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Spanish Dagger (China Bayles #15)

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  1,854 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
While harvesting yucca plants to make paper, China Bayles finds a body-cause of death: unknown. It seems that the simple lives of many residents of Pecan Springs hide complex and dangerous pasts. And now, while also unraveling secrets that hit close to home, China must set the record straight- and find a killer.
ebook, 304 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Berkley Books
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Jun 23, 2008 Lain rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ellen Moore
Oct 30, 2015 Ellen Moore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book cleared up questionable information about Ruby's boyfriend Colin and dealt with a new issue of Ruby's mother's declining health. During Ruby's absence to care for her mother, China became involved in investigating two murders. McQuaid was gone, looking into China's father's 16-year-old death and employed by her step-brother. Brian was busy, so most of this book centered around China alone with some participation by police chief Sheila. It was interesting, well written, and held the rea ...more
Nov 06, 2010 Katherine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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.
50 States and at least 50 Authors 2016 Reading Challenge. TEXAS.

China's half brother, Miles, is investigating the death of their father and asks for McQuaid's help. Ruby's mother has been showing signs of dementia and personality changes. Ruby is busy moving her mother into an assisted living facility. China and a visiting handicraft teacher discover the body of Colin Fowler near the railroad tracks in town. Is his murder related to his previous undercover work as Dan Reid? Was he still undercov
Dec 20, 2016 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This series is my literary comfort food.

A fun and interesting mystery set in Pecan Springs. I'll admit, I waited a bit to read this one cause I thought it would be book one of two about the mystery surrounding China's Father. Not so much. Yet again, I kick myself for waiting. Oh sure, there were breadcrumbs leading to the next book. But this one was a mystery in it's own.

Loved it!
Mar 13, 2017 Martha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like this author.
Jul 19, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 05, 2007 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Sep 13, 2011 Saadia rated it really liked it
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
Jul 15, 2014 Mimi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 14, 2011 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
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
Jul 27, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Number 15 in the China Bayles' mystery series, "Spanish Dagger," by Susan Wittig Albert, does not disappoint. I enjoy the way the author introduces the characters at the beginning of each book as a reminder to those who are following the series of who's who but also to new readers of the series, bringing them quickly up to speed. Character growth in "Spanish Dagger" is evident and it's almost like peeling away layer upon layer to the good parts and the bad parts of each person in the book. Plot ...more
Carolyn Crawford
Aug 13, 2014 Carolyn Crawford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozies
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
Feb 05, 2014 Betty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 11, 2007 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Michaela S.
Apr 22, 2016 Michaela S. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a nice blend of conspiracy and realism. I appreciate the little bits of information 'bout herbs and laws and such. The Texas story piqued my interest and it didn't disappoint. I wouldn't stress much in this review since I just grabbed it and gave it a go and pretty much had a blast figuring out who's the killer. It's not over-the-top thrilling though. I would say this is a "casual" mystery book. Also, the characters are cool too. They're like the people you can hang around and not be bored—this ...more
Apr 17, 2010 Patty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 14, 2012 Sallee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
#15 in the China Bayles series. The second in a three book story arc about investigating the 16 year old car crash death of her father.

China Bayles discovers the body of Ruby's former boyfriend Colin. Ruby is out of town tending to her demented mother. China finds that Colin had a prior life as a crooked cop and may be working on a drug deal with someone named Lucita. McQuaid agrees to work for China's half brother Miles in investigating the car crash death of his father, 16 years earlier.
Aug 27, 2007 Kimberly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
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
Dec 05, 2013 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman
Susan Wittig Albert again drew me into the life of China Bayles and her friends. It has been awhile and it felt like I was catching up with old friends! I love how she mixes herbal and botanical gems of wisdom with a littler murder mystery. Her books, when read in order at least like I'm trying to, are like a mini soap opera with a little murder and mayhem thrown in to spruce up life in a small town! Agatha Christie would be proud.
Dail Sams
Jan 20, 2016 Dail Sams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
China and friend come across the dead body of Colin Fowler, Ruby's ex-boyfriend, while cutting yucca leaves. Soon after, the receptionist at a local nursery is found dead by similar means in the nursery office. China just can't help herself and begins investigating the murders, much to the exasperation of good friend and Pecan Springs police chief, Smart Cookie. Signs soon point to a hunky stranger in town and possible drug-dealing. Another great mystery in the China Bayles series.
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.
Jul 14, 2015 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
China Bayles's mysteries are always a treat. Two new residents in Pecan Springs are found dead. China and the police set out to solve the crimes. With the help of other residents and the Rottweiler of one of the victims, the crimes are solved.

I like her books because she give added information about the "title". This one was filled with info about caucus and yucca plants. She also adds recipes. Did you know you can make a tea from hibiscus flowers?
Apr 19, 2013 Kristi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery, cozy
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
Aug 16, 2013 Penney Kolb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 12, 2008 Johanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 18, 2013 Michele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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?
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Susan is the author/co-author of biographical/historical fiction, mysteries, and nonfiction.

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