Followers of the author's sleuthing duo--Scotland Yard's Tom Pollard and aide Gregory Tyne (Troubled Waters, etc.)--will find no surprises in this newest case. After a deliberately set fire, a skeleton is discovered in the bricked-up fireplaces of Paul Anstey's remote farmhouse near tiny Dollaford village. Anstey, in the US on business at the time, has been only an occasional occupant of the house, left to him years before by a father from whom he'd been estranged for decades. The skeleton is not, of course, a rousing welcome for Anstey's nephew Martin, just arrived from South Africa for a new career in London and eager to see the family homestead and meet a never-seen uncle. Meanwhile, Pollard does his usual painstaking job: trying to identify the remains; tracking down the arsonist; backtracking Anstey's hazy postwar years; interviewing townspeople--everyone from cleaning woman Joan Jenner to Maynard Hooper, enterprising landlord of the local pub. In the end, he uncovers some family secrets, turns up a sketchy drug connection, and, lagging well behind the reader, finds the clue that clicks everything into focus. Middling Lemarchand--never compelling, never totally dull, just bland, competent diversion for English-traditional fans.