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Spanish Dagger (China Bayles, #15)
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Spanish Dagger (China Bayles #15)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  1,467 ratings  ·  78 reviews
Between the herb shop, the catering business, and a weekend paper- making class, China Bayles has her work cut out for her. And now China's half- brother is opening up old wounds, trying to investigate their father's supposedly accidental death, and her husband is taking on the case-meaning she's just bound to get involved.

To put the unsavory business out of her mind, sh
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 3rd 2007 by Berkley Hardcover
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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan DoyleAnd Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieMurder on the Orient Express by Agatha ChristieDeath on the Nile by Agatha ChristieOne for the Money by Janet Evanovich
Best Detective/Mystery Series
231st out of 1,207 books — 1,458 voters
Ernie's War by Ernie PyleAlbert Nobbs by George MooreMagnificent Obsession by Helen RappaportThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeBleeding Hearts by Susan Wittig Albert
Bert and Ernie
16th out of 108 books — 4 voters

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Community Reviews

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Oh China, what has happened to you?

You've gone from an interesting, three-dimensional character to a busybody who somehow ramrods her agenda down everyone's throats.

The plot of this book wasn't half-bad (though the various drug agencies had me confounded), but China's attempts at mystery solving (telling the chief of police what she'll do and what she won't, inserting herself in investigations, giving a possible killer her home address???) were baffling. I am all for suspension of disbelief, bu
I love China Bales. This is the second in a what constitutes a trilogy within the whole body of work. The first of these is Bleeding Hearts, but Spanish Dagger can stand alone without having read Bleeding Hearts first.

China's life in Pecan Springs, Texas is never dull in spite of the small town atmosphere. Her friends are interesting, her husband has gone from being a policeman to a professor to a private detective, and life happens every day. She and a lady who has come to Pecan Springs to tea
Carolyn Crawford
Spanish Dagger appears to be the first of a three book enstalment by Susan Witting Albert.

In this book..... we really learn more about the relationship between China and her half brother Miles.

Also Colin, Ruby's boyfriend is found murdered by China and her friend. There is a huge background surrounding Colin... and I think this book is just starting to give us a hint of what he was really about.

We learn more about Sheila, and her interactions with the police department.

This was all in all a ver
I wish the Whiz would make another appearance and that problems would not be solved by killing off the problematic partner in a relationship or crime. I'm getting so that I recognize the clues too early in the book and so at the end don't feel satisfied with the result.
China is planning a paper making workshop. Ruby 's is gong senile and Ruby needs to be gone and getting her settle in an assisted living apartment. She is trying to break it off with Colin Fowler. China and friend Carole discover Colin's body along the railroad tracks collecting Yucca leaves for the workshop. China is dealing with her half brother desired to investigate their Father's. Helping Ruby she takes procession of Colin's Rottweiler, Rambo. She looks into Colin's death to help Ruby. The ...more
All China hopes to do is have a successful paper making workshop at Thyme and Seasons. But while China and her friend Carole are collecting yucca for the workshop, they stumble across a dead body. To make matters more shocking, the body is that of Colin Fowler, the latest love interest of China's business partner and good friend, Ruby. There has always been too much secrecy and mystery surrounding Colin, and China has never trusted him. Soon there is another murder at the Sonora Nursery just out ...more
Very informative running commentary on yuccas and agaves and various products that can be spun from these plants. I did not realize they were herbs? Papermaking seems like a lot of fun too.

Story revolves around Colin Fowler whose body triggers an investigation led by curious China Bayles into all aspects of his life and work; also features Rottweiler dog Rambo, who is too cute to be believed and ends up as the police chief's K-9 recruit. I rather like all the characters in this Texas Hill countr
China Bayles gets sucked into investigating the death of the former boyfriend of her best friend and business partner, Ruby. Like all the China Bayles mysteries, each chapter has an introductory herbal tidbit (in this case about different species of yucca: a recipe, some information on how the plant is used now or was used traditionally, etc.
I really enjoy this series, though it's not for everyone and there are some authorly tics that annoy me. I can't stand how she occasionally addresses the r
Anne Hawn Smith
When China finds a body while looking for some Yucca, or Spanish Dagger, she knows she has the unpleasant task of breaking the news to her good friend and business partner, Ruby. She is doubly reluctant because Ruby is dealing with her mother, who is difficult at best, and is now suffering from dementia and even more quarrelsome. There has always been a mystery about Colin and now China feels that he is not what he appeared to be and has been living a double life. When another body is found, the ...more
Laura Beasley
Pretty good mystery. Drug a little but. Did not care for all the details about plants. Too much information and most of it did not add to the story at all. China gets involved when the man her friend had been dating is murdered and then another woman that works at a plant nursery is murdered also. China pieces together some of the facts and helps find the killer. The killer was a surprise to me.
Spanish Dagger is the 15th installment of the China Bayles series. China is setting up to do a paper-making workshop when her friend Ruby, is called out of town to deal with her mother, who is suffering from early dementia and is causing trouble by stealing silk scarves and locking herself in her car. China has some family issues of her own as her half brother hires her husband to investigate their father's purportedly accidental death. While looking for plants to use in the paper making class, ...more
Megan Bodwell
I love China Bayles. This installment of the series seemed to go back to its roots a bit, focusing on China and the story concluding in a surprising, yet logical way. Reading these books are comforting. You can pretty much be assured of who are the good guys and who are Expendables.
I have read all but the most recent of the China Bayles mystery series. This was as entertaining and well written as the rest. I thoroughly enjoy all the characters and eagerly look forward to reading the next book in line.
Apr 11, 2007 George rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mystery readers
The 2007 entry into the China Bayles mystery series. It contains the usual mix of herbal lore, recipes, and murder involving Texas lawyer turned herbalist China Bayles and friends.

Plot line includes the continuing saga of China's family which has been developing over several novels as a secondary plot issue. In this novel, China's newly discovered half brother appears continuing his investigation into the death of China's and his father 16 years earlier that was ruled an accident, but her half b
I wasn't sure I had read this one, so either read it or re-read it. I enjoyed it so it doesn't matter.
This mystery continues the China Bayles series. Lots of interesting information on Yucca. The story is about Ruby Wilcox's recent love interest who is found murdered behind Beans Bar. Ruby is not home as she is dealing wiath the recent onset of her mother's dementia and getting her moved into an assisted living situation. China has to be the bearer of bad news as it is she who has to break the news to Ruby. Ruby is devasted and wants China to investigate and find out who killed him. As usual, t ...more
Book 15 in the China Bayles Mysteries. There is a lot going on in Pecan Springs in this addition. Ruby's ex, Colin, is found murdered by the train tracks. Word has it that he just might have been working undercover to help bust a drug ring. While Ruby is away dealing with family issues, she asks China to step in and conduct her own little investigation. China not only discovers a local nursery who is involved in smuggling, but she temporarily adopts a police dog who has many great talents. You w ...more
Apr 24, 2010 Patty rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who likes a good mystery
Shelves: readin10
Susan Wittig Albert writes a good mystery. She wrote the Beatrix Potter mystery series that I've enjoyed.
This book is one in in her China Bayles series; a serious rival or perhaps colleague to V.I. Warshawski and Stephanie Plum.
China is an ex-lawyer and current herbalist who ownes a popular shop in a small town in Texas. The author offers mysterious crime, dangerous secrets and mixes in humor and romance then tosses in a little knowledge and instruction on using plants found in the south west.
China Bayles and a friend are looking for yucca plants to make paper from when they find a body. The ex-boyfriend of her friend Ruby has been murdered. China begins to look into the death since Ruby is out of town taking care of her mother. This is a good mystery and China Bayles is a fair heroine. She gets close to being too obtrusive but reins it in. I enjoy this series. Ms. Albert does a good job of creating plots that are quick moving. I had the murderer pegged fairly early on but the book w ...more
Another fine chapter with the characters of Pecan Springs, TX. I always learn something interesting about herbs such as the Mexican mint marigold which is used in place of tarragon. As well as a new appreciation for dandelions and other plants sometimes characterized as weeds. There's another book on my shelf with the same sensibility looking at local plants with renewed appreciation.
This is the second in a three book grouping that shares a common story arc that was a subplot in the previous book. I expected there to be a bit more in this book dealing with that subplot, but there wasn't a lot and that kind of disappointed me. But as usual, China and her friends found plenty of other things to get wrapped up in and I still really enjoyed the book.
Penney Kolb
I always enjoy Susan Wittig Albert's China Bayles books. They are nice mysteries and always include lots of info about the herb in the title. I've used lots of that info over the years along with the suggestions and references found at the end. That (fictional) Pecan Springs in the Hill Country of Texas is just a hotbed of crime and interesting people.
Lynn Anne
I have!' t read a China Bayles mystery in quite a while. It was good to get back to my friends in Pecan Springs. This was another well-written story - enough mystery to keep me involved, but more about the people and their relationships. Now I need to copy a couple of the recipes! Caramba Cafe and Cass' Gingerbread Waffles with Agave Syrup!
Ruby was away dealing with her mother for most of this book and the dynamic that you've come to expect between the regular characters felt completely off as a result. Definitely NOT my favorite book in the series. Also, I love how many times she talks about "chain evidence" only to ignore her own advice at critical junctures.
This is a light and easy read, but satisfying. The author writes a series of mysteries involving a woman who owns an herb store in Texas. I've read many of them, and find them good in between books when I want something quick and light but not so simple that I feel dissatisfied and disappointed when I'm finished.
Alannah Davis
With each entry, this series gets stronger and new layers of China Bayles are revealed, like peeling an onion. A solid story with solid writing, and I'm really looking forward to the blossoming of the continuing storyline dealing with the truth behind China's father's death. A great read all the way around.
I love this series...I love the characters...this one took a slightly different direction with one of the characters....but it was a real life situation that can happen to any of us...and the subplot mystery was brought up just enough to remind you that it's still hovering in the book perhaps?
Mary Barleycorn
Another author that I try to read everything she has written.
Aug 13, 2008 Johanna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Johanna by: mystery, herbalists,
Shelves: mystery
Another awesome fun/smart read by a character I like.
Not a huge mystery fan but this author roped me in.
I was lucky enough that my local book store had a book from this series I hadn't read yet.
So I bought it up right quick!
I will defiantly re-read this book again and again over the years.
Heather Adkins
Another mind-blowing China Bayles mystery. It saddens me that I'm drawing close to the "end" (most recent release) of the books. Only three to go before I've caught up and must join the ranks of those who wait restlessly for the new novel! I'm such a huge fan of Susan Albert.
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Susan is the author/co-author of biographical/historical fiction, mysteries, and nonfiction.

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Other Books in the Series

China Bayles (1 - 10 of 23 books)
  • Thyme of Death (China Bayles, #1)
  • Witches' Bane (China Bayles, #2)
  • Hangman's Root (China Bayles, #3)
  • Rosemary Remembered (China Bayles, #4)
  • Rueful Death (China Bayles, #5)
  • Love Lies Bleeding (China Bayles, #6)
  • Chile Death (China Bayles, #7)
  • Lavender Lies (China Bayles, #8)
  • Mistletoe Man (China Bayles, #9)
  • Bloodroot (China Bayles, #10)
Thyme of Death (China Bayles, #1) Hangman's Root (China Bayles, #3) Chile Death (China Bayles, #7) Witches' Bane (China Bayles, #2) The Tale of Hill Top Farm (The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, #1)

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