Cat's Claw (China Bayles Series #20)

Cat's Claw (China Bayles Series #20)

by Susan Wittig Albert

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As the first female police chief in Pecan Springs, Texas, Sheila Dawson has cracked many a mystery in collaboration with local sleuth China Bayles. Now Sheila puts her smarts to work, sifting through secrets to find a killer on the prowl…

Larry Kirk, Pecan Springs’ computer guru, has been shot dead in his kitchen. At first Sheila believes it to be suicide, but further investigation reveals that Kirk’s death wasn’t self-inflicted. And the truth is reinforced by her friend China Bayles’ news—Larry recently asked her for legal advice in regards to a stalker.

As a police chief in a male-dominated force, Sheila meets many challenges, especially when her theories rock the boat in high-profile cases like that of George Timms, who was caught breaking into Larry’s shop. Now that Larry is dead, Sheila is sure the burglary is connected to the murder. But when Timms disappears instead of turning himself in, Sheila must prove she’s got what it takes to hunt down a predator who’s loose on the streets of Pecan Springs…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425252024
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/02/2013
Series: China Bayles Series , #20
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 367,787
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.

Date of Birth:


Place of Birth:

Danville, Illinois


Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Cat’s Claw is exactly what Susan Wittig Albert’s fans look for in her books.” —Cozy Library

“Albert handles the dual voices smoothly as the combined talents of China and Sheila blend to reveal multiple crimes hidden beneath the peaceful facade of Pecan Springs.”—Publishers Weekly

“The investigation is superb as Dawson shows she can handle the lead spotlight.” —Genre Go Round Reviews

“Readers will enjoy the small-town atmosphere, the herbal lore and recipes, and the well-crafted puzzle in this mystery featuring two strong women.” —Booklist

Customer Reviews

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Cat's Claw 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
DAinNY1 More than 1 year ago
A Nice New Direction Ah, the author took a different approach in this series by focusing more on Sheila with China taking the secondary role in this wonderful series. I like how the author kept the story moving between Sheila and China’s lives, letting us see Sheila in her new role as she investigates this murder mystery. With a solid plot, with a look into the everyday occurrences, and with the gang all back, this was a nice new direction taken in this enjoyable and pleasant series.
AnnieHC More than 1 year ago
I have read the entire series and enjoy learning about herbs as well as reading a mystery. This book is another great read.
lizzeee More than 1 year ago
In this fast moving, character driven plot, Smart Cookie, aka as Sheriff Sheila Dawson, gets her own novel. China finds the body, but the story is Smart Cookie's, and what a great story it is! There's murder, of course, blackmail fear, and betrayal. There's also detecting, logic, understanding and humor to lighten the story. "Thumbs up!"
mysteriesformeCA More than 1 year ago
I always wonder when an author begins a new series if it will be as interesting as the previous one. Well have no doubt about CAT'S CLAW. Susan Albert has written given her readers their money's worth with this one. She cleverly weaves China and to a lesser extent Ruby into the story line which adds a comfort level to the series. But this is Sheila (Tough Cookie's) story, a by the book police procedural, taking us step by step into her professional world. I too figured out who the murderer was, but that was only one part of the whole story. The writing was crisp and the story line was woven together seamlessly. I'm looking forward to reading more books with Sheila and her Pecan Springs Police Department. Maybe a book on Blackie is in the offing too - who knows. Ms Albert is one SHARP COOKIE!
Books_And_Chocolate More than 1 year ago
I'm a long-time fan of the China Bayles series by Albert and while she is still featured in this new series, the focus is on Sheila Dawson as she navigates her role as the new police chief amidst a murder investigation. She is a strong character, so it works to have the series shift to her while maintaining China's presence. Even though I guessed who the killer was before it was revealed, the story kept me interested as the details of motive and possible accomplices were worked out in the end. It was easy to read in a weekend while still having the kind of substantial storyline I've come to expect from the author. As always, the herbal facts sprinkled into the storyline were interesting. I think a spin-off series highlighting other characters from the China Bayles mysteries will work and I look forward to reading the next one. I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher but the opinion of it is my own and was not solicited, nor was a positive review required.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very enjoyable writer and storyline!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommend i like that now we are getting to know the other characters in pecan springs as usual I felt like knew all the people in pecan springs could hardly put it down until it was finished
Delphimo 9 months ago
China Bayles delivers a rounded murder mystery with a little herbs and spices dropped into the mix. A nice computer shop owner seems to be a suicide, but why would Larry kill himself when life is good. Susan Wittig Albert presents many red herrings in the race to determine the rest of the story. Albert peppers the story with small tidbits of the spice/herb du jour. This novel pounces on cat’s claw an interesting antidote. The men take a step back and allow the ladies to rule the roost, which sometimes creates havoc. Albert does well with her characters and the setting but throws a little too much dialogue to live up to the work of Elizabeth George.
Anonymous 12 months ago
Very detailed but easy to read. Doer was not obvious good story and good recipes.
Beamis12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This series is just easy fun! As a bit of a departure this book is not narrated solely from China's POV but from Smart Cookies as well. Fun to catch up with the people from Pecan Springs and to read about the usage of various herbs as well as the recipes.
Angel2649 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Really liked this book written from the point of view of Sheila Dawson, Chief of Police for Peacan Springs. Too many times China has ended up being almost killed in figuring out the murderer, so it was refreshing to see this story which relied on good police training to find the answers to why the man was murdered and who had done it. Nice recipes at the end of the book, too.
hjjugovic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another great entry in the China Bayles mystery series. I treasure every chance to enter China's rich world, and have started to take my time reading these slowly, to make them last longer. Some favorite characters are off stage again for this one, but it was nice getting Smart Cookie's perspective on things too. One open end - what WAS Ruby trying to get China to consider in terms of their business before the holidays? China got snappy, and I don't think Ruby ever brought it up again. Inquiring minds want to know! BTW, there is a great newsletter that goes with these books, including contest announcements. I won my copy of this book (signed by the author!) through one of those contests. Highly recommended to tide you over between books.
NewsieQ on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When a local computer guru dies, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Pecan Springs police chief Sheila Dawson is on the case. At least she is assisting the detective in charge -- and enjoying getting out from behind her paperwork-laden desk. There are some suspicious circumstances, however, involving the death of Larry Kirk. Assisting the Chief is, of course, China Bayles, attorney and local herb-shop owner. China is at the crime scene before Sheila Dawson ¿ called there by her friend Ruby¿s sister Ramona, who discovered Larry¿s body.While the police professionals pursue the case (which turns out to be a murder) by the book, China tunes into the local gossip and does some subtle sleuthing on her own, sharing any information she finds with Chief Dawson. Things are a bit complicated, though, because a local politician is about to be charged with breaking into Larry¿s computer shop. Could the two crimes be related?Cat¿s Claw is called, ¿A Pecan Springs Mystery featuring Sheila Dawson and China Bayles.¿ This is a departure from the usually China-centered story. But Chief Dawson has been a prominent character in earlier books in this series ¿ it¿s just with Cat¿s Claw she moves center-stage. The author moves deftly between first person (China) and third person (Sheila) to tell the story in Cat¿s Claw. I¿m pretty sure not every author could carry that off well, but Ms. Albert certainly does. After a gazillion books featuring China Bayles, mixing it up keeps the series fresh and makes it more fun for readers (and writer, I¿m sure). Cat¿s Claw is just what Susan Wittig Albert¿s fans look for in her books.
Romonko on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love the China Bayles series. i would have to say when pressed that it's one of my favourite mystery series. And now Ms. Albert is highlighting different Pecan Springs characters in some of her books. This is the 20 book in this series. Yes, we still have China, and a little bit of Ruby, but the main character in this book is Sharp Cookie, Sheia Dawson, Pecan Springs' Police Chief. It is refreshing to have a different viewpoint and a different narrator. And I've always like Sheila in this series, but i did miss Ruby. I know though that she will be back in future books. Ms. Albert is a master character creator, and her small-town Texas setting is just perfect. That along with the herb and food tidbits that come out in the book, make this series a winner for me. In this book, Sheila finds herself investigating a suicide which doesn't appear to be a suicide and as she and her force investigate they find out all kinds of terrible secrets that could throw the whole town into an uproar if they were found out. I did know who the killer was before the end of the book, but that did not spoil the book for me. Keep China coming Ms. Albert. I can't wait for the next one.
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Rest of reses. Read discription eight res or 10 res.