At the start of this sprightly mystery/suspense debut, William Dougal--an attractive, rather feckless graduate student--discovers the murdered body of his professor, Dr. Gumper, an authority on medieval manuscripts (including the Caroline Miniscule). Instinctively, Dougal decides to hide the body. So he is soon tangling with James Hanbury, an affable murderer and con-man who's not on the track of a cache of diamonds--the surprising legacy of the late Reverend Vernon-Jones, the mastermind behind a lucrative but illegal secret business (with Hanbury as one of his confederates). The saturnine Vernon-Jones has left some esoteric clues to his fortune; his henchmen are at one another's throats. And Dougal, with beautiful mistress Amanda, becomes deeply involved in solving the puzzle. Solidly paced and smoothly polished capering: a slight but engaging first novel.