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When Charleston police detective Harry Holmes arrives at a local hotel to examine the mutilated body of a beautiful young woman, his worst fear is confirmed - a serial killer is at work in the city. This is the third victim to be found with heart removed and a strange root fastened in her hair. While detective Holmes ponders the impact of the public's reaction to news of a serial killer, Andrew Rutledge - writer, tour guide, widower, and scion of an old Charleston family - is experiencing strange dreams and blackouts. The Root of All Evil captures Charleston's unique history, families, institutions, and customs in a suspenseful tale where old and new, tradition and progress, and the forces of good and evil bring the reader to a powerful and unexpected conclusion.