Veteran biographer Edwards offers a painstaking and remarkably rich portrait of Hepburn that avoids the sticky sentiment which marked her previous bestsellers, Judy Garland and Vivien Leigh. Although Edwards is up against a boldly outspoken actress whose work speaks for itself and whose private life is nobody's business, she delves into Hepburn's stage and screen work with far more comprehensiveness than Gary Carey's Katharine Hepburn (St. Martin's, 1983) and Charles Higham's Kate (LJ 1/1/75), with nearly every page footnoted with fascinating mini-biographies and Hollywood minutiae. Edwards has also gotten Hepburn's friends to talk about the actress's relationships with Spencer Tracy and Howard Hughes. Various chronologies complete a top-notch effort. Christopher Schemering, Arlington Cty. P.L., Va.