Hangman's Root: A China Bayles Mystery
, 1994 - Fiction
- 245 pages
Fur is flying in Pecan Springs, Texas, as lawyer-turned-herbalist China Bayles finds herself snarled in a deadly animal rights dispute. Dottie Riddle, biology professor at Central Texas State University and the notorious Cat Lady of Pecan Springs, runs the ritziest cat rescue operation in Texas. But Dottie's generous concern for strays has earned her the hatred of neighbor and fellow biology professor Miles Harwick, and her active opposition to the biology department's animal experimentation program has brought her more academic enemies than she can count. So when Harwick is found dead with his neck in a noose, police chief Bubba Harris charges Dottie with murder. Dottie assures her good friend China Bayles that, although she hated the man, she is not a killer. As China begins to unravel the knotted threads of the dead man's life, she discovers that Dottie isn't the only one who may have wanted him dead. There's the lab assistant who knows that animals weren't the dead man's only victims. There's the student animal rights activist who pulls China's best friend, Ruby Wilcox, into the turmoil. And there's the biology chairman who shared with the dead man a festering secret that threatens the entire department. Which of them fastened the noose around the dead man's neck? Or was it, in fact, a vengeful suicide? Ably assisted by tall, flaming-haired Ruby Wilcox, law school nemesis Justine Wyzinski ("The Whiz"), and stunning Sheila ("Smart Cookie") Dawson, Chief of Security at CTSU, China digs for the root of evil deep in the hearts of people who had a motive for murder. But meanwhile she must also dig deep into her own heart to discover how she feels about sexy ex-cop Mike McQuaid, who givesher a final ultimatum about their relationship. The China Bayles mysteries are a spicy brew of remarkable characters, intricate plots, and small-town shenanigans, stirred together with a rich seasoning of herbal magic. Hangman's Root is the best yet in this original and critically acclaimed series.