Table of Contents
China Bayles Mysteries by Susan Wittig
THYME OF DEATH
LOVE LIES BLEEDING
A DILLY OF A DEATH
DEAD MAN’S BONES
AN UNTHYMELY DEATH
CHINA BAYLES’ BOOK OF DAYS
With her husband, Bill Albert, writing as Robin Paige
DEATH AT BISHOP’S KEEP
DEATH AT GALLOWS GREEN
DEATH AT DAISY’S FOLLY
DEATH AT DEVIL’S BRIDGE
DEATH AT ROTTINGDEAN
DEATH AT WHITECHAPEL
DEATH AT EPSOM DOWNS
DEATH AT DARTMOOR
DEATH AT GLAMIS CASTLE
DEATH IN HYDE PARK
DEATH AT BLENHEIM PALACE
DEATH ON THE LIZARD
The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan Wittig Albert
THE TALE OF HILL TOP FARM
THE TALE OF HOLLY HOW
THE TALE OF CUCKOO BROW WOOD
THE TALE OF HAWTHORN HOUSE
THE TALE OF BRIAR BANK
THE TALE OF APPLEBECK ORCHARD
THE TALE OF OAT CAKE CRAG
The Darling Dahlias Mysteries by Susan Wittig Albert
THE DARLING DAHLIAS AND THE CUCUMBER TREE
Nonfiction books by Susan Wittig Albert
WRITING FROM LIFE
WORK OF HER OWN
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
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This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, andincidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reaction to the recipes contained in this book.
Copyright © 2010 by Susan Wittig Albert.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
BERKLEY® PRIME CRIME and the PRIME CRIME logo are trademarks of Penguin Group
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Albert, Susan Wittig.
eISBN : 978-1-101-18838-5
1. Young women—Crimes against—Fiction. 2. Murder-Investigation-Fiction.
3. Gardening—Societies, etc.—Fiction. 4. Women gardeners-Fiction. 5. Treasure troves—
Fiction. 6. Nineteen thirties—Fiction. 7. Alabama—Fiction. I. Title.
To my cherished herb and gardening friends,
who encourage me to keep my hands in the dirt
and my fingers on the keyboard.
The Darling Dahlias and I send you our love.
Darling, Alabama, is a fictional town that is located in a real place: the beautiful wooded hills of southern Alabama, about seventy miles north of Mobile, west of Monroeville, and east of the Alabama River. If you’d like a map of the town, please visit the series website:www.darlingdahlias.com
. You’ll find other items of interest there, including: historical background of the 1930s, the period in which the series takes place; Depression-era recipes and household tips; and information about Southern gardens. I’ll be adding new material frequently, so please bookmark the site and visit often.
A note about the language. When I was growing up in the 1940s, we lived on the outskirts of the African-American neighborhood in Danville, Illinois. At the time, my family called our neighbors and schoolmates “coloreds” or “colored folk” or “Negroes.” Later, when I was in graduate school at University of California, Berkeley, and took an active part in the Civil Rights movement, we called our friends “Blacks” and “African Americans”; “Negro” had become an ethnic slur. (I notice, though, that the 2010 census uses “Negro” because many older African Americans self-identify with the term.) This historical series includes language and social practices appropriate to the early 1930s in the rural South. These may be offensive to some readers. Thank you for understanding that no offense is intended.
Susan Wittig Albert
The author of this book has kindly asked us—the officers of the Darling Dahlias Garden Club—to write this letter to you. She wants us to let you know that we’ve read this story and agree with her description of what went on during the month of May 1930, when some things happened that shouldn’t have happened in any God-fearing town, much less in Darling, Alabama, which has 4 churches, 907 good Christian people (soon to be 908, because Mrs. Perkins is expecting any day now), and only a few Bad Apples.
Of course, in a story, it’s usually the Bad Apples who get all the attention, so we want to warn you not to pay too much attention to them. You should look instead at the way everybody else is behaving and doing what they ought to do, which is to help one another and follow the Golden Rule, even though (as a certain few would like to have you believe) it sometimes turns out that he who has the gold, rules. In this case, silver and gold, both, But we won’t say anything more about that, since we don’t want to spoil the story for you.
Anyway, we just wanted to let you know that we recommend this book because it’s true, most of it, And because the way the author has told it shows you how much the Dahlias care about our Darling and want to see things done right in our town, even when things are bad all over the country, with a lot of people out of work and the best help the Red Cross can offer is ten cents a day for food,
Well, that’s enough of that, The Darling Dahlias always try to look on the bright side. As Aunt Hetty Little says, we keep our face to the sun so we can’t see the shadows, which is why we plant sunflowers and marigolds and cosmos in amongst the collards and sweet potatoes and okra in the garden, And speaking of gardens and such, we may not have just a whole lot extra, but we’re always willing to share what we have. So we’ve given the author some of our favorite recipes and tips for making whatever you’ve got go further, last longer, and taste better. She says she’ll put them at the end of the book. We hope they’ll help you, if times are as hard at your house as they are here in Darling,
We hope you’ll keep looking on the bright side, too, And remember what we said about Bad Apples.
Elizabeth Lacy, president
Ophelia Snow, vice president & secretary
Verna Tidwell, treasurer
The Darling Dahlias Club Roister, May 1930
Miss Elizabeth Lacy
, president. Secretary to Mr. Moseley, attorney at law, and garden columnist for the Darling
Mrs. Ophelia Snow
, vice president and secretary. Wife of Darling’s mayor, Jed Snow.
, treasurer. Secretary to the Cypress County probate clerk.
married to Henry Biddle, the manager at the Coca-Cola bottling plant.
Mrs. Bessie Bloodworth,
Darling’s historian. Owns Magnolia Manor, a boardinghouse next door to the Dahlias’ clubhouse and gardens.
Mrs. George E. Pickett Johnson,
wife of the owner of the Darling Savings and Trust Bank. Specializes in pure white flowers.
A collector of camellias, Mildred is married to Roger Kilgore, the owner of Kilgore Motors, and lives near the Cypress Country Club.
Aunt Hetty Little
, oldest member of the club, town matriarch, and lover of gladiolas.
Myra May Mosswell,
owner of the Darling Diner and an operator in the Darling Telephone Exchange. Lives in the flat over the diner.
Miss Dorothy Rogers,
Darling’s librarian. Miss Rogers knows the Latin name of every plant and insists that everybody else does, too. Lives in Magnolia Manor.
, artistically talented owner/operator of Beulah’s Beauty Bower, where small groups of Dahlias gather almost every day.
Alice Ann Walker
, bank cashier. Her husband, Arnold, is disabled.
The Dahlias in Full Bloom
Sunday, May 11,1930