Lennox Kemp, the once-disbarred lawyer in this entertaining series (A Mouthful of Sand, etc.), now heads a law firm in Newtown, a London suburb. Quiet Charles Copeland handles the real-estate work, but lately his prospects have been sabotaged by a flashy newcomer to the firm--Nick Stoddart. Kemp, gently probing, discovers that the background to the feud between Copeland and Stoddart goes back 20 years--to an incident involving an insurance claim after a fire at Higgs Electric, a seedy company run by a Major Bulett, in which employee Queenie Mangan had died. Copeland's wife Dorothea was involved too, much more deeply than her husband ever knew. She is presently much upset by the apparent suicide of vivacious Mandy Egerton, a co-worker from the old days who'd kept in touch over the years. They'd lunched together only two weeks before--and Mandy had excitedly reported seeing the supposedly dead Queenie in a trendy restaurant. Now, Lennox finds himself drawn into the lives of the Copelands, and even more into the history of the old fire. His nagging curiosity leads to a second death and very nearly a third. The story's suspenseful, menacing buildup is strengthened by three-dimensional characters, minutely observed details of place and atmosphere, sharp psychological insight, and a literate but not ponderous style. Solid, satisfying, and the best of the Lennox Kemp series to date.