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Hangman's Root (China Bayles #3)

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  2,609 Ratings  ·  113 Reviews
Ex-lawyer turned herbalist China Bayles must solve a hair-raising murder in this mystery from New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert.
When a prominent animal researcher is found hanged in the midst of angry protests against his experiments, suspicion falls on biology professor Dottie Riddle. Known as the Cat Lady of Pecan Springs, Dottie's sympathy for stray
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 1st 1995 by Berkley (first published 1994)
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Jennifer Bagby
Nov 20, 2013 Jennifer Bagby marked it as to-read
Shelves: own, mystery
China Bayles
1. Thyme of Death (1992)
2. Witches' Bane (1993)
3. Hangman's Root (1994)
4. Rosemary Remembered (1995)
5. Rueful Death (1996)
6. Love Lies Bleeding (1997)
7. Chile Death (1998)
8. Lavender Lies (1999)
9. Mistletoe Man (2000)
10. Bloodroot (2001)
11. Indigo Dying (2002)
12. A Dilly of a Death (2004)
13. Dead Man's Bones (2005)
14. Bleeding Hearts (2006)
15. Spanish Dagger (2007)
16. Nightshade (2008)
17. Wormwood (2009)
18. Holly Blues (2010)
19. Mourning Gloria (2011)
20. Cat's Claw (2012)
21. Widow's
Feb 23, 2017 Sherrie rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Still hook on this series and rally like China Bayle and her shop and also her friend.
Lissa Notreallywolf
Oct 05, 2016 Lissa Notreallywolf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Hangman's root refers to catmint of all things, the mild skeletal relaxant I drink at bedtime when I am in gardener's ache or stressed. China's applications are far broader than my insomnia/stress usuages, but that's because catnip has been used for a long time as a medicinal herb.
This is the story of how Ruby meets up with her long lost daughter, and how Amy has a prior family saga that is not the envy of anyone. Amy becomes one of the suspects in the murder of a faculty biologist that was sta
Dec 26, 2011 Mandolin rated it really liked it
University politics is a fierce competition, too often riddled with animosity and infighting as those involved plot against each other to gain greater status and tenure. Sometimes, as China Bayles discovers in her latest mystery, it can even be deadly. China's friend Dottie, a cat-loving professor at the local college, enlists China to help her deal with the threats of an associate professor in her department, a man focused on questionable animal research who has riled the local animal rights ac ...more
Dec 15, 2013 Gail rated it liked it
Nice story. Enjoyed reading it.

Now for the research quibble. Guinea pigs play a small part in the plot, as rapidly multiplying lab animals. My siblings and I bred and raised guinea pigs when I was a teenager, so I know guinea pigs. Quite well.

They might be rodents, like rats and rabbits, but they do not breed like rabbits. When a guinea pig is pregnant, it's obvious. Like a pregnant human is obvious. Much more so than even cats or dogs. The female waddles around with these enormous bulges on ei
Feb 08, 2012 Sen rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
BOTTOM LINE: #3 China Bayles, herbalist, ex-lawyer, Pecan Springs, Texas, would actually rate this as four-and-one-half stars. An excellent series, not at all as sweet as you might think.

University politics and family connectedness intertwine in surprising ways, as China tries to help her friend Dottie Riddle survive the death of a colleague she detested. Seems she’s being set-up for the fall.... China’s New Age friend Ruby plays a large part as both investigator and center of family dysfunctio
May 02, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it
Hangman's Root by Susan Wittig Albert is a 1995 Berkley publication.

This is the third book in the China Bayles series. I have been reading some of the older books in this series as I plan to review two of the more recent installments soon and I am really having fun with it.

In this story, China's friend Dottie has been accused of murdering an unpopular animal researcher, Ruby gets a visitor from out of the blue that really shakes her up, and McQuaid finally convinces China they should co-habita
May 25, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-albert
The third in the China Bayles series--I'm now reading the second, Witches' Bane, although I hate reading series out of order. Hangman's Root--unlike the first book but like the second--takes a while to get to the murder that is at the center of the mystery. Albert has ignored the formulaic "get to the central tension in the first chapter" advice, and it works for her. The exposition and set-up at the beginning of the book are well done and the plot is good. Central to Albert's successful storyte ...more
Jan 20, 2015 Ashley rated it did not like it
I vaguely remember reading the first two books in the China Bayles series and enjoying them okay. Maybe I can chalk my dislike of this book up to reading the others when I was just out of high school, and that my tastes have changed. I could not finish the book and it's not because there was any problem with the way the murder mystery was set up. My issue was with the writing style and the amount of over-description in each scene.

Sometimes, a lot of description is a good thing. The example that
Jul 28, 2015 Larraine rated it liked it
This is one of the earlier China Bayle mysteries. It's the third in the series. An unpopular but well connected professor and researcher at the local university is found hung in his office. At first glance it appears to be suicide. However, investigation shows that it was actually murder made to look like suicide. He has been at odds with another science professor who believes that his research project is a sham. They are also neighbors. She takes care of stray cats while he threatens to kill an ...more
Ellen Moore
Sep 14, 2015 Ellen Moore rated it it was amazing
Third in the China Bayles series, this was a good mystery featuring several suspects and keeping the reader guessing until the end. An animal researcher is hanged on the college campus where McQuaid teaches. China becomes involved in the investigation because her friend who takes in homeless cats is accused of killing the man who mistreats animals. She finds the cat lady an attorney and assists in trying to clear her name. Ruby also becomes involved; and the daughter she gave up for adoption yea ...more
Sarah Sammis
Aug 11, 2007 Sarah Sammis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: released
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 fo
Jul 27, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it
I'm now hooked on the China Bayles mystery series. A biology professor at the local college appears to have been framed for murder. Dottie, the college professor, is also a cat rescue/advocate who is the usual naysayer in funding the college's animal experiments. A colleague has brought lab grants to the college for expansion of the lab creating more animal experiments but these experiments are not necessarily beneficial to anyone except to line the pockets of those who receive the grants. The c ...more
Aug 14, 2013 Christyn rated it really liked it

Once again, the mystery was very well played and I enjoyed watching it unravel. I can't say I liked the victim, nor did I honestly care about him - he was just so very easy to dislike. There were quite a few people with reason to want him dead and I didn't figure it out until just about the end. I also liked that we are starting to see China grow a bit more as a character. I appreciate that she has her own strengths and weaknesses, but I really liked seeing her bend and go out of her comfort zo
Jul 23, 2011 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery
China is on the case in this 3rd book in the series. She has to help her friend Dottie, a professor and cat rescuer defend herself against murder charges for killing her neighbor and fellow professor. Entangled with the main story is China's relationship with McQuaid going to the next level and their house hunting expedtion. We are introduced to a new character, the chief of Security at the University, who China and McQuaid nickname "Smart Cookie" I have a feeling that she and China will become ...more
Jul 12, 2014 Cheryl rated it liked it
A nice little mystery with some interesting characters. I wasn't sure I would like the herbalist aspect of the book, but I did find it interesting. The mystery was well-done with sufficient red herrings and the legal aspects were accurate, including the memories of law school. I did find China a bit annoying but I cannot put my finger on why -- I think it has something to do with her approach to her relationships, including friends and boyfriend. And I was disappointed that her feline, Khat, did ...more
Jul 29, 2008 Catsalive rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008
A prominent animal researcher is found hanged in the midst of angry protests against his experiments. Suspicion falls on Dottie Riddle, the Cat Lady of Pecan Springs -- a local biology prof whose sympathy for stray cats just might make her capable of murder. But China doesn't think so. She hires a lawyer for Dottie and starts looking around for clues. But she and Ruby quickly discover that digging up old evil is a dirty and dangerous business!

Hangman's root is another name for catnip but you'll
Dec 26, 2008 Deb rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008-reads
I am enjoying this mystery series. China Bayles is an ex-attorney turned herb shop owner in a small Texas town. She is enjoying life now that she's stepped out of the fast lane. She has several good friends, and a developing relationship with Mike McQuaid, an cop who also has retired from the field and now teaches at the local college. In this installment, China investigates the murder of a prominent science professor at the local college and tries to clear the name of another professor who's be ...more
May 13, 2012 Diane rated it it was ok
Just as two stars means: it was okay. I would probably give it 3 or even 4 stars if the author didn't keep tossing in the occasional f or s word. This crude language doesn't seem to be in character with the plot or the writing style, and it most certainly doesn't add anything - only takes away. Last year I had determined not to read any more of the China Bayles series for exactly that reason, then I started again when I became a little desperate for something to read. I am now reading the next b ...more
Jan 19, 2015 Jenn rated it liked it
I think this series is growing on me. I'll probably pick up more at the used book store next time I'm there. It could also be that I'm caught up on all the cozy series I really like and I'm searching for something else when I feel like some cute, mindless fluff.

The mystery was pretty good in this one. I'm still not a huge fan of most of the characters. China's not likable enough for me, though she does seem to be getting marginally better. I don't understand why she can't just like to live alone
Aug 16, 2008 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: part-of-a-series
All of the China Bayles series books are written with a conversational style, and endearing sincerity. The characters are both loveable and believable as are the places. Albert describes things well enough to give you a picture for your mind's eye without allowing the descriptions to overtake the storyline. If you've never lived in Central Texas trust me when I tell you that this is as close as you can get without moving here! These books are a comfortable, easy read - equally good for rainy day ...more
Oct 04, 2010 Femke rated it liked it
Een boek dat mij aansprak omwille van het verhaal over de moord op een wetenschapper die met proefdieren werkt. Een zeer vermakelijk boek, dat erg vlot leest en mij al van in het begin kon boeien. Initieel wordt enkel het gekke mens dat 95 katten in haar tuin houdt verdacht van de moord, maar naarmate het verhaal vordert komen alsmaar nieuwe verdachten aanbod, waardoor je toch tot op het laatste je afvraagt wat er precies gebeurd is. Verschillende verhaallijnen kruisen mekaar, alleen jammer dat ...more
May 30, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it
This continues the China Bayles series. China is an amateur detective and herb shop owner. The plot has enough twists and turns to keep one reading right along, and China and her friends are a likable group. China's relationship with ex-cop Mike McQuaid give her access to far more information than she would be privy to otherwise. China and McQuaid, as she calls him, are moving along in their relationship. It is not likely China could meddle in an investigation as much as she does, but if the rea ...more
Apr 30, 2015 Sue rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, series, southern
I like China Bayles, her town, her herbs, and her boyfriend. Also her mysteries. This one was a little heavy-handed with the animal rights stuff but I overlooked it in favor of her wit and strong personality. I like that the local is fictional but proclaimed to be set in the Texas Hill Country and it feels true and grounded there. The tidbits about herblore are fun as she left her high-powered lawyer life to open an herb shop. Fun story here about a professor who is killed and China's friend who ...more
Catherine Woodman
Jul 29, 2011 Catherine Woodman rated it liked it
I really like this series, and this, the third book in the series is just as good as the others. In this book China takes on a challenging case to try to absolve her friend of a murder that was staged to look like she had done it. China relies on her lawyer friend and her very eccentric friend Ruby to help her friend, the town eccentric called the "cat lady". We also see China take the big step of a committment with her boyfriend. There's enough murder and mayhem as well as gardening information ...more
Feb 17, 2013 Linda rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: yes
Shelves: murder-suspense
China Bayles and Mcquaid have decided to mov ein together and rent a gorgeous 5 bedroom Victorian house for 18 months. So, China is nervously taking their relationship to another level meanwhile she is busy investigating a suicide. A friend of hers Dottie Riddle was falsely accused as the murderress but China knows she didn't do it. Her sidekick Ruby is working as assistant investigator along side China and hopelfully with both of them working on Dottie's side they'll dig up some solid evidence ...more
Donna Jo Atwood

China Bayles' third book introduces Sheila "Smart Cookie" Dawson, the new head of campus security at CTSU, where most of the action takes place. As usual, the solving of the murder is slightly improbable (how many police departments would stand for the amount of interference China and her friends manage?) but the relationship are fun to watch evolve. In this one China and McQuaid are looking for a house to rent together.

Read for 2009 Spring Challenge 15.9a
Heather Adkins
Nov 18, 2009 Heather Adkins rated it really liked it
Shelves: china-bayles
There's just something about Albert's characters that scream "real." I'm an avid reader, and it takes a terrible book to keep me from finishing it. I'm big on series, and this China Bayles series is one that I'm really enjoying. China is flawed, kind, and almost a teensy bit selfish, which really helps me to connect with her. The people around her in the books remind me of family, friends, and neighbors here at home; I recommend this series and am looking forward to continuing it.
Emily Cullen
Jan 08, 2017 Emily Cullen rated it really liked it
Many people hated Professor Miles Harwick for his animal experiments but when his hanging is found to be suspicious, and China Bayles's friend gets arrested, the herb shop owner and former lawyer starts investigating. I really liked this "China Bayles" cozy mystery. Great characters and I like the relationship between her and her boyfriend; it's not you typical romance! I'll definitely be reading more in the series!
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Susan is the author/co-author of biographical/historical fiction, mysteries, and nonfiction.

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Other Books in the Series

China Bayles (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • Thyme of Death (China Bayles, #1)
  • Witches' Bane (China Bayles, #2)
  • Rosemary Remembered (China Bayles, #4)
  • Rueful Death (China Bayles, #5)
  • Love Lies Bleeding (China Bayles, #6)
  • Chile Death (China Bayles, #7)
  • Lavender Lies (China Bayles, #8)
  • Mistletoe Man (China Bayles, #9)
  • Bloodroot (China Bayles, #10)
  • Indigo Dying (China Bayles, #11)

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