Within an hour of headmistress Sarah Bland's bludgeoning death, Detective Constable Benedict Mitchell and his colleagues have narrowed the field of suspects from 850 members of the Heath Lees Comprehensive School down to eight. It's still not far enough, though, as a clutch of constables struggle to sort out motives for paternal English master Julian Frayn, hypochondriacal history mistress Penny Stafford, overprotective biology mistress Glenys Freebourne (whose troublemaking son Neville is the bane of Heath Lees), and all the others. After the dust has settled, Mitchell and Co. will have identified the mysterious ``B'' with whom Sarah Bland made so many appointments, duly made an arrest, and left Heath Lees much as it was before. Bell (Murder at St. Oswald's, 1992) has come up with another low- octane cozy that won't keep anyone reading past bedtime.
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