Thursday, January 17, 2008

Book review: Spanish Dagger

TitleSpanish Dagger (China Bayles Mystery)
AuthorSusan Wittig Albert
Tagsfiction, mystery, series, china bayles
Your reviewSpanish Dagger is the 15th of Susan Wittig Albert's China Bayles series. China is a former lawyer who gave it up to open an herbal shop in the Texas hill country. Her best friend is Ruby, who owns the New Age shop next door. The two eventually open a tea shop together. Meanwhile, they solve mysteries, lots of them. In this particular book, Ruby's former boyfriend is killed at the same time that Ruby is trying to deal with her mother's dementia.

The series isn't as cozy as it sounds. China has experience dealing with rough stuff in her lawyering days, and knows from experience that small towns that seem tranquil on the surface have their problems like everywhere else. China grows a lot as a character through the series, dealing with her intimacy issues which she resolves enough to marry McQuaid, a former policeman, now private investigator. She learns to cope with motherhood to McQuaid's son by a previous marriage, and to deal with the parents who virtually abandoned her, one a workaholic and one an alcoholic.

Altogether a dynamic series and Spanish Dagger is an excellent entry into the series. Nice bits of herbal lore and recipes are included in the books.

Albert also co-authors, with her husband Bill, a mystery series set in late 19th and early 20th century England under the pseudonym of Robin Paige. It is also an excellent series. Albert writes the Cottage Tales, which have Beatrix Potter as their main character. I've only read one, and it had more talking animals than I was ready to read about.

Check out the Alberts' site at for details on all their works.
PublicationBerkley Hardcover (2007), Hardcover, 320 pages
Publication date2007
ISBN0425213943 / 9780425213940

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