Hangman's Root

Susan Wittig Albert, Author Scribner Book Company $20 (256p) ISBN 978-0-684-19677-0
Welcome back in her third appearance (following Thyme of Death and Witches' Bane) is China Bayles, the prickly and independent former lawyer who swerved out of the Houston fast lane to open an herb shop in Pecan Springs, Tex. Miles Harwick, an unpopular biology professor whose mild appearance belies a vindictive nature, is found drugged and hanged in his office even as animal rights activists are in the quad protesting his research and the new lab he wanted to build. When China's friend, the cat-loving and plain-talking Dottie Riddle, Harwick's neighbor and colleague opposed to his plans, becomes the main suspect, the herb-shop proprietor reluctantly realizes that her lawyer's instincts can't be left behind as easily as big-city life and activates the old-girl network to come to Dottie's defense. Despite a slow start and little herbal lore, the plot unfolds briskly and with sly humor as China and friends, some of the savviest women to inhabit mysteries since Harriet Vane, investigate crimes and motives. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/03/1994
Release date: 10/01/1994
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