An Untimely Death and Other Garden Mysteries Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of An Untimely Death and Other Garden Mysteries

Berkley, June 2003, 14.00, 272 pp.
ISBN 0425190021

Fans of the China Bayles mysteries, staring a former lawyer turned herbalist and restaurant owner, have a special treat in store for them this time around. Author Susan Wittig Albert has written a ten-story collection starring the protagonist doing what she does best: solve crimes. Readers are also introduced to her best friend and business partner Ruby Wilcox, who often plays the part of the sidekick and China's beloved husband, former homicide detective Mike McQuaid, who still can't resist taking part in a criminal invitation.
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In addition to the stories, each one exciting and fast-paced, the reader is introduced to herbal lore and some mouth-watering meals using herbs found in China's very own garden. The short story format is just as potent as the novel length tales that fans expect from Ms. Albert. For fans this is a treat but for newcomers this is a delightful introduction to one of the more endearing mystery genre characters.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of An Untimely Death and Other Garden Mysteries

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70% Kind of investigator    -   amateur citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   life in small town Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   small businessman Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Texas

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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