Even when the plot strands knot or fray, Trekkersburg's crustily compassionate Lieut. Tromp Kramer and the South African company he keeps (covertly wise Bantu assistant Zondi, undemandingly available Widow Fouri, remorseless medical examiner Strydom) provide engrossing distraction. As do McClure's ear-tested dialogue, mordant humors, and local color--with its implicit indictment of apartheid. Here the initially intriguing premise--someone quite mad has meticulously executed (by hanging) four or five evildoers whom justice spared--becomes somewhat overtaxed, with the multiple investigations rather tortuously leading to the last-second rescue of a new noose victim: lovable, lecherous Constable Willie Boshoff. But however demanding the ride, the riveting vignettes that mark the path across the veld--Zondi's hidden ailment, one victim's daftly loyal Mum, visits to a dessicated resort hotel--once again make a McClure South African tour one of the crime year's important events.