Susan Wittig Albert was born in Vermillion County, Illinois on January 2, 1940. She attended Danville High School before moving on to the University of Illinois where she received her English degree. After college, she pursued her PhD at the University of California at Berkley for English. She started her professional career as a college professor at the University of Texas at Austin and worked her way up the ranks to Administration at Sophie Newcomb University in New Orleans, Louisiana, followed by a position as the Vice President of Academic Affairs at the Southwest Texas State University.
All the while, she wrote her books. Susan Wittig Albert is also known by her two other pen names: Robin Paige and Carolyn Keene. In 1993, Albert was nominated for two national mystery awards for her work on the China Bayles Mysteries. They were the 1992 Agatha Award and the 1993 Anthony Award, both for Best 1st Novel.
The China Bayles Mysteries were her first series beginning with Thyme of Death in 1992, followed by Witches’ Bane in 1993. These mysteries were based on an attorney who wanted a change so she became an herbalist who solved mysteries with her best friend, who happened to own a New Age store. China knows that is where she needs to go and this is where our first story takes us into the world of China Bayles and company to Pecan Springs, Texas and all that awaits.
In her debut book, Thyme of Death, China Bayles is a successful attorney with a thriving practice in Houston, Texas. She is intelligent, powerful, rich, and unhappy. The person she is turning into is not someone she wants to look at in the mirror. So she makes a decision to pack it in and head for Pecan Springs and the Thyme & Seasons Herb Shop owned by her best friend, Ruby Wilcox. Ruby is a real free spirit and New Age guru. She is just what China needs to balance out her own life. Some positive energy from her fun loving best friend. However, China soon discovers that even in small town USA, evil lurks in dark corners when her terminally ill friend, Jo Gilbert is found dead of a supposed suicide. China suspects different, and when she finds some letters that scream blackmail and murder, she knows there is much more going on than what meets the eye. When a second homicide is committed, it is up to China, Ruby, and ex-cop professor Mike McQuaid, also China’s love interest to crack the case of fear and greed wide open.
In the second story in the series, Witches’ Bane, There is a ruthless slaying at Halloween and the resident preacher has it in for Ruby, the local astrology and Tarot reading master, and also China’s best friend. He is on a witch hunt and Ruby is the target, so it is up to China to find the real killer. Before her innocent friend suffers at the hand of an overzealous minister and his flock. These books are extraordinarily well written with a unique story line and have captivated audiences for the last three decades. The books were a huge success to Albert.
Other series include the Darling Dahlias (about a group of Southern Belles in Darling, Alabama circa 1930’s garden club) and The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, ( the story of a good Samaritan with a gift for solving crimes, which she does with the help of her talking animal friends). Susan Wittig Albert followed these series with several more fiction projects as well as some non-fiction works. Today, she writes for Country Living Gardner Magazine.
She is one of the most successful female authors of our time, there is no doubt. She now lives in central Texas, in the hill country where she enjoys doing all of the things she loves. She gardens, raises chickens, and continues to write. She is concerned about many world issues including energy depletion, food production, and global warming.
Her latest work is called, “A Wilder Rose” which is based on the story of “The Little House on the Prairie” series, written by Laura Ingalls Wilder was about her life growing up on the Minnesota Frontier in Walnut Grove. Set in the 1870’s, Wilder shared from her point of view what life was like during that time. The books were so wildly successful that in the early 1970’s, Ed Friendly, an executive at NBC, approached Michael Landon with the proposition to direct a pilot movie for the story. Michael Landon agreed with the stipulation that he would play lead man Charles Ingalls. The movie was such a great success that it was turned into a running series and became a very popular television show in the 1970’s.
The newest work based on the Ingalls family, published in September of 2013, shifts the focus on to the relationship between mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. It is a work of fiction based on fact with well-rounded characters that are easily believable during a time when people were struggling hard just to survive. The time is set during the Great Depression and the book makes a good argument that daughter Rose very well have may be due just as much credit as her mother for “The Little House on the Prairie” success. This can be said to be one of his major master pieces that was well received by readers.
Susan Wittig Albert has certainly earned her place among the most talented among female writers of modern times. Her stories are exciting, fun, intense, and are easy to relate. She is a flexible writer with an incredible imagination and the ability to pay great attention to detail. Her characters are believable and her stories swallow up the reader and transport them to a different time and place. This is a sign of a truly remarkable talent. Susan Wittig Albert is such a gift to the world of reading and writing at large. May she continue to have the ideas flow freely and keep entertaining the masses for years to come.
Books in order of publication by series:
China Bayles Books
|Thyme of Death||(1992)|
|Love Lies Bleeding||(1997)|
|A Dilly of a Death||(2004)|
|Dead Man’s Bones||(2005)|
|Death Come Quickly||(2014)|
|The Last Chance Olive Ranch||(2017)|
|Queen Anne’s Lace||(2018)|
|A Plain Vanilla Murder||(2019)|
China Bayles Collections
|An Unthymely Death and Other Garden Mysteries||(2003)|
|China Bayles’ Book of Days||(2006)|
Cottage Tales Of Beatrix Potter Books
|The Tale of Hill Top Farm||(2004)|
|The Tale of Holly How||(2005)|
|The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood||(2006)|
|The Tale of Hawthorn House||(2007)|
|The Tale of Briar Bank||(2008)|
|The Tale of Applebeck Orchard||(2009)|
|The Tale of Oat Cake Crag||(2010)|
|The Tale of Castle Cottage||(2011)|
Darling Dahlias Books
|The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree||(2010)|
|The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies||(2011)|
|The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose||(2012)|
|The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star||(2013)|
|The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush||(2014)|
|The Darling Dahlias and the Eleven O’Clock Lady||(2015)|
|The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover||(2018)|
|The Darling Dahlias and the Poinsetta Puzzle||(2018)|
Sir Charles Sheridan Books
|Death at Bishop’s Keep||(1994)|
|Death at Gallows Green||(1995)|
|Death at Daisy’s Folly||(1997)|
|Death at Devil’s Bridge||(1998)|
|Death at Rottingdean||(1999)|
|Death at Whitechapel||(2000)|
|Death at Epsom Downs||(2001)|
|Death at Dartmoor||(2002)|
|Death at Glamis Castle||(2003)|
|Death in Hyde Park||(2004)|
|Death at Blenheim Palace||(2005)|
|Death on the Lizard||(2006)|
Pecan Springs Books
Crystal Cave Books
|Out of BODY||(2019)|
|A Wilder Rose||(2013)|
|The Generals Women||(2016)|
|Work of Her Own||(1992)|
|Writing From Life||(2000)|
|An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days||(2010)|