Lawyer turned herbalist China Bayles has been summoned by her mother, Leatha, to the ancestral home of Jordans Crossing in Mississippi. Trouble involving family matriarch Tullie is on the horizon and Leatha, a recovering alcoholic, cannot cope.

There is a lot of turmoil at Jordans Crossing. Tullie, an octogenarian, has been diagnosed with Huntingtons, and this disease is causing some rather erratic behavior. In fact, in a fit of rage, Tullie struck land manager Wiley Beauchamp over the head and shortly after, the man has vanished. The police would like to question her on this one.

In addition, papers have been found that prove that the antebellum Jordans Crossing belongs by rights to Beauchamps family. Unfortunately, this is more complicated than it seems, for more than 100 years ago Tullies family were the masters and Wileys were the slaves.

When a body is discovered and more secrets come to light, China must put aside her own ambiguous feelings to discover the truth about Jordans Crossing.

A complex, emotional mystery highlights this latest entry in the popular China Bayles series. The nature of the story combined with the look it takes at the old and new South make this an extremely satisfying read. (Oct., 304 pp., $22.95)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg