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Hangman's Root: 09/13/07
Hangman's Root is the third in the China Bayles series by Susan Wittig Albert but the only one I've read but I want to read more. It is a cozy mystery in vein of Miss Marple, the Cat Who books and so forth but it manages to avoid being too cute or too depressing.
China Bayles is an ex attorney who has switched careers to run an herb shop in a small town near Austin Texas. Her friend who works at the local university and runs a cattery for strays is accused of murder when a biology professor is found hanged. Besides Dottie, there are a number of suspects who had reason to want to see Harwick dead. Can China help defend her friend and figure out who really committed the crime?
For a short book (only 260 pages), Albert introduces enough red herrings to keep the story interesting. While I had a number of theories on who had committed the murder and why, the actual criminal took me pleasantly by surprise.
Hmm... herb shop. Ambiguous. ;) Lots of potential for cute naming conventions, though, right? Every book a different herb? But what about those herbs in the back room? Do they get their own book?"