One of the prime pleasures for followers of Carr's multidynasty, romantic suspense series--begun in Tudor times and now idling in the late Victorian period--is the reappearance of principal characters from the preceding novel, this time in humble cameos. Here, the heroine-at-bay is The Changeling (1989), sired by one of Carr's gloweringly bossy men, who's now marked for an early exit. Lucie Lansdon has suffered two terrible blows--her adored father, politician Benedict, shortly after voting against Irish Home Rule, was assassinated before her very eyes; and now Joel, the man she loves, is reported dead in Africa. The arrival of Belinda (Lucie's vain, nasty ""sister"" of The Changeling) from Australia proves some diversion from her grief (Belinda's character has been upgraded), and then there are also Lucie's delightful new friends--Roland Fitzgerald and his sister, Phillida. Lucie will need friends, too, when Belinda's natural father--Jean Pascal, a French vineyard owner and brother of Lucie's stepmother--proposes to Lucie and makes unwelcome passes. Worst of all, are those only hallucinations when Lucie sees a hanged man-her father's assassin--large as life, who greets her at sinister intervals? Before the happy close, Lucie will learn that like Jean Pascal's black swan--a beauty and a killer--evil can pop up in the strangest places. Many trips, family visits, marrying, and premonitions galore--in one of the best in Cart's Cornwell series.