If I'd Killed Him When I Met Him...
Sharyn McCrumb. Ballantine Books, $20 (277pp) ISBN 978-0-345-38229-0
Three grievously wronged women take murderous revenge in this sharp-edged, witty tale, the eighth appearance of forensic anthropologist Elizabeth MacPherson. Her skills at research and detection come into play when she is hired as an investigator by her brother Bill's Virginia law firm. Bill has been asked to defend a woman accused of poisoning her philandering husband, a piously hypocritical preacher. Another law partner, the resolute Amy Powell Hill, ponders how best to defend a Richmond socialite who gleefully admits to shooting both her ex-husband and his new wife. Intertwined with these contemporary cases is a 19th-century mystery: How did a genteel Southern lady manage to poison her wealthy Yankee husband? Buoyed by intriguing characters, a wry--sometimes macabre--wit, and lush Virginia atmosphere, McCrumb's (MacPherson's Lament; The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter) mystery spins merrily along on its own momentum, concluding that justice will triumph... but in surprising ways. Mystery Guild selection. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995