Sometime sleuth, ex-civil servant Robert Amiss (Matricide at St. Martha's, 1995, etc.) once again jumps to the command of Ida (Jack) Troutbeck--Mistress of St. Martha's College, Cambridge, and now the newly named Baroness Troutbeck, a peeress in the House of Lords. Amiss has been called back from a sojourn in India, leaving behind his lover Rachel, to help Jack defeat an upcoming bill that would outlaw foxhunting. He's to do research and help marshal forces against animal-rights organizations ranging from benign to crazed. Jack has her supporters, like Bertie, Duke of Stormerod, Lord Reginald Poulteney, and others. Meantime, the proposer of the bill, Lady Beatrice Parsons, counts on help from the syrupy monk Brother Francis and firebrand Jerry Dolamore. All strategies are thrown into turmoil, though, when, at the close of Jack's maiden speech in the House, eight members are found dead in their seats--all of them, it transpires, wearers of pacemakers. That's far from the end of wholesale carnage, as the antiterrorist squad, Amiss, and his Scotland Yard pals Ellis Pooley and Jim Milton work through a bunch of false trails to establish how the killings were done, the who and the why. The author's P.G. Wodehouse--style flippancy rarely falters through all the mayhem; her heroine has never seemed more obnoxious, nor the cat Plutarch's antics more tedious. Frantic, forced, and not much fun.