Bleeding Hearts (China Bayles Series #14)

Bleeding Hearts (China Bayles Series #14)

4.5 9
by Susan Wittig Albert
     
 

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National best-selling author Susan Wittig Albert's poetic beauty and West Texas flavor permeate her China Bayles mysteries. The high school principal asks China to secretly investigate the popular football coach who led the Panthers to six state championships. Soon after China confirms the coach's predilection for teenage girls, one of his victims turns up dead and

Overview

National best-selling author Susan Wittig Albert's poetic beauty and West Texas flavor permeate her China Bayles mysteries. The high school principal asks China to secretly investigate the popular football coach who led the Panthers to six state championships. Soon after China confirms the coach's predilection for teenage girls, one of his victims turns up dead and suspicion falls upon the lecherous coach." Albert's characterization is strong—China delights as ever..."—Publishers Weekly

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
The Barnes & Noble Review
In this China Bayles novel (Dead Man's Bones, A Dilly of a Death, et al.), the hardworking herbalist and former criminal defense attorney is faced with her most intriguing -- and disturbing -- case to date, as she struggles to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding the murder of a beloved high school football coach and the alleged suicide of a woman who was once one of his students.

Coach Tim Duffy's Pecan Springs high school football team has won the state championships two years in a row -- and in Texas, that makes him a demigod. But when China's stepson's principal asks her to conduct a sensitive investigation concerning accusations of sexual misconduct lodged against Duffy, she becomes embroiled in a dark drama that, if exposed, could destroy families and ruin lives. Statutory rape and cold-blooded murder are just the beginning of this mystery…

Amid the hundreds of amateur sleuth mystery series being published, Albert's China Bayles saga is noteworthy for two reasons. First, the books are a unique and highly entertaining blend of by-the-book investigatory procedure, new age sensibilities (Ouija board, tarot cards, etc.), and herbalistic knowledge. Second, the author employs a nearly poetic writing style. In this novel, for example, numerous bleeding heart symbols (the perennial herb, the Catholic icon, a bullet-riddled torso, etc.) subtly accentuate scenes and themes. Quirky, informative, and surprisingly profound, Albert's mysteries are an absolute delight to read -- head and shoulders above most other amateur whodunits. Paul Goat Allen
Publishers Weekly
In Albert's engrossing 15th mystery to star China Bayles, herbalist, erstwhile lawyer and occasional gumshoe (after 2005's Dead Man's Bones), everyone in China's charming hometown of Pecan Springs, Tex., is stunned when the high school football coach, Tim Duffy, is murdered. The good coach, it turns out, had a nasty habit of getting sexually involved with teenage girls, and that criminal predilection led to his death. One of Duffy's victims had died recently, too, supposedly a suicide. Her case is reopened after the coach's predatory ways are discovered. Meanwhile, China stumbles onto a packet of letters written by her father years before, letters that reveal more about his past than she really wants to know. Albert's characterization is strong-China delights as ever, as does her wacky friend, Ruby Wilcox. Descriptions of delectable dishes (recipes included, of course) and tips about herbs add to the fun, but beware the prefatory author's note, which gives too much away. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In Pecan Springs, Tex., football is king and Coach Tim Duffy is prince-but he may also be a sexual predator. Fully occupied with her herb shop, tea room and catering business, China Bayles, Esq. (Dead Man's Bones, 2005, etc.), is far from eager to investigate when the high-school principal calls her. An anonymous caller has accused Coach Duffy of sexual relationships with underage girls dating back to his days at Friendship High. So China goes to Friendship to talk to Margarita Lopez, whose daughter Angela was involved with the coach. The stakes escalate when Margarita reveals that after Angela departed for college in Pecan Springs, she was found dead, a supposed suicide. When the coach is murdered, China's stepson and his girlfriend, marked as Duffy's next victim, snap a picture of Margarita doing the deed. Should it all be hushed up when Margarita kills herself? Duffy's wife is the scion of an old Pecan Springs family whose roots in local affairs run deep. But when China's investigation reveals that Angela was murdered, the truth must be disclosed. Meantime, China's learned that she has a half-brother, son of their father's secretary, himself a lawyer in possession of letters indicating that their father may have been murdered. In addition, there's a hint that her best friend Ruby's boyfriend is not who he seems to be. China's followers will delight in the complicated relationships, recipes and historical flower information.
From the Publisher
An entertaining detective writer. (Dallas Morning News)

One of the most endearing and personable amateur sleuths. (Midwest Book Review)

[A] unique series. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786287772
Publisher:
Gale Group
Publication date:
08/02/2006
Series:
China Bayles Series , #14
Edition description:
Large Print Edition
Pages:
435
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

An entertaining detective writer. (Dallas Morning News)

One of the most endearing and personable amateur sleuths. (Midwest Book Review)

[A] unique series. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Meet the Author

Susan Wittig Albert grew up on a farm in Illinois and earned her Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley. A former professor of English and a university administrator and vice president, she is the author of the China Bayles Mysteries, the Darling Dahlias Mysteries, and the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. Some of her recent titles include Widow’s Tears, Cat’s Claw, The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose, and The Tale of Castle Cottage. She and her husband, Bill, coauthor a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries under the name Robin Paige, which includes such titles as Death at Glamis Castle and Death at Whitechapel.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
1940
Place of Birth:
Danville, Illinois
Education:
Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley

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Bleeding Hearts (China Bayles Series #14) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Cellabella More than 1 year ago
This is loaded on my Nook under "Summer Reading." Alhtough, I have not read this particular book, I have read most of Susan Wittig Albert's books. She is a very knowledgeable author and extremely entertaining. I am looking forward to a warm summer day, glass of ice tea by my side and this book in my hand.
harstan More than 1 year ago
When Pecan Spring¿s resident and entrepreneur China Bayles is asked by her stepson¿s principal to investigate high school football Coach Tim Duffy, she is unable to say no because she hates sexual predators who abuse their power with a passion. An anonymous caller claims Tim left his job in Friendship because Margarita Lopez was talking to the school and the police about his seduction of her daughter Angela using his position, power and authority to seduce her. Angela tore up all evidence of the affair and blamed herself because the coach said she was sending out signals that he couldn¿t resist.------- Ironically, Angela goes to college in Pecan Springs and China learns that the coed met a high school student who was being hit on by Coach Duffy. She doesn¿t want to go to the authorities for fear nobody would believe that the popular worldly coach would seduce a minor. Angela¿s roommate tells China that Angela was going to force him to stop his sexual deprivations but instead she commits suicide in a high priced hotel room. There are too many questions that are left unanswered but China is determined to find them so Angela can obtain justice even in death.------ This is another entertaining, exciting and enjoyable China Bayles mystery in which the heroine discovers that she has a half brother who wants something from her and learns that her buddy Ruby¿s boyfriend is not what he seems. There remain open cases that will probably be dealt with in the next book in this series and fans will be eagerly waiting the next installment in this incredibly refreshing series. The heroine, a former lawyer, is a very likeable character and when she investigates something, readers find her actions very plausible. Susan Wittig Albert has written a creative who done it in which things and people are not as they seem.------ Harriet Klausner
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