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Dead Man's Bones (China Bayles Series #13)

Dead Man's Bones (China Bayles Series #13)

3.8 12
by Susan Wittig Albert

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Susan Wittig Albert’s exciting mysteries have been praised as “unique” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) and “fascinating” (Booklist). Now, a dead man’s bones are uncovered—and Texas ex-lawyer and herbalist China Bayles must dig into a pair of murders separated by time but connected by motive…

When China’s


Susan Wittig Albert’s exciting mysteries have been praised as “unique” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) and “fascinating” (Booklist). Now, a dead man’s bones are uncovered—and Texas ex-lawyer and herbalist China Bayles must dig into a pair of murders separated by time but connected by motive…

When China’s teenage son finds some skeletal remains during a local cave dig—remains that show a not-so-accidental death—it’s a disturbing development. But China doesn’t let it distract her from the opening of the new community theater donated by the elderly Obermann sisters. Unfortunately, the haughty, bullying Jane Obermann—and her frail, frightened younger sister—made the donation with a condition: that the first production be a play written by Jane about their aristocratic family history.

The premiere party ends with a bang when a ne’er-do-well local handyman is shot dead by Jane while breaking into the Obermann estate. It seems like a clear-cut case of self-defense. But China senses something else going on behind the scenes. Now, the key to catching a killer might be the mysterious bones in the cave—a clue from the past that could help China solve a mystery in the present…

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
When herb shop owner China Bayles thinks of Dead Man's Bones, she pictures the lovely shade plant of that name. But bones of a different sort underpin Susan Wittig Albert's exciting mystery featuring the sleuthing herbalist.

The land around Pecan Springs, Texas, is riddled with caves, some large, others small. But one local cave has recently become big news. First a cache of stolen loot was found there; then an ancient burial site was discovered in another chamber. But the most recent surprise comes when China Bayles's teenage stepson, Brian, unearths some not-so-ancent remains while helping to map the cave system. The official investigation soon reveals that the jeans-clad skeleton with the shattered skull died from anything-but-natural causes.

Meanwhile, China's friend Ruby is working hard on her new role in the community theater's upcoming debut of a play about a local philanthropist -- a play written by the dead man's demanding and heartily disliked daughter. Drama builds, as a local handyman joins the body count on the much-disputed play's opening night…and the seeds of doubt China harbors about all these deaths soon blossom into a complex potpourri of deceit and deadly danger. Sue Stone
Kirkus Reviews
The latest interruption in the lives of China Bayles, Esq., her best bud Ruby Wilcox, her husband, college teacher/private eye Mike McQuaid, and his son Brian, 14, is . . . Brian's discovery of skeletal remains at an archaeological site. More complications await the friends of China's herb shop, tearoom and catering business. Ruby, the queen of bad relationships, falls for newcomer Colin Fowler. China's friends Sheriff Blackie Blackwell and Chief of Police fiancee Sheila Dawson, aka "Smart Cookie," break up. And forensic specialist Alana Montoya starts hitting the bottle. The gravest consequences attend the grand opening of the new Merrill Obermann Community Theater, financed by the Misses Obermann. Jane, who's written the opening play in her father's honor, is an autocrat tolerated for the sake of her charitable donations. Her sister Florence lives quietly in Jane's shadow. On the night of the grand opening, Jane kills local carpenter Hank Dixon, who'd allegedly broken into her house and threatened the sisters with a knife. When Florence dies, apparently poisoned, China has to pull together the threads that connect the shooting, the poisoning and that skeleton. Devotees of China's adventures (Indigo Dying, 2003, etc.) will enjoy more quality time with the denizens of Pecan Springs. Even newcomers who don't get into the Texas Hill Country spirit will pick up some recipes and a lot of herbal lore.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
China Bayles Series , #13
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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

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Dead Man's Bones (China Bayles Series #13) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this series, not only for the good mystery plots, but also for the wonderful herbal lore. Every time I read one of these books, I want to go out and start an herbal garden, or make potpourri. Good stuff! But the best part is the really good writing - characters are well developed, but not heavily so. I care about these characters - not something I do easily. Ms. Albert has me hooked - and I love it!
harstan More than 1 year ago
With revenues down at China Bayle¿s Thyme and Season Herb Shop, Ruby Wilcox¿s Crystal Cave New Age Store and their joint venture, The Thyme for Tea restaurant, both women are taking on additional jobs. Ruby has started the Party Thyme Catering Service and China is doing more customized garden planning to make ends meet. China also has to balance her personal life which includes a husband, her stepson Brian and assorted pets.--- In a cave Brian finds the skulls of two humans, who lived there over ten thousand years ago; the university sponsoring the dig is ecstatic. They are not so happy when Brian finds the body of a man that was murdered in the same location about a quarter of a century ago. The cold case heats up when the town¿s leading citizen Jane Oberman kills Hank Dixon in self-defense. Hank¿s father worked for the family for years. The sister state he broke into their home with a knife in his hand. China believes that killing and the discovery of the twenty-five year old skeleton are linked and plans to find what the two cases have in common.--- Susan Wittig Albert has written an entertaining and diabolically clever amateur sleuth mystery focusing on a heroine who can¿t keep away from on ongoing investigation. She is endearing loyal and smart enough to figure out the identity of the victim in the cave. Together with Ruby, there two women make Batman and Robin look like amateurs.--- Harriet Klausner
jackeinalaska More than 1 year ago
Susan always stretches my cooking with her recipes, I love China and her family and enjoy watching her plots develop.
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Angel_bookchick More than 1 year ago
wow i really liked this one but then again ived liked almost everything shes written
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