance of rosehip tea (1 tablespoon of chopped hips steeped in 1 cup just-boiled water), and get a Vitamin C boost besides. Another idea: add ½ teaspoon rosewater, a teaspoon of finely chopped rosehips, and a pinch of nutmeg to your favorite butter cookie recipe, cut into the shape of hearts, and sprinkle with red sugar.

    Read more herb snips.


    Happy New Year!
    Spanish Dagger
    Spanish Dagger

    "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

    "A leisurely cozy with a Southwestern flair." —Publishers Weekly

    Click to read the first chapter (pdf).

    Cuckoo Brow Wood
    Cuckoo Brow Wood
    "A mystery that's a stellar tribute to the famous children's author. As charming as the 'little books' themselves, this is sure to delight Beatrix Potter fans and cozy lovers everywhere." —Publishers Weekly

    "Enchantment." —Kirkus Reviews

    Click to read more or to order the book.

    Deadly Dull Drive?

    Bleeding Hearts

    The adventures of China and Ruby will brighten your drive. There are now six books—Bleeding Hearts, 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 MysteryPartners, PO Box 1616, Bertram TX 78605-1616. It is provided free, via e-mail, to anyone, worldwide. ©2007 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.