It isn't bad enough that lawyer-turned-herbalist China Bayles discovers the body of her accountant Rosemary Robbins; she also has to deal with her live-in Mike McQuaid's suspicion that Rosemary was shot by recently freed wife-killer Jake Jacoby--who just might have tried to get at McQuaid, the ex-cop who arrested him, by killing the woman he thought was Bayles. Overprotective McQuaid demands that Bayles stay close to home, but she's got the Texas Herb Marketers Guild conference to tend to, and, besides, the latest evidence--an easily recognizable Smith & Wesson traceable to missing hotel owner Jeff Clark, the client Rosemary planned to marry--points away from Jacoby. So what does McQuaid do? He takes off for Mexico on Clark's trail, of course, leaving his confused lover to watch out for herself as she scrambles to interview local suspects, uncover a blackmail plot, puzzle over cryptic clues parceled out by the New Wave channeler of a spirit calling herself La Que Sabe, and protect McQuaid's uncooperative son from the forces of evil. Naturally, Bayles covers herself with glory, and McQuaid returns from Mexico covered with, well, apologies. The ingredients in Bayles's fourth case (Hangman's Root, 1994, etc.) are familiar enough, but they're combined with an herbalist's taste--and with enough humor and deftness to make this Albert's strongest book yet.