The China Bayles Herbal Mysteries

Dead Man's Bones (#13)

Texas ex-lawyer and herbalist China Bayles digs into murders past and present, as a dead man's bones are uncovered-and a community gathering is interrupted by murder...

China Bayles already has her hands full balancing her job, her family, and her friends' romantic entanglements. Then her teenage son finds some skeletal remains during a local cave dig-remains from a not-so-distant, not-so-accidental death.

"One of her best mysteries to date." —Kirkus

Discussion questions for Dead Man's Bones
Warning! Contains spoilers (plot hints).

Here's what reviewers have to say about the China Bayles mysteries!

  • "China's warmth and sensitivity...endear her to readers, while her investigative skills make her a leader among female sleuths...A leisurely cozy with a Southwestern flair." —Publishers Weekly
  • "A diabolically clever sleuth...China and Ruby make Batman and Robin look like amateurs." —Harriet Klausner
  • "Add another fragrant bloom to the dozen already in the bouquet of Albert's herbal cozies." —Publishers Weekly
  • "A nicely constructed plot, captivating characters and dialogue." —Library Journal

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Dead Man's Bones
dead man's bones "Dead Man's Bones" is the folk name given to the herb Greater stitchwort (Stellaria holostea), a perennial plant found in damp, shady places throughout Europe. It grows to about three feet, with long, dagger-shaped leaves. The starry white blossoms appear in late spring, when thickets of the blooming plant brighten the shady woods. The herb's common name, "Greater Stitchwort," comes from its traditional use to ease pain (a "stitch") in the side. The plant seems to have been called "Dead Man's Bones" because the stems fracture easily, like old bones.

Stitchwort's North American cousin, Stellaria media, appears in yards everywhere, and has a great many traditional uses. It is better known by its common name, chickweed.

For lots more information about Greater Stitchwort (Dead Man's Bones) and a link to some great photos, go to Killerplants.com. Killerplants also has a page about chickweed.

Ruby's Better Bones Soup

A good-tasting soup made from plants that are are high in protein and good for your bones!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ½ cup carrots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14- or 16-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 4-ounce can water chestnuts, drained
  • 2 baby bok choy, white and green parts sliced separately
  • ½ pound fresh kale, stems removed, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs (try parsley, sage, summer savory, chervil, rosemary)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6-8 ounces hard tofu, cubed

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, sauté onions and carrots for 7-8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add tomatoes, stock, water chestnuts, bok choy (white parts), bay leaf, and herbs and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add green parts of bok choy and kale and cook until just tender (1-2 minutes). Add tofu and cook another 1-2 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve hot. Makes 6-8 servings.

Twelfth book in the series: A Dilly of a Death

Fourteenth book in the series: Bleeding Hearts