Nightshade (China Bayles Series #16)

Nightshade (China Bayles Series #16)

by Susan Wittig Albert

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New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert takes China Bayles on a trip down memory lane, where one fresh murder and several cold cases force her to face her dark past…
China’s herb shop and catering business may be thriving, but she’s still reeling from her father’s death—and isn’t remotely interested in her half-brother Miles’s investigation of it. Although, when fate forces her to get involved, China realizes it’s time to bring the past to light—or else it will haunt her the rest of her life.
But China and McQuaid discover that Miles may have been keeping as many secrets as he seemed determined to uncover—for starters, knowledge of the whereabouts of their father’s wrecked car, a key piece of evidence. How deep do the layers of secrecy go? And who has a stake in concealing the truth after sixteen years?
Piecing together clues, China and McQuaid embark on a wild goose chase, tracking down evidence that might link several cold-case murders to her father’s death. But the closer they get to untangling the story, the more China longs for answers she may never get...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425227039
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/07/2009
Series: China Bayles Series , #16
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 218,569
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

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Nightshade (China Bayles Series #16) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
tututhefirst on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is actually #16 in the series, where the Protagonist, China Bayles has evidentally retired from her law career and is running some sort of herbal tea/catering business. She has also recently (?) married McQuade - a studly character I'm definitely going to want to become better acquainted with. This was an enjoyable book, but definitely is one where I know I would have been much better off reading some of the earlier ones in the series. So this whole China Bayles series has gone onto the cozy-thon list. It's difficult to 'review' this one because, although I thoroughly enjoyed it, I'm not quite sure who all the players were, and I'm especially interested in some backfill to understand their motivations. I'll definitely be reading more to catch up- and then probably will re-read this one.
RachelfromSarasota on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I "discovered" the China Bayles mystery series when perusing the shelves at my main library branch. I grabbed some of the China Bayles' books, one of Albert's Victorian mysteries (written, I believe, in collaboration with her husband, under the nom de plume Robin Paige), and one of her Beatrix Potter mysteries. I'll admit that I couldn't get through the Victorian mystery -- I felt it was poorly written and researched. At first I enjoyed the Beatrix Potter book, but it just became too cloyingly sweet. I couldn't really get into the mystical mystery in that book.I was not a huge fan of the China Bayles' herbal mysteries, but there was just enough of a spark in China and her relationship with her significant other, Mike McQuaid, to hold my interest. The plots were not particularly engaging, and all too often the characters seemed overly saccharine and one-dimensional -- tand they never just "said" something, but were instead constantly "chortling" or "giggling "or "laughing" -- I never met such determinedly cheerful folks in my life. But I liked the herbal lore and the recipes, and frankly, sometimes there was just not that much around to read.So it was with some reservation that I picked up Nightshade, still on the "New Books" shelf of my library. I was shocked -- I really liked this book, much more than any of the other works in the series. Being of an analytical turn of mind, I've given some thought about what made this book so different from the others in the series.The answer is fairly simple -- it is written in a very different style from all the others. Albert herself notes this in her forward -- mentioning that parts of this book are written from McQuaid's point of view, rather than solely from China's perspective. I felt this added depth and interest to the story.And there's no denying that this narrative device greatly improved Albert's writing. There's a good deal less simpering in this book than in her previous works -- perhaps because she concentrates less on China's satellites (Ruby, "Smart Cookie" Chief of Police Sheila Dawson, etc.) and more on plot and China's conflicted feelings about her late father and her half-brother. For most of this book Albert's writing is tauter, more showing than telling, and thus far more engaging to the avid mystery fan.Albert's skill in drafting interesting and truly individual characters seems to be growing. She does suffer a dreadful relapse in the last chapter, when the mystery is solved and China is once again surrounded by her sycophants, but up till then I found the book eminently readable and even enjoyable.
kingsportlibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a series that you really need to begin with the first book. The main character, China Bayles, owns a shop that sells herbs. She is married to a private investigator and they solve the murders together. This book solves a murder that occurred in an earlier book, but she gives enough background so you still know the whole story.
Scrabblenut on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is part 3 of a trilogy which wraps up loose ends surrounding the mystery of China's father's death in an apparent accident where his Cadillac went off a bridge and burst into flames. Generally a great series with lots of information about various herbs and plants.
Romonko on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you have not read the China Bayles series, I suggest that you get started, and quickly. This is by far the best of the 16 or so books in this wonderful series. It also the last of the trilogy of books about China Bayles' family secrets, and her father in particular. For that reason, I wouldn't suggest starting here. These books progress and the characters develop in each book, so the only way to truly enjoy this series is to start with the first one "Thyme of Death" and read on from there. I envy you your journey into the fascinating world of China and her friends! I really don't want to say too much about the story in this book because it would give too much away, but once you have gotten to "Bleeding Hearts", which is the first of the three books in the mini-trilogy about China's family's past, you will want to read "Spanish Dagger" and this book very quickly in order to get to the heart of the whole story. This book has lots of wonderful herb lore too, and some fascinating recipes at the end. I cannot wait for another China Bayles' book, and hate that it will be at least another year for me to touch base with China and her friends.
seasidereader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Giving a voice to McQuade was a bit unnerving at first. On the whole I think it succeeded.
mldg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another winner! Nightshade concludes a storyline that was begun earlier in this series. In Bleeding Hearts China Bayles discovers that she has a half brother, Miles Danforth. In Spanish Dagger, Miles tells China that he thinks their father's death many years ago was no accident. He hires China's husband, McQuaid, to investigate.Nightshade brings that investigation to it's conclusion. The previous books have been written in first person in China's voice. In this book, the author, Susan Wittig Albert, uses both China's and McQuaid's voices to tell the story. The switch from first person to third was disconcerting at first. After a few times I got used to it and the story flowed. The change in person did help to differentiate the points of view. It was fun to read how China and McQuaid independently discovered what had happened sixteen ago.I enjoyed this book. It was over all too soon, but there were some hints dropped as to a scenario that might continue into the next book in the series, Wormwood, due out in April 2009.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MysticTravel More than 1 year ago
Nightshade is an okay read, but it is not Ms. Albert's best. I know it must be a reach sometimes to come up with one more Chian story; however, sometimes I think China can be so stupid. Does Susan Albert think she has to oversimplify for her readers. Of course, I keep reading them, but I only have 2 more loaded in my NOOK. I think I may bid a fond farewell to China and Ruby and the rest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sopranoIN More than 1 year ago
You have to love sarcasm or at least "wit" to love Susan Wittig Albert and of course you have to like a mystery. It might be even better if you enjoy reading about herbs and plants. I enjoyed every moment of this but that is because I often enjoy a book because I like the character.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ninjamom More than 1 year ago
I have been reading Susan Wittig Albert for years now and I love all of her books. I love her writing style which pulls you right into the story. Every time I pick up a China Bayles mystery, I feel like I'm reading about an old friend. The plots are always unique and interesting. I love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My tastes in books and authors runs more towards Kathy Reichs and Elizabeth George, so this was not a good match for me. Might be great for someone liking an easy, non griping plot, much ramblling about side thoughts, and who also likes gardening.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago